Mastitis can be felt as a hard, sore spot within the breast and it can be caused by an infection in the breast or by a plugged milk duct.
Treatment includes resting and applying warm compresses to the affected area, and for those who are lactating, it helps to nurse a baby and to express (squeeze out) milk frequently.
"Expressing milk" refers to using the fingers to rhythmically compress a breast so milk comes out, which is collected in a sterile container. It is an alternative to a manual or electric pump.
Mastitis is most common in women during breastfeeding in the second or third postpartum week; however, it may occur at any age.
The importance of personal hygiene and general care of the breasts is emphasized for breast-feeding mothers.
Mothers are encouraged to get adequate rest and drink copious fluids.