Breastfeeding pains – part 2


Women suffering from mastitis usually have the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Pain in one breast (the pain can be very sharp)
  • Significant tensions in the breasts

Women with mastitis may find it difficult to breastfeed because of the pain but also because the areola and the nipple are very tensed. The milk flow is sometimes delayed or downright impossible.

As soon as you present symptoms of mastitis, it would be wise to consult a lactation consultant, a mentor or a nurse who will help you treat this problem quickly. Some women need medication (under prescription) to cure mastitis.

How to react to the first signs of mastitis:

  • Restart your bloodstream.
  • Reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Find ways to manage the pain.
  • Run your milk, keep breastfeeding and use various nursing positions.
  • Keep checking the state of your nipples to avoid hurting them.

Mastitis is sometimes inflammatory and other times infectious. You cannot easily see which one you are suffering from but when it is bacterial, you must treat the infection with antibiotics.


When you have an abscess, your breast suffers from both inflammation AND infection. In case of abscess, the woman can notice a mass on her breast. It is an accumulation of pus. The mass can be more or less round with small bumps. Redness is significant. Often, the abscess is the consequence of mastitis. If you have an abscess you can keep breastfeeding without being worried because pus cannot get in your milk.  However, it is important to consult and to avoid trying to treat it at home because some women may need drainage or prescription medication.

As you can see, many of those problems are directly related. A neglected engorgement may cause mastitis and lead to an abscess. Never neglect your breasts and remember that pain is not normal when you breastfeed. Many resources are there to guide you and give you the tools you need. Don’t hesitate to consult them to avoid any problems. Breastfeeding is an experience that should be pleasant and positive. You may experience little issues but it should be easily resolved… if you have the right tools!

Karine Bergeron

Karine Bergeron is a doula who studied nursing and is currently completing additional training in prenatal care. As mother to little Laurence, volunteer for L’entraide maternelle, breastfeeding godmother and prenatal class teacher, it’s with joy that she dispenses her wisdom for Bergeron is passionate about prenatal care and ready to share all her knowledge to help you enjoy life’s greatest gift: becoming parents. To find out more or ask questions, go to and look for her in the “Équipe” section.

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