Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast. It is a common condition in women who breastfeed. Usually mastitis occurs from not emptying milk from the breast.

Symptoms include a hard, red, swollen, tender area in the breast with fever, chills and flu-like aching.

  • Remove milk by feeding eight to 12 times a day starting on the affected side
  • Pump both breasts at the same time if direct breastfeeding isn’t possible
  • Use warm, moist compresses before feeding and massage the breast during the feed to help drain milk from the breast
  • Cold compresses may also be used to treat discomfort
  • Bed rest
  • Eat a proper diet
  • Increase fluids
  • Over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen may relieve swelling and pain

Contact your care provider if symptoms don’t improve within 12 to 24 hours to obtain antibiotic treatment.

  • Proper latching prevents skin breakdown of the nipple
  • Breastfeed often or pump if feeding is missed to empty breasts completely
  • Massage any lumps found in the breast while feeding
  • Avoid tight or poorly fitting bras
  • Wean gradually

For additional information on this Health Topic, call the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine at 513-636-2326.

Last Updated 10/2015