mastitis, mama disrupt

‘My unexpected mastitis diagnosis 8 months after weaning’

In Features, Motherhood, Pregnancy + Birth, Stories, Wellness by Nicole Fuge

Mastitis … turns out it’s not just for breastfeeding mums. Plus, find out what to do if you find a lump and how to prevent future scares. Your breast health matters.

By Nicole Fuge, Mama Disrupt® Managing Editor

Nothing wakes you up at 3am, quite like a very sore and very large lump in your breast that literally popped up overnight. Panic mode activated. My mind immediately went to the scariest place – breast cancer. So, as soon as dawn broke, I rushed to see my GP.

My doctor was super reassuring, saying it was probably just a cyst, but to be sure, she sent me off for an ultrasound. When the results came back, the news was both surprising and confusing – it wasn’t a cyst; it was mastitis. Wait, what? I stopped breastfeeding eight months ago.


recovering from an eating disorder, mama disrupt
Understanding mastitis: it’s not just for breastfeeding mums

Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that can sometimes involve an infection. While it’s common in breastfeeding women, non-breastfeeding women can also get it.

Symptoms include:

  • Breast pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Redness
  • Fever and chills

So, how does it happen if you’re not breastfeeding? Bacteria can enter the breast tissue through a crack or sore on the nipple, or it can happen due to a blocked milk duct. Even trauma to the breast can trigger inflammation. Who knew?

cold water plunge, mama disrupt

What to do if you find a lump

If you find a lump in your breast, don’t freak out, but do act fast:

  1. Visit your GP – They can check things out and tell you what to do next.
  2. Get an ultrasound or mammogram – These tests help figure out what’s going on.
  3. Follow up – If it’s mastitis, you might need antibiotics or other treatments.
self-care, mama disrupt
My mastitis treatment journey

For me, the treatment involved antibiotics and lots of warm compresses to ease the pain and help clear the infection. Rest and staying hydrated were also key. My doctor made it clear that I needed to finish all the antibiotics, even if I started feeling better before the pills ran out.

vaginas, menstrual cycle, women's hormones, mama disrupt

Preventing future episodes

While you can’t always prevent mastitis, especially if it’s related to an infection, there are ways to lower your risk:

  • Keep good breast hygiene
  • Wear bras that fit well
  • Avoid nipple trauma by using gentle skincare products

Finding a lump in your breast can be a heart-stopping moment, but remember, not all lumps are cancerous. Conditions like cysts and mastitis are common and treatable. Always check in with your healthcare provider to get the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Staying on top of your breast health is crucial for peace of mind and your overall wellbeing.

Disclaimer: No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional. Please refer to our Medical and Health Disclaimer for further information.

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly mama goodness delivered straight to your inbox, like the VIP that you are.