Plugged ducts, mastitis, or breast abscesses

Did my milk supply go down because I had bad mastitis?

Plugged ducts, mastitis, and abscesses can occasionally damage a breast and cause a temporary or permanently low milk supply in that breast. Babies may need to be supplemented, although they often breastfeed more on the unaffected side, increasing the supply on that side and reducing or eliminating the need for extra milk. Babies whose mothers develop these problems should be closely monitored to make sure they continue to grow well.

A) Decreased milk supply caused by plugged ducts, mastitis, and abscesses

Plugged ducts, mastitis, and abscesses can damage a breast, sometimes permanently. This can cause a reduced milk supply in the damaged breast, requiring the baby to be supplemented temporarily or permanently with milk.

Babies often breastfeed more on the unaffected breast, increasing the amount of milk on that side. This behaviour may be temporary until the problem is fixed or permanently if the milk supply on the affected side remains low. This compensation by the healthy breast can reduce or eliminate the need for supplementation. Babies should be closely monitored during this time to make sure they continue to grow well.

1) Plugged ducts

Plugged ducts can be smaller or larger. If the affected area is very large and lasts for more than a week, a plugged duct occasionally results in a low milk supply on the affected side.

2) Mastitis

Mastitis can temporarily decrease milk supply on the affected side. It can also cause a permanent decrease, but this is less common. Mothers with mastitis should continue to breastfeed on both sides to maintain their milk supply and to prevent getting an abscess. Mothers who cannot breastfeed on the affected side need to express effectively.

Mothers with mastitis need effective treatment.

3) Abscesses

An abscess can have a major impact on a mother’s ability to breastfeed. Depending on where the abscess is, how big it is, and how it is treated, mothers may be left with a low milk supply on the affected side. Mothers may also be very ill for a number of days or even require surgery.

In rare cases, the breast is so damaged by an abscess that the milk supply is decreased for the next baby.