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Women's health

Is this mastitis?

16 replies

WhippettyWeekend · 21/08/2018 11:02

I have a 5mo baby son who's on breastmilk only (mainly breast, some expressed), and after some issues at the start (tongue tie, cracked/blistered nipples etc) the last few months of breastfeeding have been fine. His latch can still be a little shallow (our technique didn't totally chance post tongue-tie snip) but it hasn't caused problems before.

However, over the past couple of days my left nipple is sore to the touch to the left of the tip and wince/intake of breath-painful (not agony) when he is feeding. Also, since last night, the whole left side of the breast is achy and tender to touch, it and and the areola look taut, and I now notice it feels hard and lumpy in comparison to the rest of the breast and also my right breast. The closest thing I've felt before is the tenderness I had before my period started (they haven't restarted yet and I'd have expected the aching to be on both sides). It feels like it could be over-full but I've expressed a lot off and it made no difference.

Do any of you have advice on what this might be and how I can treat it? I'm abroad on holiday until the end of the month so can't just book GP appointment so easily. Feeling a bit sore and fed up!

Thank you!

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JeanieLouToo · 21/08/2018 11:14

Do you feel unwell too? When I had mastitis I felt like I had the flu, it's like your body is attacking itself.

As your nipple has been sore did you stop feeding from it as much as normal, as this could cause mastitis. Keep expressing and resting, and put a cold compress on the affected breast to help with the pain and swelling.

WhippettyWeekend · 21/08/2018 11:17

Thank you for your reply, Jeanie.

I feel a little under the weather but definitely not as if I have the flu, which made me wonder if it was something other than mastitis. I've been making a conscious effort to keep him feeding from the breast as much as normal, until this morning when I couldn't face it so expressed instead; so don't think it's that.

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JeanieLouToo · 21/08/2018 11:22

Keep an eye on it today, you never know it could be your period coming back. If it gets worse / the pain becomes unbearable, I would look for a doctor or pharmacist in the vicinity. Get the cold compress on it, take some anti inflammatory pain killers, like Ibuprofen, and rest.

Are you on a package holiday or staying in a resort as that should make it easier? Do you have insurance etc?

I never once had to see a doctor on holiday until I had children, and since then we have been to see the pharmacist or doctor on every one of our trips! It's a nightmare when you get sick while you are away, but if you get help quickly you can be back to feeling good again in no time.

Permaexhaustion · 21/08/2018 11:26

Think of stale milk. Yuck. If your breast doesn't get completely emptied, there's stale milk, and tender lumpiness.

Most important is to completely empty that breast.
Before a feed, warm compress - causes dilatation. Try to get baby to feed in a different position, eg underarm - instead of baby across your body, use pillows to position baby so their body s to the left of yours, lying on their left side, feeding from L breast. Or lying down, their body parallel to yours.
Why? Because different positions can help to completely empty different parts of your breast.
Gentle massage of lumpiness, stroking the lumps towards your nipple whilst feeding, can also help disperse them.

After feed, cold compresses, to construct blood vessels, and lessen inflammation.

If you get the breast completely emptied, you will be sorted, and not develop an infection.

If this mastitis gets infected, you will start to feel unwell, and run a temperature.Get medical help and antibiotics. Don't delay , infective mastitis can make you very ill.Prompt treatment will sort it, but get medical help within a few hours.

Best of luck.

WhippettyWeekend · 21/08/2018 11:36

Thank you both very very much. I already feed him with us both lying down as well as with him across my body, but not on the left -- so I'll try that, as well as all the compresses.

We aren't on a resort but do have insurance, and are in a town rather than the middle of nowhere.

@Permaexhaustion can I just double check you mean I should see a doctor and get antibiotics IF this mastitis gets infected (ie no need to do so now)?

I had thought, perhaps naively, that breastfeeding "issues" like this are a problem of the early days only and we were out of the woods!

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picklemepopcorn · 21/08/2018 11:41

I had mastitis with DS2, when he was about 8 months. No previous problems of any kind.

Good advice above, feed as often as you can in different positions, massage it towards the nipple and put warm cloths on. It should clear in a day or two. If you start to feel I'll go to GP.

ShackUp · 21/08/2018 11:41

I had mastitis when DS2 was 3 months.

If you can, get antibiotics. Mine escalated horribly and I ended up on IV antibiotics (even though I was taking antibiotics for mastitis in the first place!).

You'll know if it's taken hold because you'll start going hot/cold and limbs will feel heavy.

Good luck Thanks

Permaexhaustion · 21/08/2018 11:41

Yep, if you currently don't have a temperature, you don't need antibiotics.
If your temperature rises, or you feel increasingly unwell, get to a doctor.

picklemepopcorn · 21/08/2018 11:42

Mine felt like toast crumbs in my bra! Hot and prickly! Then lumpy later.

JeanieLouToo · 21/08/2018 12:00

Sorry, I meant to say warm compress on my previous post too. You can alternate between hot and cold. In case I caused confusion.

WhippettyWeekend · 21/08/2018 12:01

Thank you. Very helpful practical advice, and it's good to know the warning signs to look out for as well.

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WhippettyWeekend · 21/08/2018 13:12

Maybe a silly question: if I'm massaging the stale milk (yuk) out as he feeds, is it ok for him to drink it?

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picklemepopcorn · 21/08/2018 13:26

Yes it's fine. I wouldn't say it's stale, as it isn't exposed to air. But the breast keeps producing and it has nowhere to go. More like a backlog... constipated breasts.

JeanieLouToo · 21/08/2018 13:44

Haha great description!

JeanieLouToo · 22/08/2018 11:06

Hope you're feeling better @WhippettyWeekend

WhippettyWeekend · 23/08/2018 23:17

Thank you so much, @JeanieLouToo. I have ended up needing antibiotics but am getting better now!

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