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If I have a breast infection, is it still safe to breastfeed?


It is safe to breastfeed even if you have a breast infection. Breast infections like mastitis can occur when bacteria on the skin (Staphylococcus aureus) enter the breast tissue through breaks in the skin. This infection can cause swelling, redness, inflammation to the breast, fever and pain. Mastitis generally occurs within the 3 months after birth, but can happen any time women are breastfeeding.

Your doctor can diagnose breast infections like mastitis during a physical examination. If you are infected, your doctor will give you a 10 to 14-day course of antibiotics. Your symptoms may improve after the first 1 to 2 days, but in order to prevent further outbreaks, finish the full course of antibiotics and make sure to get enough rest and drink lots of fluids.

It is important not to be discouraged away from breastfeeding because breastmilk is the best for your baby and will actually help you get over your infection. If the infection does not clear up after a full round of antibiotics, visit your doctor. A rare form of breast cancer, called inflammatory breast cancer can be mistaken for mastitis.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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