Breastfeeding and Mastitis

Breastfeeding is a special time for a mother and baby. The benefits go beyond supplying basic nutrition and enabling bonding and connection to occur. Sometimes however breastfeeding can mean painful and red breasts.

Mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn’t cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation is called mastitis. Infection may or may not be present.

Common causes

  • Poor attachment to the breast
  • Nipple damage
  • A long break between breastfeeds
  • Breasts that are too full
  • Blocked milk ducts
  • Stopping breastfeeding too quickly
  • Overly tight bra
  • A baby with tongue-tie who is having problems attaching to the breast

Signs and symptoms

  • A red, sore area on the breast
  • Swollen, lumpy area on the breast
  • The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks.
  • Flu-like symptoms – feeling hot and cold with aching joints

How can Physiotherapy help?

Therapeutic ultrasound is an effective physiotherapy treatment that can relieve the symptoms of breast engorgement, blocked ducts or mastitis. It is used as part of a holistic treatment to help women continue to breastfeed their baby.
A thorough assessment will be conducted and education and advise will also be given.