Relieve and Prevent Painful Mastitis
First let's go over the signs of mastitis to make sure this is what you are experiencing:
• A lump on your breast that is sore to touch and hard...you may or may not see a small lump, which is simply a clogged milk duct.
• Red, hot area on your breast that is extremely sore
• You have flu-like symptoms...such as a fever, chills, weakness, aching, etc.
If you have any one of those signs, then you have it!
(A clogged milk duct has the same signs, except without the flu symptoms. If you have a clogged duct, get rid of it the exact same way you would mastitis.)
I had all three symptoms while nursing my first child. Although this infection can occur in both breasts, it usually happens to just one. For me, it was on the right side of my right breast.
I could stand the pain of the soreness, it was the achiness of my body that made it worse!
This infection can happen anytime while you're breastfeeding, but it usually occurs in the first few weeks of nursing.
I have breastfed three kids and have only experienced this type of pain once (although some mothers never experience it). This is what I did to relieve the pain and prevent it from coming back....
SOLUTION: If you have mastitis right now
First off, don't wear anything tight on or around your breasts, such as tight shirts or underwire bras. Matter of fact, go without a bra. You don't want anything to stop your milk from flowing out easily, which can cause a plugged duct and lead to this infection.
Do the same solution to this infection as you would to engorgement: get a hot wet wash cloth, as hot as you can stand it. Find a comfortable place to sit and place the wash cloth on top of your breast while letting your baby nurse on that same breast. The warmth of the towel will make the milk come out quicker. If your baby doesn't want to nurse or you're not around your baby, still do the exact same thing with the wash cloth and just pump your breasts with your hand or a breastpump.
The only other thing you will do is to massage the area that is infected (the part that is hot, red, or swollen), with the warm towel while you are nursing or pumping, which will help unclog the milk duct, and if you can't stand the pain, take some medicine to help reduce your fever. Usually whatever you would take if you actually had the flu.
Also, nurse your baby as much as possible. This will help to relieve the pain much quicker. Don't stop nursing your baby...you want the milk to come out. Nurse on the infected side first, but if the pain is too much, switch to the other side and once your milk starts flowing out, switch your baby back over to the infected side. You want to get as much milk out as possible from the infected side.
This is time for you to rest in bed with your baby until you feel better. So drink lots of liquids, just as if you are really trying to recover from the flu.
SOLUTION: What you are doing to cause it and how to prevent future infections
Most of the time engorgement leads to mastitis. So if you know what you're doing to become engorged and how to relieve it before it gets this far, and also how to prevent it from returning, your chances of experiencing mastitis is very slim.