Mastitis is a common complication of lactation that at it’s most basic definition is inflammation or swelling in the breast. This inflammation often starts with an unresolved plugged duct where milk has either not be moved soon enough (like from baby sleeping longer at night or not pumping enough at work) or from the wrong size pump flange that does not allow milk to empty efficiency. Mastitis may happen with increased maternal stress or a change in the family routine. This may be when guests are visiting, during the holidays, or when returning to work. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a breast infection and a plugged duct. They have similar symptoms, and both can get better within a day or two.
Regardless of why it started, The diagnosis of mastitis is generally made by your symptoms. It is characterized by one sided breast tenderness and redness (often with a noticeable lump in a certain area), accompanied by a fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or greater. You may feel fatigued and symptoms of the flu like, chills, nausea or vomiting, body aches, and headache. The breast will also often have a wedge shape, redness in an area accompanied by breast fullness and tenderness in the same spot.
Did you know mastitis may be related to your posture?
Fluid dynamics is the science of how fluids move in our bodies. All of put bodily fluids are supposed to be free-flowing and unobstructed for optimal health. Milk is a fluid that flows through ever narrowing ducts and pores. Lymph is a fluid throughout your body (and breasts) that helps transport waste from cells and tissues in your body to help flush it from your system. It also helps reabsorb milk that doesn’t get emptied to baby/pump. Anything that increases resistance of the movement of these fluids increases the likelihood of plugged ducts or mastitis. Causes for increased resistance: ⭐️ Breast implants or reduction causing scar tissue in the breast ⭐️ Sleeping in the same posture especially on your side where you put pressure on the breast for extended periods of time ⭐️ Tight fitting clothing/bras that constrict movement of milk and lymph between feedings ⭐️ Shoulder injuries where there is inflammation or scar tissue ⭐️ Neck injuries or issues with neck mobility ⭐️ Tension in your body from stress or poor posture for extended periods of time during breastfeeding (bringing yourself to the baby) ⭐️ Not moving the body enough/sitting for prolonged periods of time in the same position ⭐️ Increased overall inflammation in the body such as from infection or excessive fluids from IVs used during labor and delivery or from immune disorders ⭐️ Having very large, heavy breasts which act more like an appendage where milk and fluid can fill the lower quadrant of the breast and have difficulties moving out again
What can you do? ❤️ Shake your breasts!! Get that fluid moving manually with your hands ❤️ Lean over and dangle your breasts to reduce pressure on them and help them free flow ❤️ Practicing yoga works well, especially with poses like downward dog where you’re changing the orientation of the fluid in your breast related to gravity. ❤️ Avoid restrictive clothing and bras ❤️ Get a massage!! Having hands on the body helps get the fluid inside moving in the right direction ❤️ See my video for lymphatic drainage massage
Lecithin is used in food to provide a smooth, moist texture and to keep ingredients from separating. Lecithin can naturally be found in green vegetables, red meat, and eggs. Commercial preparations are often made from soybeans, egg yolks, or animal products. It is also commonly used in eye drops, skin moisturizers, and food emulsifiers (agents that keep ingredients from separating).
Sunflower lethicin, a specific kind of lethicin, is often taken during breastfeeding to reduce plugged ducts or to help increase milk flow. Sunflower lethicin is thought to reduce the “stickiness” of breast milk by thinning out the fats in the milk and keeping them from clumping together. There are no known contraindications for breast-feeding, and lecithin is “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA. However, people with a preexisting tendency to depression may become depressed if taking high doses of lecithin. While very rare, if you begin to have a fish-like odor while taking high doses of lethicin, stop taking it immediately and notify your physician, as this is a serious sign of liver damage. As there is no recommended daily allowance for lecithin, there is no established dosing for lecithin supplements. Different brands might have different amounts of lecithin in each pill or capsule, so be sure to read labels very carefully before taking lecithin or any other dietary supplement. Per Kellymom.com, the maximum dosage recommended for recurrent plugged ducts is 4,800mg/day. As always, consult with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements while pregnant or breast-feeding.