How to recognize and treat mastitis?

Poor latching at the breast or an ineffective suck from your little one can also cut or damage the nipple, which can potentially lead to an infection. Photo: Pexels

(Amanda Krupa/ Forbes Health) — If you’re pregnant or a new mom, you need to be on the lookout for postpartum mastitis, or inflammation in the tissue of the breast. It can be a sneaky condition for nursing and non-nursing women alike, and many new moms even confuse their mastitis symptoms with those of COVID-19. Know what signs to look for—and how to treat them—so you can stay strong and healthy for your little one.

Clinically speaking, mastitis is “a tender, hot, swollen, wedge-shaped area of the breast associated with a fever, chills, flu-like aching, and systemic illness,” according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Chances are you know someone who has experienced it—research suggests the condition can occur in as many as 33% of lactating women, especially in the first few weeks postpartum.

“This is not just a condition that can happen to women who are breastfeeding,” says Jessica Madden, M.D., a pediatrician, neonatologist, certified lactation consultant and medical director of Aeroflow Breastpumps. “Mastitis can absolutely happen to a mother who is exclusively pumping, feeding twins or combination feeding with formula. If your breasts are making milk, you are at risk.” (…)