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What is the Most Common Mastitis Treatment?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Mastitis is a condition that usually occurs in breastfeeding women and often occurs in the first few weeks or months after a new baby is born. A breast may feel swollen and painful, it may show red discoloration and can be hot to the touch. This is usually accompanied by fever and a sense of feeling tired or exhausted, more so than usual for new moms. What is really occurring is that bacteria have entered the breast, and a woman is suffering an infection; mastitis treatment needs to begin to rid the body of the infection.

There is usually fairly standard and common mastitis treatment for most women, which can help to resolve the condition pretty quickly. Most doctors first recommend a 10-14 day course of antibiotics to treat the infection and might also recommend that a patient take a medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat localized discomfort and fever. These are important measures, but the condition will clear more quickly if women adhere to additional suggestions.

First, breastfeeding remains important and women should strive to get infants to empty breasts with each breastfeeding encounter. The milk is perfectly safe for the baby to drink, and each time nursing occurs, part of the infection is eliminated. Mastitis is sometimes the result of an infant having poor latch-on, which can create cracking in the nipples and an easy way for bacteria to enter the breast. Should this issue not be correctable immediately, women should consider expressing the breasts until the breasts lose their sense of fullness after a baby nurses. Expressed milk doesn’t have to go to waste and can be frozen for a couple of months.

Rest is standard mastitis treatment too. Some breastfeeding experts say “get the mom in bed with the baby.” In other words, taking naps, getting as much rest as possible, and getting someone to help around the home with other children or with housework can promote healing. Mom being in bed with the baby is also ideal because nursing may prove easier and mom is on hand to nurse at an infant’s demand.

Equally important in mastitis treatment is drinking plenty of fluids. People with this condition should aim for about 12, eight ounce cups (about .24 liters in each cup) of water or other fluids daily. Avoiding caffeine may make good sense because this acts as a mild diuretic.

With standard mastitis treatment, women should notice improvement in the first week, and should be completely symptoms free after antibiotics have been finished. If symptoms return, women should definitely see their doctors. It is possible a more persistent infection or other conditions are present instead.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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