Breastfeeding: Mastitis and sore nipples

By: Lianne Bergeron breastfeeding

I breastfed my kids.  I didn’t know if I would like it or if it would work but I had decided to give it a try.  I was shocked, if not very surprised, when my firstborn naturally knew where to look for food only minutes after his birth – his pure instinct was incredible. What I didn’t know is that it’s not just as easy as 1-2-3. Magical yes, easy – not always.

My firstborn was a huge eater. In fact, he ate, what felt like, all the time. He made such a huge amount of noise when he was guzzling down that you could hear him across the house.  All seemed fine until about week 6 when one day I suddenly felt extremely sick, hot red breast, the works. Had no idea what was going on.  Forgot to read about that part as well…

I was given some painkillers by the hospital staff and some tips to get through the mastitis. I did the research after the fact.  It was caught in the beginning so I was lucky enough not to need antibiotics.  I learned how to feed my son in every imaginable position so that my “ducts” would all be emptied and used. I learned all about how hot showers and hot water bottles, cold compresses and even cabbage leaves could help me get better.

Here are a couple of Questions & Answers found in the chapter Breastfeeding from my book Babies 0-6 months.

I have a red bump on my breast that is very sore and feel like I have a fever.

If you have these symptoms you may have Mastitis. See a doctor or a women’s health specialist as soon as you are feeling sore as they both treat mastitis regularly and effectively. Try putting a hot water bottle or warm cloths on the sensitive area and massage it. Bacteria may have entered via a cracked or sore nipple, which leads to infection and causes mastitis. The soreness can also be caused by not emptying out the milk in your breast, which can lead to “clogged” ducts.  This can be very painful although you can continue to breastfeed until it clears up. Feed your baby using different positions and if you haven’t already, this is a good time to see a lactation specialist.  You can also use acetaminophen like Tylenol to help with your pain. Have it treated sooner than later.

Tips for sore nipples?

You can use 100% Lanolin cream or try soaking in a bowl filled with salty warm water or buy hydrogel pads (you can buy at a pharmacy or drugstore). You can also express a little milk onto your nipples (contains a lot of antibodies) and let them dry before putting your feeding bra back on. Try exposing your nipples to air as much as possible.  If you are dreading the next feeding because of the pain, see your doctor as he/she can prescribe a healing nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman, Canadian, has created a very good and popular one.

Lianne is a Canadian mother of 4, entrepreneur and author of Lianne’s Quick Guide – for the busy woman. Her first title is called Babies 0-6 months and can be purchased directly from her website: She lives & works just outside of Amsterdam and can usually be found biking around on her bicycle built for 6.

You can follow her on facebook and on twitter



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