Mastitis, also know as a breast infection, often feels like the flu. You may have body aches and chills. You may have a fever of 100.4 or higher. One breast may be red and tender to the touch. Often times, mastitis comes with or after a plugged duct, but you don’t have to feel a plug to get mastitis.
If you suspect you have a breast infection, always call your on-call Midwife or OB.
Sometimes an antibiotic is necessary for the treatment of mastitis, but not always. Your midwife/OB will decide this with you.
If you have mastitis, the OB/midwife will be asking you to follow instructions to drain the affected breast. It is safe to continue to feed your baby milk from the infected breast.
Do NOT stop breastfeeding at this point. Leaving milk in your breast when you have mastitis can cause a very severe complication called an abscess.
The following protocol should be followed when you have mastitis whether or not you are taking antibiotics.
“Mastitis Flush” Protocol-
- Follow instructions on how to relieve a plugged duct to keep affected breast well drained
- Take 3,000-4,000 mg of Vitamin C per day. (Try putting 2 packets of 1,000mg Emergen-C in a bottle of water. Drink 2 of these a day for 4,000mg total.)
- Push fluids, eat well
- REST—How can you make sure you do nothing but rest and nurse for the next 24 hours?
If you spike a fever of 100.4 or higher, call the OB/Midwife on call.
When to seek help:
- If you have mastitis more than once while breastfeeding or you have repeated plugged ducts (>3 per month), see an IBCLC.
- If you have a plug in your breast that does not soften after 3 days, see your Midwife or OB.
- If your fever persists longer than 24 hours, call your Midwife or OB.