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Breastfeeding mothers experiencing mastitis are encouraged to breastfeed from the affected side. This literature review looks at reports about breastfeeding in the presence of mastitis and potential side effects on the infant.


We searched Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and British Nursing Index (BNI) using the medical subject headings breastfeeding, mastitis, lactational abscess, lactational mastitis, ill-effect or adverse effect, or harmful effect.


The literature search identified 27 publications with details of 40 mothers and 45 infants. In 18 cases, infants suffered infectious complications related to the organism causing mastitis, 12 of which were related to Streptococcus B, with further isolated case reports associated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) / methicillinsusceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), herpes, and tuberculosis.


This literature review did not identify concerns about the well-being of breastfed infants in the presence of mastitis except a handful of adverse neonatal outcomes in the context of prematurity and Streptococcus B infections. This review provides further reassurance that continuation of breastfeeding in the presence of mastitis is unlikely to harm the infant.

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