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Breast Care While Nursing

What Should I Do If My Breasts Become Infected?

If you do not treat plugged milk ducts or engorgement, it can lead to a breast infection called mastitis. This infection can cause your breasts to become red, painful, and swollen. You may also experience symptoms similar to the flu, such as fever and chills.
If you are experiencing symptoms of mastitis, contact your healthcare provider. He or she may need to prescribe some antibiotics. You can also help to decrease breast pain by using warm compresses on the painful breast, along with ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce pain and swelling.
Also, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you can breastfeed your baby while you have a breast infection.

General Breast Care Tips

Taking care of your breasts while you are breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure you and your baby are prospering from all the benefits breastfeeding has to offer. By following some simple suggestions, you can help prevent sore nipples, engorgement, plugged milk ducts, infections, and other problems. Some of these tips include the following:
  • Position your baby properly to ensure he or she is latching on correctly.
  • Feed your baby often, approximately 8 to 12 times a day, to help prevent blocked milk ducts and engorgement.
  • Make sure to change nursing pads often. If they get wet and moist, it increases the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Avoid using soap when washing your breasts. Choose a mild cleanser instead.
  • Avoid wearing underwire bras or those that may constrict your breasts, as they may increase your risk for clogged ducts.
  • Communicate with your healthcare provider or lactation specialist if you have breast problems that are not improving or becoming worse.
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