There are certain factors that put you at an increased risk for developing mastitis, including:
If you’ve had mastitis before
If you use only one position to breastfeed – this may not fully drain your breasts
Wearing a tight-fitting bra or breast binders to halt milk production
Sore or cracked nipples
There is no reason to stop breastfeeding if you develop mastitis – in fact, nursing can help to clear it. The bacteria that cause mastitis will not harm your baby, although they can increase the sodium content in your breastmilk which can give it a salty taste. Most babies don’t notice the taste or aren’t bothered by it, but if your baby doesn’t like it and refuses to nurse on that side, begin feeding on the other side and finish on the affected breast or pump on that side and feed from the other. If it hurts to nurse your baby on the affected breast, begin with the other breast and finish on the sore breast once your milk has fully let down.
To minimize your chance of developing mastitis, be sure to fully drain the milk in your breasts during breastfeeding or pumping. Alternate which breast you begin breastfeeding on each time and use different positions to ensure all the ducts are drained.
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