Breastfeeding problems and breast abscess
Nearly ten per cent of breast feeding mothers suffer from a breast abscess in the weeks following childbirth.
These abscesses are almost entirely preventable in the first place and arise only because the ‘modern’ mothers feed their babies in such a strange way.
Because they breast feed by the clock (if indeed they breast feed at all), the breasts become engorged (swollen) and the pressure within the breasts can block a milk duct.
The blocked duct shows as a red, hot, tender lump in the breast and this often makes the woman feel shivery or ‘flu-like’.
First-aid measures include
feeding the baby much more frequently (to empty the breast); not limiting the length of feeds;
massaging the lump gently but firmly towards the nipple;
ensuring that your bra does not press on any particular area of the breast;
varying the position in which the baby feeds at each feed and even during a feed;
and using hot or cold compresses (whichever gives best relief).
Antibiotics will only be necessary if all these methods have not dispersed the lump within 24 hours.
If a blocked duct is caught early, it will not go to become infected and form a proper abscess (a walled-off, pus-filled structure within the breast).
Once an abscess does form through it will probably (like abscesses elsewhere) need to be incised by a doctor to allow the pus to escape.
If you have a breast abscess you should not feed the baby from that breast, but continue to feed again from both breasts.
In the meantime, express milk from the affected breast frequently and discard it.
It may be possible to avoid incision by catching the abscess early and treating it with antibiotics.
Your doctor will prescribe a suitable drug should it be indicated.
Remember, that these abscesses are almost entirely preventable.