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If you develop a fever higher than 38˚C and feel like you’re getting the flu, or if your breast is red and sore, you may have mastitis (a breast infection). Contact your healthcare provider right away, and don't stop breastfeeding.
Your baby won't get sick from mastitis.
Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue and/or milk ducts. It may come on suddenly and make you feel sick with chills and aches. The breast may feel firm, swollen, hot and painful and may appear red or have red streaking.
If you think you have mastitis, contact your healthcare provider or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 immediately. Don't worry - your baby won't get sick from this infection. Here's some advice to help as you recover:
- If you're prescribed antibiotics, you can still continue breastfeeding.
- Pain relievers can help with your pain and fever.
- Rest is extremely important in treating mastitis.
- Keep the breast well emptied by frequent breastfeeding.
- If it hurts too much to breastfeed, express or pump at least every two to three hours.
To Prevent Mastitis:
- Breastfeed regularly. If you must skip a feeding, express or pump milk to keep your milk ducts emptying on a regular basis.
- Ensure you have a good latch and position.
- Use different positions to ensure all areas of your breasts are drained.
- Don't hold or pinch parts of your breast as you can block the ducts.
- Ensure your bra fits well without tightness or restriction.
- Get lots of rest and seek help from people around you.
Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Breastfeeding
HealthLink BC: Mastitis While Breast-Feeding
HealthLink BC: Preventing Mastitis