Mastitis Treatment: iVillage Pregnancy & Parenting

I am a breastfeeding volunteer. I helped a new mom through her first six months of nursing. In that time she had bouts of mastitis at least four to five times. After receiving the usually rounds of medication and pain relievers she sought the help of Dr. Jack Newman in Toronto, Ontario. He advised her to use ultrasound to break up the mastitis. The treatment worked. Her second child was born recently and she has already suffered from mastitis twice. Dealing with a newborn and a toddler, she is at her wits end and wants to give up nursing. Why are some women prone to mastitis?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is true that some women seem to be more prone to bouts of mastitis than others. There are many factors that may be involved in this. One of the first things to look at in recurrent mastitis is whether the baby is properly positioned at the breast. If the baby is not properly accessing the milk, there may be insufficient drainage.

Other risk factors worth exploring, along with your physician, if you are prone to repeated bouts of mastitis are:

  • Fatigue and stress -- high on the list of contributing factors
  • Overabundant milk supply
  • Anemia -- have blood iron level tested
  • Tight or underwire bra
  • Previous breast surgery
  • Too much saturated fat -- Ruth Lawrence, MD suggests limiting fat intake to polyunsaturated fats and supplementing with one tablespoon of lecithin per day
  • Excess or inadequate salt intake
  • Allergies
  • Chronic bacterial infection -- low dose antibiotics are sometimes recommended for the duration of breastfeeding
  • Secondary fungal infection -- baby and mother must be treated simultaneously

Best of luck in helping this mother to put mastitis in her past.

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