Hi all, I could use some advice. I think I have mastitis, which is nuts, because I've been nursing for over two years, and I'm only just having such a thing happen now.

I had a bump that I thought was a pimple, and (sorry, I know I'm gross), I picked at it. Yesterday, I noticed that a kind of red halo had swollen around the bump, and there's a kind of arm of the halo travelling up my breast. The halo is warm to the touch, but it doesn't hurt unless I poke at it. It also feels a little harder than the rest of my breast. I don't have any fever or other signs of being ill, so I'm not quite sure what to do--does that sound like mastitis to anyone who has dealt with it?

I called my OB/GYN today, but they never called me back to schedule the appointment. If I don't hear back by tomorrow, I'll wake up early and call my GP. I shouldn't go to the ER for this, right? I'm still able to nurse, and it doesn't bother me except that it looks kind of scary.

I can think of two things that may have caused it.

One, I'm wearing ill-fitting bras. I know, I know. I just bought a bunch of new (underwire) nursing bras a few months ago only to find that my boobs have shrunken and the cup size is too big. Bras are pricey, though, so I just have been wearing them.

Two, I've been nursing my daughter at night in an odd way--on my back, with her head cradled on my shoulder and my boob kind of bent in a weird position. It's comfy, but maybe it's causing some trouble, as that bump is right where my breast would be positioned unnaturally.

Is there any possibility that I don't need a doctor or antibiotics, that I can treat this at home, change my bras and nursing habits, and this will just go away?

    The infection will not harm the baby because the germs that caused the infection probably came from the baby’s mouth in the first place.
    Breastfeeding should be avoided in the infected breast when an abscess is present.
    Pain relief: A warm compress applied before and after feedings can often provide some relief. A warm bath may work as well.
    If heat is ineffective, ice packs applied after feedings may provide some comfort and relief.
    Avoid using ice packs just before breastfeeding because it can slow down milk flow.
    Drink plenty of water -- at least 10 glasses a day. Eat well-balanced meals and add 500 extra calories a day while breastfeeding. Dehydration and poor nutrition can decrease milk supply and make you feel worse.
    You may need to be evaluated in a hospital's emergency department if the breast pain is associated with other signs of an infection (such as a fever, swelling, or redness to the breast) and if your health care provider cannot see you promptly. The below symptoms require emergency treatment:
    A persistent high fever greater than 101.5°F
    Nausea or vomiting that is preventing you from taking the antibiotics as prescribed
    Pus draining from the breast
    Red streaks extending toward your arm or chest
    Dizziness, fainting, or confusion
      Garlic. Lots of garlic. It will help you fight it. Make sure the breast is getting drained when she nurses. Try to position her so her chin or nose is pressed against the spot, her pressure will help the clog pass. Warm compresses. Leaning over the sink and hand expressing, raw cabbage leaves in your bra (hey, it works. I don't know how, I just know it works). You don't need to stop nursing her on that side.
      The garlic always cleared it up for me, ate a ton of garlic and cooked with garlic. It's an antibiotic and antiviral. Powder will work, but raw is better.
      You can do it at home.
      I will try since raw garlic tonight. My husband won't kiss me, but I will survive. I like to snack on it with peanut butter when I have a cold, so if that helps, best fix ever!
      It's not as bad as it sounds with the taste I used to make spaghetti a lot, chop up two or three cloves and throw in with the noodles while they boil then garlic toast to go with. I don't know about the peanut butter.
      About Tish
      Born: Homestead, Pennsylvania
      Current: State College, Pennsylvania
      Birth: March 04
      On since: Dec 17, 2013
      Working mom of two, happily married, editor/content manager of scientific publications for a scholarly society in Washington DC, attached parent, extended nurser. Parenting and loving the best way I know how!