Talk to your midwife or doctor straight away if:
- you feel unwell, and
- part of your breast is red or feels sore, hot or lumpy.
You may have a local inflammation caused by a blocked milk duct or a more general breast infection (mastitis). It is better for you and pēpi if you continue breastfeeding.
It is important to empty the sore breast often. If this is too hard to begin with, feed from the other side until the sore side 'lets down'. Be sure to empty the sore side by feeding or expressing. Massaging the sore area gently at the same time can help too. Emptying the breast will help to reduce the blockage and keep your milk flowing. It is important that you have bed rest for at least 24 hours and that you drink plenty of fluid.
Applying a cold pack to the sore area on the breast can help and you can also take paracetamol to feel more comfortable. Your midwife or doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to reduce the inflammation, but if caught early this is not usually necessary. Wear a supportive bra that does not cause painful pressure.
Some babies will be able to empty both breasts every time they feed. Others will be full after one. Although babies often prefer one breast, make sure that baby feeds from both breasts throughout the day to avoid blocked milk ducts.