What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue. S. aureus is the most common etiological organism responsible, but S. epidermidis and streptococci are occasionally isolated as well.
Mastitis can be classified as milk stasis, non-infectious or infectious inflammation and abscess. It is impossible to correlate this classification with clinical symptoms. In particular, milk stasis, non-infectious and infectious inflammation can be distinguished only by leukocyte count and bacteria culturing. Symptoms like fever, intensity of pain, erythema or rapid onset of symptoms can not be used to distinguish these.
Early stages of mastitis can present with local pain, redness, swelling, and warmth. Later stages also present with systemic symptoms like fever and flu-like symptoms and in rare cases an abscess can develop. However it is pretty common that symptoms develop very quickly without any warning.
Except in severe cases it is not necessary to wean a nursling because of mastitis; in fact, nursing is the most effective way to remove the blockage and alleviate the symptoms. Sudden weaning can cause or exacerbate mastitis symptoms and cause hyponatremic shock in the infant.
Continued breastfeeding does not present any risk to the nursing infant and is very beneficial for the mother.