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Mastitis

  • Mastitis is an infection or inflammation of the breast. Breast infections commonly occur in women who are breast-feeding when bacteria enters a crack in the nipple. A case of mastitis can leave you rundown and make it hard for you to care for your baby.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches mastitis

    At Boston Children's Hospital, there are a few programs that provide support for mastitis. You or your daughter may be referred to the Gynecology program, the Lactation program and the Adolescent/Young Adult Medical Practice.

  • What are the symptoms of mastitis?

    Mastitis can appear suddenly. Symptoms include:

    • breast tenderness
    • skin redness, often in a wedge shape
    • swelling of the breast
    • general malaise
    • fever of 101 F or greater

    What causes mastitis?

    Mastitis can occur when bacteria from your skin or your baby's mouth enters a crack in your nipple and multiplies.

  • How does a doctor diagnose mastitis?

    Your physician can confirm that the pain and swelling in your breast is a bacterial infection. He or she will also check that the infection has not turned into an abscess, a complication of mastitis.

  • Mastitis treatment at Boston Children's Hospital

    • You or your daughter will probably be prescribed an antibiotic for 10 to 14 days. Be sure to finish the entire course of treatment to avoid recurrence.
    • Mastitis causes some women to wean their baby early. It's important to remember that you should continue to breastfeed. In fact, the affected breast should be kept empty of milk through frequent breastfeeding.
    • You should call your physician if you develop flu-like symptoms or a fever over 100.4 F.
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