Preventing Mastitis

Updated 3/2023

What Is Mastitis?

Mastitis occurs when a part of your breast becomes tender and swollen due to infection. Having milk left behind in the breasts after feeding (not fully emptying both breasts), clogged (plugged) milk ducts, and engorgement can contribute to mastitis. Cracked or damaged nipples can also cause mastitis by allowing bacteria to enter the breast tissue. In mastitis, the affected breast becomes red, warm, swollen, and painful. Initially all you may feel is just a slight pain or tenderness in your breast; however, that can turn into full blown flu symptoms that include fever, nausea, chills, and more.

There are several things you can do to help prevent mastitis from developing. Educating yourself prior to breastfeeding will dramatically decrease your chances of developing an infection.

How to Prevent Mastitis

  1. Nurse regularly: Breast feed at least every 1 to 3 hours or whenever your baby is hungry. It is important to feed or pump often enough to prevent engorgement.
  2. Consult a certified lactation consultant to help with any latching problems: If your baby is not latching properly your nipples may become dry and cracked. Cracks and abrasions on the nipples from a poor latch can allow bacteria to invade and infect the breast tissue. The best way to get a deep latch is to align your baby’s nose to your nipple at the beginning so that they can latch on with a nice wide open mouth.
  3. Alternate which breast you offer first from feeding to feeding..
  4. Try different breastfeeding positions: Through experimenting with different positions you will be able to find the ones that help you to drain all areas of your breasts.
  5. Take care of your nipples: Air-dry your nipples after each feeding. If you notice that your nipples are starting to become cracked or sore try applying lanolin cream. Hydrogel breast pads can also provide relief for sore nipples.
  6. Cabbage Leaf Compression: Green cabbage leaves have been shown to decrease breast engorgement and pain. To manage mastitis, put a a cold cabbage leaf on the affected breast for 20 minutes three times a day. Be sure not to overdo it though, as morerequent use of cabbage leaves may decrease breast milk supply.
  7. Weaning: When the time comes, make sure you gradually wean your baby from nursing by dropping one nursing or pumping session at a time. This will prevent too much breast fullness and allow enough time for your baby to adjust to new eating habits.
  8. Pump your milk: If you know you are going to be unable to nurse for 4 or more hours, set aside a time and place where you can express your milk. It is also recommended to pump for 10-15 minutes after nursing if there is any concern that your breasts are not fully emptied after your baby breastfeeds.. If you develop severe mastitis, you may need to rent a hospital grade breast pump.

Invest in a Breast Pump

If you are in need of a breast pump let Aeroflow Breastpumps help you obtain the breast pump that suits your needs today. Aeroflow can also help you qualify for a pump at little-to-no cost to you through insurance. To find out if you qualify, simply complete out our quick and easy Qualify Through Insurance form. Our Breastpump Specialists will work directly with your insurance company and your healthcare provider to determine your coverage and can even request your breast pump prescription from your physician. Your dedicated Specialist will contact you within 3-5 business days of submission to discuss your pump options.
If you have questions about mastitis or getting a breast pump through insurance, give Aeroflow Breastpumps a call today at 844-867-9890. We're here to help!

About the Author

Jessica Madden, MD, is the Medical Director at Aeroflow BreastpumpsDr. Madden has been a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist for over 15 years. She's currently on staff in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH. She previously worked in the Boston and Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospitals. In 2018 she started Primrose Newborn Care to provide in-home newborn medicine and lactation support. She also enjoys traveling, yoga, reading, and spending time with her children.

Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.