Mastitis is the technical word for inflammation of the breast. It can include infection. The symptoms are the same as for a blocked duct but you may feel unwell - as if you have ’flu; high temperature, weak, tired. The breast is red and the skin often shiny. The pain can be relieved by feeding the baby, there is no danger to the baby from drinking the milk because the infection is not present in the ducts.

The inflammation may not be due to an infectious invasion. If you follow the suggestions below, you may avoid the need for antibiotic treatment, which can make your baby unwell and lead to other problems for you. I say this because the ’flu-like symptoms can be caused by the mother’s body’s reaction to her own milk escaping into her bloodstream and being recognized by her immune system as foreign protein. If the tiny milk sacs become over filled some may burst and some milk then mixes with her blood which is not normally the case. The two systems are designed to work separately. So her body treats the milk protein as an infectious invasion and raises her temperature to remove it. It is possible that the mother has an infection, but I have found that these remedies allow the body to heal itself. If it persists however and you feel ill for more than forty eight hours I would suggest that you seek medical attention. Sometimes the mastitis is due to an infection from elsewhere and requires antibiotic treatment. This can be discovered by taking a sample of the milk for laboratory examination. Make sure your doctor knows that you are breastfeeding if he prescribes drugs for you (See bibliography “Breast is Best”). My methods for unblocking ducts and preventing infection developing:


Massage the breast (see below)

Take Arnica (for bruising) cream to massage into the breast and available in homeopathic tablets

Take vitamin E (reduces inflammation) and Vitamin C (prevents infection)

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