Prevent Mastitis with fussy breastfeeder.
Breastfeeding a baby with reflux is very challenging. Small feeds, poor latching and fussing around the feed taking small quantities infrequently can lead to milk duct blockage, which when becomes inflamed can lead to Mastitis (a build-up of milk within the breast). There are some things you can do to help prevent this painful condition.
Although mastitis can usually be treated easily, the condition can recur if the underlying cause is not addressed. The main consideration is to stop milk building up in your breasts, as follows:
- encourage your baby to feed frequently, particularly when your breasts feel overfull – reflux babies are often better with smaller frequent feeding.
- ensure your baby is well attached to your breast during feeds – ask for advice if you are unsure. If you are seeing a poor latching, check your baby does not have a tongue-tie. (read more)
- let your baby finish their feeds – most babies will release the breast when they have finished feeding; try not to take your baby off the breast unless they are finished.
- avoid suddenly going longer between feeds – if possible, particularly if you are withdrawing from breastfeeding exclusively, cut down gradually to give your breasts a chance to reduce milk production naturally.
- avoid pressure on your breasts from tight clothing, including bras.
- keep breast pads clean and fresh.
- If your nipples become cracked or sore, use breast milk to rub into them after a feed. Allow them to dry naturally. The antibodies in your breast milk works wonders for sores (including your babies)
Your GP, midwife or health visitor can advise about how to improve your breastfeeding technique. You can also call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 for advice.