Bacterial Infections

Infections caused by bacteria, attacking in particular when the body is weak (its immunity is low)

It is easy to get a bacterial infection, when the breastfeeding mum suffers from lack of sleep, is tired and her nipples are sore due to incorrect breast grasping and suckling by the baby or during teething. Bleeding cracks are a perfect site for bacterial development. An affected breast is reddened, hurts during and between feedings. Pus is oozing from wounds in the nipples.

What you can do

First, you need to find out why your nipples are damaged. Then it will be easier for you to avoid a similar situation and recurring bacterial infections in the future. The way in which the baby grasps and sucks the breast is worth looking at. Maybe he grasps it shallowly and squeezes it too strongly with his gums and teeth. In that case you should focus, preferably supervised by a lactation consultant or advisor, on better latching of the baby on the breast. Or maybe you just need to change your position during breastfeeding. (Read: How to latch the baby correctly on the breast; Positions for breastfeeding)

Regardless of the causes resulting in sore tips and leading, in consequence, to bacterial infection, now you need to treat the infection:

  • Apply an anti-bacterial ointment (usually containing an antibiotic) prescribed by your doctor to the pus-oozing wound. Learn how often you should apply it onto the affected site. This ointment will possibly have to be washed away before feeding - use boiled water or marigold infusion for that. Air the breasts between feedings, after applying the ointment. If the bacterial infection is accompanied by fever, the doctor can prescribe you an oral antibiotic, safe for the breastfed child. Remember to take probiotics during the antibiotic treatment.

  • Maintain hygiene. Wash your hands before and after breastfeeding. Change the lactation pads frequently.

Is breastfeeding still possible?

Of course, it is! The breasts must be emptied regularly, to avoid painful milk stasis. Some mums are afraid that milk from the affected breast is full of bacteria. Certainly, the baby will drink a lot of bacteria with your milk, but, at the same time, he will get antibodies that will cope with them; also, with mother's milk the baby will receive plenty of important components that cannot be replaced even by the best formula.

When pain in raw nipples makes breastfeeding difficult to you, use painkillers with paracetamol or ibuprofen. And if that does not help, and pain during breastfeeding is unbearable to you, extract milk with a pump until the nipples heal and give it to the baby in a way that will not exclude his easy return to breastfeeding.