March 30, 2001, Newsletter Issue #17: Blocked Ducts and Mastitis

Tip of the Week

If you find that you have a tender spot, redness, or sore lump in the breast and you do not have a fever, you most likely have a plugged milk duct. Take paracetamol to ease your discomfort and apply heat (a warm shower or bath, heating pad, hot water bottle) and massage the affected area before you nurse or pump. When you massage the area use a gentle, but firm circular motion as you work your way down from the area toward the nipple. Nurse your baby or pump immediately after treating the area with the heat and massage. If you can, continue the massage during nursing and pumping. Nurse or pump the affected breast at least every 2 hours as long as the symptoms persist. Always nurse baby on the affected side first to ensure that the breast is fully drained.

If your breast soreness or lump is accompanied by a fever of 101 degrees or more and/or flu-like symptoms (feeling tired, exhausted, or achy) that come on suddenly you may have a breast infection. You also may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or headache. It is important that you contact your doctor immediately, so that you can be prescribed oral antibiotics.

To prevent recurring episodes, ensure that you do not have tight clothing on your breasts (such as a badly fitting bra) and that you are getting adequate rest.

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