In my mind, Mastitis is THE most uncomfortable condition that can arise from breastfeeding. Had it once – never want it again!
Mastitis may make the breasts very sore, hard and hot. The breasts may even become inflamed and red. To make matters worse, Mastitis strikes first-time mothers more frequently than veteran mothers and often occurs in the first few weeks postpartum, when you are “busy” (understatement!) taking care of another precious, little life. Mastitis may bring with it flu-like symptoms of fever, chill and tiredness adding a whole new meaning to the word “exhaustion.”
The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing Mastitis. According to renowned pediatrician Dr. Sears, the best ways to prevent mastitis are to “avoid the situations that set you up for it.” These include the prompt resolution of engorgement, frequent feedings at the breast, breastfeeding when you feel your breasts are full, avoiding situations that will restrict, constrict or put extra pressure on the breasts, and caring for yourself emotionally and physically. (That’s right, Mom…You matter too! You are the captain of the ship!)
Dr. Sears wrote a fantastic article describing exactly what mastitis is, how to best avoid it and what to do when it strikes. Here’s the link: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/breastfeeding/common-problems/mastitis
Of course, you should definitely seek the opinion of your physician if you are concerned about Mastitis. At times, antibiotics are required to clear infection.
One step on Dr. Sears’ list of how to treat Mastitis is to alternate between cold and warm compresses. According to Sears, cold compresses relieve pain and warm compresses help increase circulation, which “mobilizes infection-fighters in the inflamed area.”
An easy and convenient way to apply cool and warm compresses is by using The Shower Hug. The Shower Hug is a therapeutic breast wrap that Mom can wear under her leisure clothes to hold (with hands free convenience!) cool or warm packs. It also lets Mom turn her shower into a little sanctuary as she de-stresses in the solitude of her shower with the soothing comfort of her Shower Hug. In the shower, the Shower Hug gently supports full breasts and shields sore breasts and nipples from strong shower sprays. At the same time, the Shower Hug absorbs warm shower water creating an oh-so-soothing warm compress. Now that’s the way Moms like to multi-task!