Mastitis

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Mastitis is a common infection among breastfeeding women. The infection causes the breast to become tender, red, and hot. The woman also experiences flu-like symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. Breast infections can occur when the milk ducts become plugged or when the nipples become cracked. In rare cases, the connective tissues of the breast may become infected.

Mastitis usually affects only one breast, and is treatable with antibiotics. Women with mastitis are encouraged to continue to breastfeed, or to pump the milk from both breasts, to prevent the breasts from becoming abscessed. Mastitis is not dangerous to the infant, since the milk is not infected. see also Breastfeeding.

Delores C. S. James

Bibliography

Worthington-Roberts, Bonnie, S., and Rodwell Williams, Sue (1993). Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation, 6th edition. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.

nausea: unpleasant sensation in the gut that precedes vomiting antibiotic: substance that kills or prevents the growth of microorganisms

An inflamed, painfully tender breast combined with flu-like symptoms may indicate that a nursing mother has mastitis. Frequent feeding or pumping from the affected breast can help, as can rest and drinking lots of fluids. [Photograph by Dr. P. Marazzi. Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.]

Internet Resources

Tilson, Bonnie. "Mastitis." Available from <http://www.lalecheleague.org>

malnutrition: chronic lack of sufficient nutrients to maintain health socioeconomic status: level of income and social class

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New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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