I noticed a lump in my breast a few days ago and now my breast is hot and painful. What should I do?
It sounds like you have a clogged milk duct that has become infected. This is common. Clogged ducts often happen in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, because your body is making more milk than your baby needs.
Place a warm compress on the breast before and during breastfeeding or pumping to relax the breast and open milk ducts. Using gentle massage before and during breastfeeding/pumping can help loosen the clog. Use your fingers to massage all around the breast as if it were a bag of marbles but be sure to not press too firmly straight onto the lump. (Don’t forget the underside of your breasts!) Warm compresses, massage, and cold packs can help a lot. But the best way to avoid clogged milk ducts is to feed your baby early and often. Feeding by dangling your breast above your baby while you are kneeling, known as Dangle Feeding, is another great way to open up milk ducts.
If the clog is difficult to relieve, it can become a breast infection called mastitis. Signs of mastitis are warm, painful breasts along with fever or chills. Your breast might look glossy with red splotches and your milk flow might be partly blocked. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is time to call your doctor. You will need a breastfeeding friendly antibiotic to get rid of the infection so you can be pain and clog free while nursing!