Cracked and bleeding nipples brought on by those first few days of breast-feeding can leave you vulnerable to infection of the breast, called mastitis. While it is rarely serious, mastitis can be quite painful and cannot be cured without the use of an antibiotic.
Signs that you may have mastitis include:
- a reddened area on the fleshy part of the breast that is painful to the touch and ranges from the size of a quarter to the whole side of the breast
- a fever of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- general achiness
The symptoms tend to come on rapidly, and you may experience only one or two of them or all of them at once.While you will need to see a doctor if you suspect you have mastitis or any other breast infection, there are a few home remedies you should try on your own as your infection is being treated: Relieve clogged milk ducts. Another problem that can cause breast discomfort is a clogged milk duct. It is characterized by a hard, uncomfortable lump in the fleshy part of the breast that can be very tender to the touch. It isn't usually accompanied by a fever. To relieve the pain of a clogged duct, pack the breast in heat before feedings, get the baby to nurse on the infected breast first, and massage the hard spot the whole time the baby is nursing to loosen up the milk and unclog the duct. A clogged duct usually resolves itself within 24 hours. If the pain and other symptoms of a clogged duct don't clear up in that time, contact your doctor. Milk that remains locked in a duct for more than a day raises the risk of infection, because the fluid may leak into the breast tissue, where it creates a moist environment for bacteria to reproduce.It's important to keep in mind that a pattern of problems can occur when a minor problem with breast-feeding is not addressed properly. This pattern often begins with sore nipples. Unless adjustments are made to the breast-feeding technique and other care taken to ease the discomfort, the nipple soreness may prompt the mother to limit breast-feeding, which in turn can lead to engorgement. Engorgement may promote clogged ducts that, if slow to resolve, can lead to breast infection. On the other hand, paying prompt attention to sore nipples and engorgement can often prevent the clogged ducts and infection from ever developing.Now that we have you breast-feeding like a natural, it's time to look at how to stop. Our final section will offer some home remedies on how to wean your baby off of the breast.
For more information about breast-feeding, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To understand the process, read How Breast Feeding Works.
- Breast-feeding is all part of knowing How to Care for a Newborn.
- Bringing home a new baby from the hospital can be quite a shock. Learn how to cope in How to Adjust to a Newborn.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.