Q I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding for over two months but have had three severe bouts of mastitis, which makes me feel unwell and exhausted. What can I do to prevent future episodes? A Barb Glare, lactation consultant,
says: The first occurrence of mastitis can catch many mothers unaware, but once you know the signs and symptoms, you’ll be able to take simple measures to prevent it developing into full-blown mastitis, or to get it treated quickly.
Make sure your baby drains your breasts well. If your baby is asleep, or full, and won’t take any more milk, express a little until your breasts are soft and feel normal. It’s important to avoid engorgement, so make sure your bra is well-fitting, and not cutting into your breasts. If you find that you are developing a blocked duct, or your breasts are very full and engorged, it might be helpful to use a hot compress or have a hot shower and express some milk. Feed your baby, then put on an icepack. A mild analgesic containing paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce pain and fever.