Women's health

Recognising and managing mastitis




Mastitis is a concern for breastfeeding women and their doctors. GPs want to know which antibiotics to prescribe and when to start and stop them. Families may worry about the safety of antibiotics for the baby, whether mastitis will recur and whether the mother needs to stop breastfeeding.

Article Extract

The woman’s experience of mastitis

About one in five new mothers experience mastitis. The woman’s breast is painful, hot and swollen and they feel unwell with fever and rigors.1 Many women do not know what is happening to them and are anxious. Some women say, ‘I just thought I was tired’, and other women jump to the conclusion that ‘something is wrong with my breast – it must be cancer’. Women often fear that they might have to stop breastfeeding, or that any medication may be harmful to their baby. They may also be apprehensive about the risk of recurrence (Figures 1 and 2).

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Model used for illustrative purposes only