Breast Infection (Mastitis)

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is soreness or a lump in the breast.

A breast infection can happen when other family members have a cold or the seasonal flu. It usually only happens in one breast. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a breast infection and a plugged duct. They have similar symptoms and can improve within 24 to 48 hours. Some breast infections that do not improve within this time period need to be treated with medicine from your doctor.

What are the symptoms of Breast Infection (Mastitis)?
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Nipple discharge
  • Hot/pink breasts
  • Fever

What is the treatment for Breast Infection (Mastitis)?

Breastfeed on the affected side every two hours or more often. This will keep the milk moving freely and your breast from becoming overly full.

  • Massage the area, starting behind the sore spot. Move your fingers in a circular motion and massage toward the nipple.
  • Apply heat to the sore area with a warm compress.
  • Get extra sleep, or relax with your feet up to help speed healing. Often a breast infection is a sign that a mother is doing too much and becoming overly tired.
  • Wear a well-fitting supportive bra that is not too tight, since this can constrict milk ducts.

Ask your doctor for help if you do not feel better within 24 hours of trying these tips, if you have a fever, or if your symptoms worsen. You might need medicine.


  • You have a breast infection in which both breasts look affected.
  • There is pus or blood in your breastmilk.
  • You have red streaks near the affected area of the breast.
  • Your symptoms came on severely and suddenly.
    Also, talk with your doctor about any medicines you take or plan to take.