Mastitis: Barrier to mother and child relation

Being mother is a blessing and a natural gift endowed by the nature to help in the propagation of the population. Through motherhood, a girl experiences the transition from being a wife to a mother, life giver and caretaker. With motherhood, the responsibilities and concern changes from household to that of caring for the new life that is wholly and solely dependent on the mother. Breastfeeding is the connection that creates this unique bond between the newborn child and its mother. Breastfeeding is seen as the true connection between the mother and its child, the bond that cannot be defined in simple words.

Sometimes this simple gesture of love can be hampered thus causing inflammation in the breast or in the nipple region giving painful episodes to the mother while breastfeeding. The inflammation of the breast tissues and the areola of the nipple can give rise to painful breastfeeding hence leading to the condition of Mastitis. Even though not a common condition but about 20% of the breast feeders are affected by this condition annually.

Causes of Mastitis:

  • Bacterial infection can lead to inflammation around the breast and the areola.
  • Sometimes post-menopausal women can also cause engorgement in the breast with lumps in the breast region.
  • Chronic mastitis can also be the reason.

Symptoms of Mastitis:

  • Painful breastfeeding
  • Swelling and inflammation around the nipple and redness in the breast.
  • Recurrent Fever greater than 101.5’.
  • Body shivers and swelling around the breast.
  • Body aches
  • Fatigues and lethargy
  • Abscess in and around the nipple area with pus draining out from the nipple sometimes.
  • Tender lumps in the breast.

Treatment for Mastitis:

As it is a inflammatory and bacterial infection, hence the most important step in treatment is to take anti inflammatory and anti bacterial medicines to cure the symptoms. Even if the breastfeeding is painful, continue to do so or else it will lead to creation of more lumps in and around the breast. Keep a close check on the temperature and chills experienced by the mother. Keep the areola clean before and after breastfeeding. Keep a close check on the symptoms and even after 24-48 hours there is persistence of the symptoms then consulting a gynecologist is of utmost importance.

Breastfeeding tips:

The following tips needs to followed while the mother is suffering from mastitis:

  • Keep the areola and the nipple clean and dry before and even after breastfeeding.
  • Continue to breastfeed the newborn from the painful breast as well as it will cause increased incidences of lump in the breast. Breastfeed from both the breast.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Careful hygiene needs to be maintained such as washing hands before and after breastfeeding and keeping a close check on the lips of the newborn as well.

Breastfeeding is an important and sacred bond binding the relation of the child and its mother. It should be deterred because of any such painful incidences.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

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