No, you don’t have to stop breastfeeding if you have mastitis. In fact, cessation of breastfeeding can make mastitis worse. If you’re able to breastfeed, it’s important to continue doing so to help in the recovery process.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland in the breast, often caused by a backup of milk into the breast tissue. It’s often accompanied by clogged ducts in the form of redness or a lump. It’s more common with engorgement and damaged nipples.
The first signs of mastitis often include a red mark on the breast and flu like symptoms including shivering and aching.
The best treatment is to get as much rest and hydration as you can and breastfeed as much as possible. If you’re able to stay in bed with baby all day and breastfeed on demand, this is often the best way to help get through the worst of it. Some use of heat and regular use of cold can help with swelling and pain and massaging the breast will also help clear the ducts. If you’re concerned or symptoms don’t begin to clear, seek help from a medical professional who may prescribe antibiotics.
If you find that you’re experiencing mastitis more than most women, lecithin is an option that may help prevent re-occurance.
Why should you keep breastfeeding with mastitis?
Your baby’s mouth is the most efficient method of removing milk from your breasts. The more you breastfeed, the more help baby will give you with removing any blockages from your ducts. Baby will also help you with any engorgement which can result from stopping breastfeeding suddenly.