In a healthy milk-making breast, milk flows easily through the ducts to a number of tiny openings on the nipple. The breast feels comfortable, and the supply of breastmilk matches the needs of the baby. But sometimes these ducts and the tissue around them can become inflamed.
This is sometimes called ‘blocked ducts’, but there is no evidence to support the idea of a blockage causing these symptoms. If a localised area of your breast is inflamed, you may notice:
If your baby is not breastfeeding well, you may need to express.
Use cool packs to help relieve pain and inflammation
If your breast still feels full, hand express until it feels more comfortable.
Handle your breast gently and continue these steps until it feels better. Sometimes it can take a few days for the inflammation in your breast to reduce. It may feel slightly less sore after each feed.
Know the signs and symptoms of mastitis so you know when to seek help.
How can I prevent it from happening again?
Some mums get inflamed breasts more often than others. If you find yourself with sore, red or painful breasts again, it may help to think about how you are breastfeeding or expressing.
Breastfeed your baby as often and for as long as they need.