Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tender breasts, blocked ducts and mastitis - Does tongue tie affect breastfeeding?

Tender breasts and blocked ducts and mastitis: Milk can build up in the ducts for a variety of reasons. The most common are wearing a too-tight bra, missing a feed, or a blow to the breast. It’s important that you deal with a blocked duct as soon as possible so that it doesn’t lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breast).
If you have mastitis, your breasts will feel hot and tender. You may see a red patch of skin which is painful to touch. You can feel quite ill, as if you have flu, and you may have a temperature. This can happen very suddenly. It is very important to carry on breastfeeding as this will help you get better more quickly.
If you think you might have mastitis (or a blocked duct), try the following:
Take extra care to make sure your baby is attached well to your breast.
Feed your baby more often.
Let your baby feed on the tender breast first.
If your breasts still feel full after a feed, or your baby cannot feed, express your milk.
Warmth on your breast before a feed can help milk flow and make you feel more comfortable.
While your baby is feeding, gently stroke the lumpy area with your fingertips towards your nipple. This should help the milk to flow.
Get lots of rest. Go to bed if you can.
Take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Ask for help with how you get your baby latched on properly.
Mastitis may also be a sign of infection. If there is no improvement within 12 to 24 hours, or you start to feel worse, contact your GP or healthcare professional. If necessary, they can prescribe antibiotics that are safe to take while breastfeeding.
Tongue tie and breastfeeding  
Some babies are born with a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth. This is known as tongue-tie, and it can affect feeding by making it hard for your baby to attach to your breast. Tongue-tie can be treated easily, so if you have any concerns talk to your midwife or health visitor or contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline.

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