Signs of Mastitis

Mastitis is an infection in the breast. It happens to many new parents and can clear up quickly with treatment. Mastitis is not a reason to stop breastfeeding. If you think you might have mastitis, you should see your health care provider for treatment within 24 hours. Some things to watch for include:

• Hot, red, painful area on the breast
• Muscle aches
• Headache
• Fever or chills
• Fatigue

If you get mastitis, try these tips to feel better.

Preventing Mastitis

You can try to prevent mastitis by:

  • Washing your hands before feeding
  • Ensuring your baby has a good latch
  • Feeding one breast until soft before offering the other breast
  • Gently massaging any plugged ducts or breast lumps (see Plugged Ducts handout)
  • Trying not to miss breastfeedings
  • Getting help if you have sore or cracked nipples
  • Taking care of yourself; rest, drink and eat well
  • Wearing a comfortable, well fitting nursing bra
  • If weaning, doing it slowly