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Breast Infection (cont.)

Breast Infection Treatment

Breast infections require treatment by a health care provider.

Self-Care for Breast Infection

After you see a doctor, try the following to help your breast infection heal well.

  • Pain medication: Take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil) for pain. These medicines are safe while breastfeeding and will not harm your breastfeeding baby. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription strength pain reliever if your pain is severe and not relieved with over-the-counter medication.
  • In mild cases of mastitis, antibiotics may not be prescribed at all. If you are prescribed antibiotics, finishing the prescription even if you feel better in a few days is very important.
  • Frequent feedings: Do not stop breastfeeding from the affected breast, even though it will be painful. Frequent emptying of the breast prevents engorgement and clogged ducts that can only make mastitis worse.
    • If needed, you can use a breast pump to completely empty the breast.
    • The infection will not harm the baby because the germs that caused the infection probably came from the baby's mouth in the first place. An alternative to this is to pump the affected breast in order to remove and discard the milk. Breastfeed from the unaffected side and supplement with infant formula as needed.
  • Pain relief: A warm compress applied before and after feedings can often provide some relief. A warm bath may work as well.
    • If heat is ineffective, ice packs applied after feedings may provide some comfort and relief.
    • Avoid using ice packs just before breastfeeding because it can slow down milk flow.
    • Drink plenty of water—at least 10 glasses a day. Eat well-balanced meals and add 500 extra calories a day while breastfeeding. Dehydration and poor nutrition can decrease milk supply and make you feel worse.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2015

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