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We are going to see the main causes of fever in lactation, although by definition fever is one that exceeds 37.8ºC. We will try to treat all those cases in which there is an elevation of the body temperature of the nursing mother. According to some experts, with fever the immune system of a nursing mother reacts by improving the protective capacity of milk.
What can cause or provoke fever in the mother during lactation and what effects can alter milk production?
1. Rise of milk
It is a significant increase in the vascularity of the breasts and as a consequence the breasts are warm, enlarged and somewhat hardened for about three days. It can be normal to have some fever, less than 38ºC, and it is also normal that, while the milk rises, your breasts will be soft after feeding, but after a few minutes they will be hard again.
2. Common disease
A cold, flu, or any infectious process that in any condition can cause fever. Nursing mothers are not immune, with which they will present fever if they are infected.
It is an area of the chest that is red, indurated and hot, even painful to the touch or the slightest touch of clothing. Tremors, fever higher than 38.5º C (less is not considered mastitis), significant discomfort, feeling of weakness, asthenia and significant decay. Sometimes the mother does not even feel able to hold her baby in her arms.
An obstruction feels like a hard, painful lump in one quadrant of a breast, but it is not hot or red. The most common area where it usually occurs is in the upper quadrant that touches the armpit. It may be accompanied by a low-grade fever (temperature below 37.8ºC) and malaise. But if it is not considered mastitis, since the bacterial dysbiosis involved is mild and can be easily treated.
5. Urine infection
It is quite frequent that in the immediate postpartum mothers have a urinary infection, this can cause high fever (more than 38ºC). The cause is usually dehydration (we forget to drink plenty of fluids, because we are 'immersed' in caring for our baby); manipulations of the urethra in labor (women who opt for epidural anesthesia undergo a bladder catheter every 4 hours to empty the bladder), make them more prone to urinary infections.
The big question that many nursing mothers ask is: If I have a fever, can I breastfeed? There is no scientific evidence to say that it is necessary to suspend the breast if the mother has a fever, not even with a high fever.
In fact, some processes that cause fever such as mastitis are resolved by emptying the breast, and there is nothing more effective than suckling the baby.
To lower the fever, you can always count on physical measures: taking off your clothes, baths with warm water ... Alternative ibuprofen and paracetamol are safe, they will lower your fever and discomfort. Probiotics are effective, in cases of infection.
There are many antibiotics and medications that are compatible with breastfeeding. It is recommended that you always ask your doctor before taking antibiotics or any other medicine.
As recommended by the pediatrician Carla Estrada, a nursing mother should follow some recommendations before continuing to breastfeed her baby:
1. The mother or any person in the family at the slightest symptom or suspicion of coronavirus, go to the doctor to perform the virus test.
2. The mother and everyone should use N95 mask preferably.
3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. If the mother is very ill and feels very ill to breastfeed, she can express her milk and offer it to her baby, preferably in a cup, syringe, or spoon bottle, to avoid teat / nipple confusion syndrome. And in this way it also prevents breast engorgement or mastitis.
5. The baby should be taken to the pediatrician in case of any symptoms such as cough, rhinitis, fever, frequent crying, refusal of food or any other symptoms.
6. The mother must stay well hydrated and eat a healthy and balanced diet, abundant especially in fruits and vegetables.
7. Do not stop breastfeeding.
You can read more articles similar to Causes of a mother's fever during breastfeeding, in the category of Diseases - annoyances on site.