Before I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had heard of this dreaded thing called Mastitis. I knew mastitis was inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection. The inflammation can result in breast pain, swelling, warmth, and redness. And it could become so bad, that it might make you desperate enough to ask your partner to help suck out the clogged duct. Yes! I know. I had the same reaction when my friend told me she asked her husband to do this, but hey— you gotta do what you gotta do. And a massage under a piping hot shower wasn't cutting it.

Besides a basic level of understanding of what mastitis is and hoping to avoid it at literally *all* costs, I didn't know much else. Was there anything I could do to avoid mastitis? How did people get mastitis? What if my baby doesn't suck hard enough, and I get mastitis? If I get mastitis, should I keep pumping or nursing? I was fearful about all the unknowns. And to make an already challenging experience more challenging (feeding a newborn), there didn't seem to be a lot of support or information about mastitis prevention in general— until I met my friends at Lilu.

Before I share with you about your breast defense against mastitis, let's learn a little bit more about this scary 8-letter word.

What is mastitis?

LaShanda Dandrich, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant from Uptown Village Cooperative in New York City, describes mastitis as an infection in the breast. "Mastitis can develop from clogged/plugged ducts or from bacteria entering into the milk ducts from cracked nipples," says Dandrich. "Mastitis presents an area of the breast (wedge-like) that is tender, hot, swollen, AND can lead to a fever. Overall flu-like feelings of being run down and body aches." LaShanda shares more about mastitis, here.

What are the signs I might be getting mastitis?

Before you get mastitis, you typically have a plugged duct first. According to Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas-based pediatrician and author of Baby 411, "The milk backs up and causes a hard, lumpy tender area. Beware of any redness on the skin or fever," warns Dr. Brown. "Plugged ducts are the precursor for a breast infection called mastitis."

What causes mastitis?

  1. Cracked nipples(mostly from poor latch technique)
  2. Plugged milk ducts (from incomplete emptying at a feeding or tight bras)
  3. Missed feedings (lack of nursing or pumping for several hours)
  4. Stress and exhaustion
  5. Rapid weaning (lack of nursing)

Can mastitis happen to anyone?

Yes. Mastitis doesn’t discriminate, and any mother producing breastmilk is susceptible.

If you're interested in reading a vulnerable post about mastitis, please visit this Instagram post, shared bravely by Liv Lo. "I can’t believe I am sharing this. Me in my lowest of lows the morning I found out I had mastitis. Here I am fighting for my mental health, to regulate, heal and get some sleep," she writes on her Instagram.

The most important thing we can do as moms is support each other, share information, and help prepare each other for the realities of early motherhood. Life with a newborn is not as glamorized as it appears to be on social media, and we do each other a disservice by not being transparent and vulnerable about our own experiences. This Instagram post isn’t meant to scare you, it’s meant to prepare you. And the more prepared we can be and the more educated we can be about things like mastitis, the better we can prepare to be called Mom.

What can I do to avoid an infection?

  1. Massage the area while you nurse or pump to unclog the ducts
  2. Apply a warm compress to the area before feeding, and a cold compress after
  3. Nurse or pump every 2-3 hours
  4. Get some sleep to help your body prevent an infection
  5. Purchase or add Lilu to your Poppylist baby registry

What is Lilu?

Lilu is the first hands-free pumping bra with automated compression massage. This highly adjustable bra guarantees a comfortable fit as your body changes. The bra is soft, breathable, and is compatible with standard suction breast pumps. Not only will it work with your pump, but it comes with a clip-on snap and elastic straps for extra support to ensure you can be hands-free.

The Lilu Massage Bra comes with 4 pieces: A hands-free pumping bra, controller, massage cushions, and a micro-USB charging cable.

Why do I need the Lilu?

Think of Lilu as an extension of your support team to encourage you and support you during your pumping journey. Women who pumped and used Lilu saw their breastmilk production increase between 30-55%. In addition to helping you release more milk, it’s also one of the strongest defenses against mastitis. As we know, a plugged duct is the precursor to a possible infection, and Lilu’s massaging bra means you have one less thing to worry about— getting mastitis.

Please note that every woman’s experience pumping is different. The amount of breastmilk we produce is different, our letdown and supply is different, etc. This product isn’t your magic bullet to expressing a lot of breastmilk, but it will absolutely aid in your overall feeding journey.

But what have moms said?

That’s a great question. As you know, Poppylist is powered by parents. We vigorously vet every single product recommendation and would never recommend something to you unless we verified that it helped a mom or dad. Here’s what one Poppylist mom, Maria, had to say about using Lilu:

"This is a truly great product and one of the best-kept secrets of the pumping world. My LC didn't recommend pumping at all for me, as I had an oversupply. It was very uncomfortable, so I decided to pump to empty my breasts for relief. Contrary to what I was told, with the Lilu Massager, I could feel my breasts were "empty," and my son was able to feed more comfortably. The Lilu bra helped empty my breasts and allowed me to go longer between pumping sessions— without getting clogged ducts and/or mastitis (which I did develop before I started using it). I managed to regulate my supply and pump 2-3 times a day and breastfed during the night.  Also, the massage was really relaxing and super gentle. I wish I had had this bra when I was exclusively pumping with my first born and had an undersupply. This is a must-try for any pumping mom. It saves your sanity and supply!" Maria Garcia

Can I add Lilu to my Poppylist baby registry?

Yes! Poppylist is a universal baby registry, meaning you can add any product from any online store to your baby registry. When you create your Poppyist account, you can search our product catalog and add Lilu directly to your registry.

At Poppylist, we believe your baby registry should include just as many products to support you, and it starts with a product like Lilu.

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