As joyful as those first few weeks are with your little newborn, mastitis is a common hurdle for breastfeeding. Mothers, especially first time mums, are often under the impression that breastfeeding is natural and comes very easily. Whilst this is so for some mums, others can have great difficulty in the first few days and weeks. If you are having issues with feeding and/or and would like to continue breastfeeding it is essential to seek help from a qualified health professional.

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is inflammation of the breast that can be caused by an obstruction or blocked milk duct, which may or may not cause infection. If you can recognise a blocked milk duct, which usually feels like a little lump which may or may not be painful, you can often avoid mastitis with early action. If you miss the early signs, the most common symptoms they start to feel are like the start of the flu: body aches and shivers. The breast becomes sore, red, swollen and hot and the mum will start to feel unwell.

What can you do if you develop mastitis or early signs of mastitis?

  1. Continue feeding! This is really important. The more the breast is drained the faster it will heal.
  2. Change feeding positions to help drain the blockage.
  3. Warmth prior to feeding to soften the nipple and make it easier for the baby to latch.
  4. Ensure correct and good latch.
  5. Avoid any pressure on the breast during feeding.
  6. Ice after feeding to decrease the inflammation.
  7. Ensure your clothing, especially your bra, is not too tight.
  8. Gently massage (ensure you are taught the correct technique as the incorrect technique can make the mastitis worse).
  9. Seek treatment ASAP.

What do physiotherapists do for mastitis?

  1. We will educate you about all of the above points and advise you correctly.
  2. Ultrasound therapy.
  3. Massage.
  4. Other treatments including taping and teaching self-massage techniques.
  5. Education on how to prevent further episodes of mastitis and what to do in the case of a blocked milk duct.

Breastfeeding can be wonderful for mother and baby and has so many health benefits. We will do our very best to encourage you to continue breastfeeding and help you through the mastitis episode so feeding becomes a pleasurable experience once again.

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Larry is a highly skilled physiotherapist who specialises in treating back and neck pain, postural issues and scoliosis. He is certified in Schroth and SEAS methods and through the Egoscue University. Larry has a background in elite gymnastics and springboard diving and also has many years experience in endurance running and triathlons. His specialist knowledge and techniques have seen him appointed as a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist at both the Olympics Games and Special Olympics.

His passion and driving philosophy is about achieving the best outcomes for his patients utilising an amalgam of the latest techniques and theories while recognising there may sometimes be a need for invasive procedures. Where deemed appropriate Larry will then refer to a specialist. To further his holistic understanding and approach, Larry is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Spinal Deformity and regularly attends and speaks at international conferences and courses and clinics.

Fun fact: Larry is learning how to surf - so be careful next time you go to the beach! Qualifications: B.Sc (Physiotherapy); M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology); Advanced Certificates in Schroth (BSPTS) and Egoscue (PAS) and SEAS Larry is Level II certified (advanced) in the conservative treatment of Scoliosis based on the Schroth method. The training was conducted by Dr Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona School at Scoliosis Rehab Inc in Wisconsin. He has completed his SEAS scoliosis treatment training at ISICO in Milan. Larry has also spent time working with Dr Rigo in the Barcelona clinic. Larry also has advanced certificates in shoulder treatment, posture alignment therapy and acupuncture.