Can you breastfeed while mastitis?

Many women who have mastitis experience the pain and inflammation from blocked milk ducts. It is important to continue breastfeeding (and expressing) as it helps drain the breast and clear the blockage. Your GP may prescribe antibiotics, but there is no risk to your baby from these.

You can also try using a hot water bottle, therapeutic ultrasound, and a mastitis support pillow. Ask your local LLL Leader for advice.


How do I know if I have mastitis?

Mastitis is a painful inflammation of the breast tissue, often with a fever and chills. It happens most commonly in breastfeeding women but can also affect non-breastfeeding moms and even men (non-lactating mastitis).

You’ll likely have pain, warmth, redness, and swelling of the affected breast and nipple. You may experience a build-up of milk in the breast (milk stasis) or an infection in the nipple that causes infection (infective mastitis).

If you think you have mastitis, see your doctor right away. She or he will probably prescribe oral antibiotics to treat the infection. These antibiotics are safe for babies and will not pass to them through breast milk. If your mastitis is severe, your doctor may need to drain the abscess using a needle.

To help reduce your pain and swelling, place a warm or cold pack on the affected breast before and after feedings or expressing milk. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid pressure on your nipples by wearing looser bras and positioning your baby correctly when breastfeeding. Consider trying reverse pressure softening, which involves placing two fingertips around the base of the nipple and pulling back to relieve pressure. You can also ask your doctor about therapeutic ultrasound, which can help release blockages and improve milk flow. It’s also important to rest. Sleeping close to your baby or taking a nap during the day can help.

Can I breastfeed while I have mastitis?

Breastfeeding can be painful if your nipples are inflamed. You can still nurse your baby, but you should avoid overfeeding or letting your nipples become too full. This can lead to mastitis, or milk duct blockage.

You can also help prevent mastitis by letting your nipples air dry, avoiding soaps and shampoos on your nipple area, and wearing loose clothing. You can also try to eat foods with lecithin, which helps make your milk less sticky to prevent blocked nipple ducts.

If you think you have mastitis, see your doctor right away. It is important to treat it quickly, as if left untreated it can cause a breast abscess, which feels like a hard lump in the breast. It can also affect the quality of your milk and make you sick, and it can spread to your infant.

Treatment for mastitis usually involves reducing pain and inflammation and preventing infection. Using a warm compress or applying an ice pack can help with the pain and swelling. You can also ask your doctor if therapeutic ultrasound can be helpful in releasing blockages and helping milk flow. You may notice that your supply in the infected breast drops a little while you have mastitis, but this is normal and will return to normal as soon as your mastitis clears up.

Can I pump while I have mastitis?

If you think you have mastitis, pump as much as you can to help drain the infection from your milk. You should not stop breastfeeding your baby because it will only make the mastitis worse, especially if it’s bacterial. You can also take pain relief and drink lots of fluids to help you feel better.

It’s important to keep breastfeeding your baby when you have mastitis, if possible, even if the pain is uncomfortable. It is possible that the bacteria from your mastitis will be passed to your baby through breast milk, but this usually only happens when an abscess forms and you do not get antibiotics.

The main cause of mastitis is when there is a blockage in the milk duct, which can be caused by many different things. For example, if your baby doesn’t attach and suckle properly, or favours one side over the other, this can affect milk flow and increase the risk of inflammation.

You can also get mastitis if you don’t pump enough, or if you over-pump to try and create a “stashed supply.” It is sometimes hard to know how to balance this with your baby’s needs, so if you have concerns about your breastfeeding routine, talk to your La Leche League Leader or a healthcare provider.

Can I take medication while I have mastitis?

It is important to get medical attention if you have mastitis. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and instruct you on how to treat it. You should continue to nurse your baby, pump if you prefer, and follow any other instructions given by your doctor.

You can usually spot a mastitis infection from the outside: one breast may be red or swollen, and there may be a hard area or a small lump in the center. It may also feel warm or sensitive to the touch, and you might have a fever or flu-like symptoms.

Mastitis can be caused by blocked milk ducts — non-infective mastitis, or by a bacterial infection that develops in milk left on the breast and nipple after feeding — infective mastitis. Both kinds can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling of the affected breast.

Antibiotics are the best treatment for both types of mastitis. It’s also helpful to apply ice packs or a cold compress to the affected breast for a few minutes at a time several times a day, though you should avoid applying ice directly to your skin. It’s also a good idea to use different breastfeeding positions and try to empty the breast completely after each feed.

You can also take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to relieve the pain and fever. Try to rest as much as you can and drink plenty of fluids.


Breastfeeding while experiencing mastitis can be challenging but is often recommended as it can help in relieving symptoms and promoting healing. Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue, typically caused by a blocked milk duct or bacterial infection.However, if mastitis symptoms worsen or do not improve within 24-48 hours of self-care measures, consult a healthcare professional. They may recommend antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. In rare cases, if an abscess forms, it may need to be drained. Ultimately, breastfeeding can often continue safely during mastitis with proper care and guidance from healthcare providers to ensure both the mother’s and baby’s well-being.

Can I breastfeed while I have mastitis?

Yes, in most cases, it is safe to continue breastfeeding when you have mastitis. In fact, breastfeeding can help relieve symptoms and promote healing.

Is it safe for my baby to breastfeed from the affected breast with mastitis?

Yes, it is generally safe for your baby to breastfeed from the affected breast. Breast milk is safe, and the act of breastfeeding can help clear the blockage in the milk duct.

Should I stop breastfeeding on the affected side if I have mastitis?

It’s usually not recommended to stop breastfeeding on the affected side. Continued breastfeeding helps prevent further blockages and supports milk flow.

Will my baby get sick from breastfeeding if I have mastitis?

No, mastitis itself is not contagious, and your baby won’t get sick from breastfeeding while you have mastitis.

Can I take pain relievers while breastfeeding for mastitis?

Many over-the-counter pain relievers are safe to take while breastfeeding. However, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

Should I continue pumping if I have mastitis?

Yes, pumping can help empty the breast and relieve the blockage. It’s often recommended to pump after breastfeeding if your breast is not fully emptied.

Leave a Comment