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Hi,

I have a 6 months old baby and I have been breastfeeding her from the first day until now.

I have a lump in my left breast. I am worried if it can affect my little girl.

Can I continue breastfeeding her?

Thank you.

Asked by Shydah - Posted 6 years, 2 weeks, 6 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes ago.

Congratulations for having breastfed your baby for so long! Well done Mommy! It’s common to have lumps during your breastfeeding journey. it could be a plugged duct ie milk get stuck in a duct and form a lump.

Blocked ducts will ‘almost always’ resolve spontaneously within 24 to 48 hours, even without any treatment at all. During the time the block is present, milk flow may be a bit slower hence your baby may be fussy when nursing on the affected side.

So how can you quickly resolve this?

  1. Continuing breastfeeding on the affected side.
  2. Draining the affected area better. Obviously direct latching would be best in this instance ya, no pump is compatible to a baby’s suction. Either position the baby so his chin “points” to the area of hardness or another way of getting better draining of the breast is through breast compression while the baby is feeding. (Use your free hand to apply pressure around the lumpy areas)
  3. Applying heat to the affected area (hot water bottle / hot pads)
  4. Clearing a blocked duct:
    • Step 1: Wrap affected area with cold cabbage for 10 mins
    • Step 2: Soak your breast in a mixture of 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt + warm water for 5 mins and while soaking, use warm bottle and roll on the affected area towards the nipples 5 mins (this might help to take the stress off your wrist which can get painful when you massage with your hands too long)
    • Step 3: Direct latching as long as baby wants or pump 10 mins
    • Step 4: Rest 30 mins
    • Step 5: Repeat steps 1 - 4 . You might have to do this process many times before you see some results.
  5. Lecithin, one capsule (1200 mg) 3 or 4 times a day also seems to prevent recurrent blocked ducts, at least in some mothers.

How is it different from Mastitis?

Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the breast that can occur in breastfeeding mothers. Bacteria may gain access to the breast through a crack or sore in the nipple, but women without sore nipples also get mastitis, and most women with cracks in the nipple do not.

Mastitis needs to be differentiated from a blocked duct, because blocked duct does not need treatment with antibiotics, whereas mastitis may, but not always, require treatment with antibiotics. A blocked duct presents as a painful, swollen, firm mass in the breast. The skin overlying the blocked duct is often quite red, similar to what happens during mastitis, but less intense.

Mastitis is usually also associated with fever and more intense pain as well. However, it is not always easy to distinguish between a mild mastitis and a severe blocked duct. A blocked duct, can, apparently, go on to become mastitis.

As with almost all breastfeeding problems, a poor latch, and thus, poor draining of the breast sets up the situation where mastitis is more likely to occur. Same goes to blocked duct too.

Ways in dealing with Mastitis

If the mother has symptoms consistent with mastitis for more than 24 hours, she should start antibiotics.

Remember:

  • Continue breastfeeding, unless it is just too painful to do so. If you cannot, at least express your milk as best you can in the meantime. Restart breastfeeding as soon as you are up to it, the sooner the better. Continuing breastfeeding helps mastitis to resolve more quickly. There is no danger for the baby ya.
  • Heat (hot water bottle or heating pad), applied to the affected area helps healing.
  • Rest helps fight off infection.
  • Fever helps fight off infection.
  • Most medication are compatible with breastfeeding now, otherwise please check with your physician for a BF friendly medication.

    Abscess: Abscess occasionally complicates mastitis. You do not have to stop breastfeeding, not even on the affected side. Usually the abscess needs to be drained surgically, but you should continue breastfeeding. Contact your GP to discuss this further ya.

    A lump which isn’t going away: If you have a lump that is not going away or getting smaller over more than a couple of weeks, you should get it looked into. You don’t have to stop breastfeeding to get a breast lump investigated (ultrasound, mammogram, even biopsy do not require you to stop breastfeeding even on the affected side).

    A breastfeeding friendly surgeon will not tell you that you must stop breastfeeding before she can do tests for a breast lump.

    Best Regards

    Gina Yong
    Breastfeeding Consultant, Holistic Wellness and Fitness Coach
    Specialty : Breastfeeding Support

     

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