The following are the key ways of managing mastitis:
- Empty your breast by breastfeeding on the affected side. If this is not possible, hand express or use a pump to help get the milk moving.
- Try gentle massage. Doing this under heat can be helpful to liquefy the fat within the milk and help move it through. This is best done in a shower.
- Use cold compresses after feeds.
- Get rest.
- Consider taking ibuprofen to help with swelling and pain. This is compatible with breastfeeding. However, always check with your doctor if you are considering other anti-inflammatory pain-relief medicines.
- Get medical help if these self-care steps don't work for you.
See your doctor or midwife straight away if you have a fever, as you may need antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Flucloxacillin 500mg 4 times per day (at least an hour before food), is the most commonly used antibiotic.
- If you are allergic to penicillin, you must tell your doctor/midwife as a different antibiotic will be needed.
If you don't improve within 24 hours of treatment, seek further medical advice.
If you have had all the appropriate treatment for mastitis and an area of your breast remains hard, reddened and painful, a breast abscess may have formed or be forming.
If this happens, see your doctor for treatment. Read more about breast abscess.