Breastfeeding your baby should be pain-free and hassle-free. However, if your baby is not feeding properly or, for example, the breast shield of your pump is not the right size, the breast may not be properly emptied while drinking or pumping. The milk duct can then become blocked.
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This can also happen if you wear a tight bra or have chapped nipples. In the latter case, a bacteria can get into your chest.
What do you notice?
With a breast infection you usually have a sensitive or even painful, hard spot in your chest. Your skin feels warm and may be red in color. You may also have a slight increase or a fever and you may not feel fit.
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What can you do about it?
Breastfeed your baby often, preferably every two hours. With each feeding, give milk from the painful breast first. It is best to warm it up first, for example with a washcloth or heat compress. The heat causes your blood vessels and milk ducts to widen, so that the milk flows more easily.
Also, make sure your sore chest is as empty as possible in the end. Is this not possible by letting the baby drink? Then use your butt.
After the feed, you can use cold compresses to reduce pain and inflammation. You can also use an anti-inflammatory in consultation with your doctor.
Another nice tip: do not wear a bra that is tight or other tight clothing. In any case, do not stop feeding if you have a breast infection, because then the milk will remain in your breasts and the inflammation will only get worse. If you plan to stop, do this as soon as you are better and the inflammation has disappeared.
When to see the doctor?
If the constipation or breast infection doesn’t improve within eight to twenty-four hours, call your doctor. Do this even if the complaints get worse. Your doctor can give you antibiotics that you can safely use while feeding.
Source: Breastfeeding organization La Leche League