My Brush with Mastitis (and my top tips on how to avoid it)

woman holding breastfeeding products

Let's talk boobs, mumma. Not the glamorous kind, but the raw, leaky, downright painful kind. Yes, I'm going there: mastitis.

Mastitis, an inflammation of the breast tissue that can lead to infection, is one such concern. While treatable, recognising the symptoms early on is key to a smooth recovery and continued breastfeeding success.

Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Mastitis

Mastitis can strike suddenly, so it's essential to be aware of the symptoms. Here are some key things to watch out for:

  • Breast pain and tenderness: This is often the first sign, usually occurring in one breast but potentially affecting both. The pain can be sharp, throbbing, or burning, and often worsens during breastfeeding.
  • A wedge-shaped red, swollen area on your breast. This is often accompanied by a feeling of heat to the touch.
  • Swelling: The breast may become swollen and feel hard or lumpy. 
  • Flu-like symptoms: This can include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and a general feeling of being unwell.
  • Changes in your breastmilk: Sometimes, your milk may appear clumpy or have streaks of pus in it. However, your milk is still safe for your baby to consume.
woman putting hot + cold breast pad in freezer

Don't Panic, Take Action

Here's the thing: mastitis is more common than you might think! I felt so alone when it hit like I was the only one struggling with this painful situation. But talking to other mums, I realised it's a badge of honour (sort of) in the breastfeeding club. Try to get onto it straight away as early intervention is key to preventing complications and ensuring a speedy recovery.

Treatment Options for Mastitis

  • Antibiotics: Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Don't worry, these antibiotics are safe for breastfeeding mothers and won't harm your baby.
  • Frequent breastfeeding: Continue breastfeeding frequently, even on the affected side. This helps keep milk flowing and prevent blockages that can contribute to mastitis.
  • Warm compresses: Applying a warm compresses for 15-20 minutes to the affected breast can help ease discomfort and promote milk flow.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help manage pain and inflammation.
woman putting on gel breast pad

How to prevent mastitis

While mastitis can happen to any breastfeeding mum, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk. The Mayo Clinic shares these helpful tips:

  • Proper latch and positioning: Ensure your baby is latching on correctly to your breast during feeding. This will help prevent blocked ducts, which can contribute to mastitis.
  • Empty your breasts regularly: Feed your baby frequently or pump to keep your milk flowing freely. Our Manual Breast Pump has received several 5-star reviews where it helped to relieve milk blockages.
  • Soothing options for your breasts: A great option to try and soothe your breasts is by applying something either hot or cold. Try our Hot and Cold Breast Pack or our Aqua Gel Breast Pads. A glowing review from one of our customers said “I love the New Beginnings range and everything they offer! I've recently been using their gel maternity aqua gel breast pads. They help cool and soothe my nipples and breasts instantly! They stick on fantastically and stay on until you take them off & if you pop them onto some baking paper whilst feeding you can also reuse them as well which is also a bargain in my books!”
  • Rest and hydration: Get as much rest as possible, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Supportive clothing: Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra that doesn't put pressure on your breasts.


Breastfeeding is a beautiful, rewarding experience, but it's not always sunshine and rainbows. By being informed and supporting each other, we can navigate the unexpected bumps (or clogged ducts) in the road together. And also don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for support.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a heating pad and a very hungry little bub. The leaky mama life continues!