5 Signs of a Postnatal Breast Infection 

Mar 12, 2024
5 Signs of a Postnatal Breast Infection 
Are you feeling unsure about changes in your breastfeeding experience or noticing the development of strange symptoms? Identify the signs of postnatal breast infections and find out what to do for your comfort and your baby's health. 

Congratulations on your new arrival from our team at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Darien and Norwalk, Connecticut! Becoming a parent is an incredible journey full of joy, challenges, and endless love. 

Our board-certified pediatric providers understand the complexities of parenthood. We’ve partnered with Tiny Tummies and their IBCLC-certified lactation consultants to ensure you get comprehensive nursing support.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful way to bond with your baby while providing them with the best start in life, but it can come with its set of challenges, including the risk of postnatal breast infections.

Keep reading to learn what you should look for and how our team at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, with expert advice from Tiny Tummies location consultants, can support you through any hurdles you might face.      

1. Your breasts have redness or swelling

If you notice an area of your breast becoming unusually red, swollen, or warm to the touch, it could be a sign of mastitis, a common postnatal breast infection. These symptoms might start out mild but quickly become more severe if not addressed.

Mastitis often occurs when a milk duct is blocked, leading to inflammation. If bacteria enter the breast, an infection can develop. Regularly emptying your breast, ensuring proper latch, and changing feeding positions can help prevent blocked ducts. 

However, it's important to keep an eye on these symptoms and not dismiss them as simply discomfort from nursing. If you notice these signs, don’t wait to seek medical care, as the infection can spread when not treated.

2. You have hard, tender lumps in your breast

Hard, tender lumps within your breast might indicate blocked milk ducts, which can lead to infections if not treated. In the early stages, these lumps can often be alleviated through massage, warm compresses, and continued breastfeeding or pumping to ensure your breasts empty regularly.

However, if the lumps persist or are accompanied by redness and warmth, they may have developed into an abscess. Abscesses are pockets of infection and require medical attention, so don’t wait to call your provider. 

3. You’ve noticed unusual nipple discharge

Any unusual discharge from the nipples, especially if it’s bloody or pus-like, should not be ignored. These symptoms may indicate an infection inside your breast or, in rare cases, something more serious.

It can be difficult to distinguish nipple discharge from breast milk, so watch closely for any changes in your breast milk’s appearance and consistency — call us if you notice significant changes accompanied by other symptoms.

4. Breastfeeding causes pain or a burning sensation

While you can expect some discomfort when you first start breastfeeding, persistent pain or a burning sensation when nursing could signal an infection or other issues, like thrush, a fungal infection, which requires a different type of treatment.

Pain like this can make you want to stop breastfeeding, so don’t wait to seek advice from our experts as soon as possible if these symptoms develop. An IBCLC-certified lactation consultant can offer strategies to reduce pain and ensure your baby is latching correctly, minimizing further irritation.

5. You have a fever or flu-like symptoms

A high fever, chills, and body aches accompanying breast pain and swelling could indicate a breast infection. These systemic symptoms mean your body is fighting an infection, so if you’re experiencing them along with any of the other signs above, get medical help.

Don’t wait to see if your symptoms will resolve on their own. Fever and flu-like symptoms indicate your body is dealing with something more severe than a common cold. Contact us for an evaluation and treatment. 

Help for postnatal breast infections and other breastfeeding challenges

At The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, we know how important breastfeeding is for mothers and babies, and we take your breastfeeding challenges seriously. 

We’ve joined Tiny Tummies so that you can access IBCLC-certified lactation consultants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get help navigating infections and other breastfeeding issues. 

From diagnosing and treating postnatal breast infections to providing practical, supportive strategies for breastfeeding, we're here to ensure you don't have to go through any breastfeeding hurdles alone. 

In addition to infections, Tiny Tummies lactation consultants offer assistance with the most straightforward and most complex breastfeeding issues that women face, such as:

  • Problems with latching
  • Sore, flat, or inverted nipples
  • Multiples and preemies
  • Pumping and return-to-work challenges
  • Engorgement
  • Issues with milk supply
  • Colicky or fussy babies
  • Nursing and maternal medications 

To get the breastfeeding support you need, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Norwalk and Darien, Connecticut.