BLOCKED DUCT MASTITIS
This can occur from your first to last feed. It occurs when there is a kink in a milk duct, often caused by a too tight bra, wearing a bra overnight, your own elbow in the side of your breast as you sleep, or by being very full from missing a feed, sometimes it will happen when your baby sleeps for a long stretch overnight!
When the milk is unable to flow towards the nipple there becomes a backlog up the ductal system that needs to drain. When it doesn’t drain, the milk oozes into the tissue layer causing the pinkness, temperature etc. The more you ‘learn‘ your breasts by feeling them for areas of milk fullness and emptiness, the more you will be able to quickly notice an unusually firm, lumpy area and the sooner you can try to massage out the lump ! By doing that you will mostly avoid a blocked duct mastitis!
The way Blocked Duct Mastitis presents is very similar to Bacterial Mastitis. You have aches, pains, flu like symptoms, temperature and a sore inflamed breast. The breast is the difference though, there will be a large chunk of an area of pinkness and in that area will be a firm lump.
1. For this mastitis you will need to see your Doctor for antibiotics if you are unable to unblock the blockage in the first 24 hours.
2. To unblock the blockage, it helps to put a warm pack on your breast for five minutes, or have a warm shower.
3. Then with some oil on your fingers massage the area of firmness from beyond it, massaging towards your nipple. Imagine it as a ‘ plumbing ‘ problem and you have to move the firm, full milk duct towards the nipple and out. You do this when bub is feeding, they are the suction while massage is the back pressure.
4. Try and angle your baby’s chin towards the lump as best as possible.
5. Do the massaging every feed until your breast is soft.
6. Feed your baby often on the blocked side. Do not ignore the other side though, you might need to use a breast pump on that side if your baby is not needing both sides per feed.
When you unblock the blockage your lump will go and the temperature and unwell feeling will also go. If the lump has been there for longer than 24 hours there is a chance that the milk that was in the tissue layer is growing bacteria, hence the need for the antibiotics. The antibiotics will not unblock the blockage though, you still need to work on it and massage the lump as the baby feeds from that side.
See module one on my site for more tips on latch (attachment) and module two for more tips on preventing mastitis http://www.breastfeedinghelp.net/shop/