At-home & online treatment options for mastitis

Reviewed by Amy O. FNP-BC, IBCLC

Time saver 4 min read

The first year with a newborn can be one of the most magical—and challenging—times in your life. And when your focus is on your baby’s sleeping, feeding and changing schedule, it can be hard to carve out time for yourself, much less to deal with common health issues. But if you’re breastfeeding or chestfeeding and develop mastitis, you need relief and treatment ASAP.

We’re here to help you identify mastitis symptoms and causes, provide self-care tips and walk you through your mastitis treatment options. Plus, we share advice on ways to avoid future bouts of mastitis.

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is a spectrum condition that can develop when too much milk is produced. This can cause inflammatory mastitis where breast ducts narrow and swell which leads to inflammation. If not treated, inflammatory mastitis can develop into an infection or bacterial mastitis – which requires antibiotics to clear up the infection. While mastitis can be uncomfortable and even painful, thankfully it’s relatively easy to manage and treat.

What are the symptoms of mastitis?

If you’re breastfeeding, it’s important to monitor for any signs of inflammation or a brewing infection.

Signs of inflammatory mastitis

  • Thickening of the breast tissue or a breast lump
  • Breast tenderness
  • Redness in the area of inflammation

Inflammatory mastitis doesn’t always lead to an infection. But if you experience symptoms of bacterial mastitis, it’s important to seek treatment right away.

Common symptoms of bacterial mastitis

  • Pain and swelling of the breast
  • Breast redness and warmth
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Pain or burning during breastfeeding

At-home treatment for mastitis

If you think you have mastitis, you may be wondering how you’re going to swing an in-person doctor appointment between feedings and nap time. Thankfully, when it comes to getting the treatment and care you need for mastitis, going into a clinic isn’t your only option.

You can get treatment for mastitis online and from the comfort of home. Yep, your sleep-deprived eyes aren’t playing tricks on you—you read that right. You don’t need to pack the diaper bag and lug your baby into the clinic for a doctor’s appointment.

Mastitis self-care tips

Keep feeding

Mastitis can be painful and your first instinct may be to stop breastfeeding from the breast that’s sore. But to help reduce inflammation, relieve pressure and prevent engorgement, it’s important to continue breastfeeding on the affected side, just not first. Because mastitis is most often caused by hyperlactation or producing too much milk, fully emptying the affected breast can lead to more inflammation. That’s why it’s important to continue to feed your baby on demand and start on the unaffected side first.

Take over-the-counter meds

To ease pain and swelling, you can take Tylenol® or Advil®. Both are safe for you and your baby while breastfeeding. A cool compress can also be applied to the breast several times a day to help reduce inflammation and calm discomfort.

Switch feeding positions

Trying different breastfeeding positions and making sure your baby is properly latched can help prevent nipple irritation and ensure milk flows freely through breast ducts.

Take anitbiotics

If you’re diagnosed with bacterial mastitis, over-the-counter medications and self-care practices can help ease discomfort, but you need prescription antibiotics to clear up the infection. Make sure to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed – even if you feel better after a few days.

Online treatment for mastitis

You can safely get treatment for mastitis online at Virtuwell. If you need an antibiotic, we’ll send a prescription to your pharmacy. Plus, all follow-up care is included in your visit, so you can quickly get in touch with a nurse practitioner with any questions or concerns.

Preventing future breast infections

If you’re prone to mastitis, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

  • Nurse on demand - Nurse when your baby is hungry, or roughly every two to three hours. Don’t worry about fully emptying both breasts as doing so can cause your body to produce too much milk which can lead to inflammation.
  • Ensure a proper latch -Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. To protect your nipples and ensure your baby gets the milk they need, make sure your baby is latched properly.
  • Use a lanolin cream - For cracked nipples, use a lanolin cream to promote healing. You can also express drops of breastmilk on the cracks and expose your nipples to open air after a feeding.
  • Wean gradually - When stopping breastfeeding, go slowly and allow your milk production to gradually decrease.
  • Try a supplement - To reduce inflammation in breast ducts and promote better milk flow, take a sunflower or soy lecithin supplement while you’re breastfeeding.
  • BreatheDealing with mastitis can be stressful (and painful). And stress inhibits your body from releasing Oxytocin which is needed for adequate milk letdown. Take a few deep breaths before each feeding and do your best to stay calm and relaxed.

Take care of your health!

As a parent, you go above and beyond to make sure your baby is happy and healthy. During this time of your life especially, you need all the help you can get. Take time to prioritize yourself and your health. Address common health issues and get online treatment for mastitis today at Virtuwell.

Share this post

Do you know someone who could use a simple & affordable healthcare option?