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Q&A: Recurring Mastitis

Wendy Goldenthal, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor


Q My daughter is ten months old, still nursing eagerly. I'm currently enduring my eighth or ninth bout of mastitis. Fever, soreness, lump, aches, the whole thing. Isn't this a bit unusual? I've seen the doctor, who never gives me antibiotics for it as my daughter gets yeast rash and thrush rather easily. It always clears up through standard self help, but it's very tiring. It happens every time she cuts back her nursing a bit in favor of solid food. She would still rather nurse than eat, but the pediatrician says she should be eating signifigant solid food by now. She is growing well. When I told the doctor that every time I begin to aggressively try to get her onto solid food I get mastitis, I was told to cut back my fluid consumption at the first sign of a problem. This didn't make sense to me. When you're sick you should drink, right? So here I am with a ten month old who is almost exclusively breast fed.

A I am sorry that you have been going through such a difficult time with this. You should be extremely proud of yourself, however, because you have continued to nurse your baby throughout all of this pain. You mentioned that your mastitis occurs when you aggressively try to get your daughter onto solids. Perhaps the solution occurs here. Rather thank aggressively doing this, perhaps a gradual, slow shift from breastfeeding to solids would be beneficial. Rest assured that your baby will continue to get the nutrition she needs from breastmilk throughout this period. I would also encourage you to speak with your doctor again to discuss what "significant amounts" of solid foods mean at this time. A breast infection generally occurs as a result of a plugged milk duct. A plugged milk duct generally occurs when a feeding has been skipped. You may also want to consider using a breastpump to relieve any pressure from your breasts and to keep the milk flowing when you skip a feeding. Rather than complete a full pumping, you may decrease your pumping time gradually untill you feel comfortable.


A Certified Breastfeeding Counselor with eight years of experience. She is the founder and owner of Nursing Mothers Supplies, a website where breastfeeding mothers can purchase breastfeeding supplies and get a little advice as well.

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Sam Apr 3, 2012 09:17:40 PM ET

My sister in law has a three & a half old who is exclusively breast fed, mainly on one side as an inverted nipple is making feeding hard on the other. She had mastitis in that side, it cleared with antibiotics then two days later she got it on the good side & has been told she can't breast feed anymore. Baby was feeding well & gaining a lot of weight the whole time. What could be the reason for the mastitis.

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