Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that sometimes occurs while breastfeeding. Typically mastitis is caused by not expressing milk frequently enough which allows bacteria to multiply in the milk ducts. Mastitis usually occurs within the first three months after a baby is born, but it can also occur at times when baby suddenly drops feeding sessions (sleeping through the night), or when a mother goes back to work and may skip pumping sessions. In cultures where breastfeeding is very common the rate of mastitis is low. Symptoms of mastitis vary, and usually involve pain in the breast, red and inflamed skin that may be hot to the touch, feelings of fatigue (flu like symptoms) and fever over 101 degrees. Many cases of mastitis need to be treated with antibiotics because there is risk of abscess formation that could require surgical removal. Mild cases may not require antibiotics, however you should contact your doctor immediately if you suspect you may have symptoms of mastitis.Mastitis was something I never thought I would experience in my life. I've already breastfed one child up until age two and I had exclusively nursed my second child for three months when I had my first experience with this condition. During my maternity leave I had been pumping and storing 5 extra ounces of milk each day. During my first day at work I pumped three times and was surprised to discover that baby normally consumed about 18 ounces of milk during the day. I began sending 20 ounces of milk for him. Since I was already pumping so much milk, I decided I wanted to drop the extra ounces I had been pumping in the morning. By Thursday, baby was so tired from daycare, that he ended up sleeping through the night two nights in a row. I wasn't paying much attention to the dropped feedings: I was happy that baby was sleeping and I was pumping plenty of milk. Saturday hit, and my one breast was a little sore. I thought that was OK: I knew I was trying to get rid of that extra pumping session and I had pumped about 3.5 of the usual 5 ounces I would have collected.
|Mastitis often occurs in the first three months after delivery|