Breast Abscess – My Experience

Wishing all expecting mothers and new mothers the best of moments with your baby. The best part in a mother’s life is breast feeding. Even if you plead for the breast feeding experience after some years, your wish cannot be granted. Keep aside all your post delivery pain and worries, and get immediately into the duty of feeding your baby.


Before penning down this article on breast abscess, I just closed my eyes thinking what am I to explain. Ooops…the entire nightmare flashed in my mind. It was as though I am still in the pain of my breast abscess.

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 What is breast abscess?

A painful condition in the breast of a woman. It is a situation where the ducts/tissues in the breasts are under infection, usually bacterial infection. Breast abscess is commonly seen in lactating mothers. The infection leads to formation of pus in the milk ducts.

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How does a breast abscess look like? /How do you know you have developed breast abscess?

Read – Checklist for babies on the go!

There are various conditions and different severity of breast abscess. Here I am mentioning the condition I have experienced in my breasts.

  • A red lump in the breast, my breast skin had turned very sensitive. I could not even move my hands just to drink water or put on my blanket, the lump would hurt badly.
  • There will be acute piercing pain in the breast.
  • I developed high fever too.
  • Breast feeding became very painful.

Reasons for breast abscess:

  • Very low resistance in the mother to tackle the infection.
  • Cracked nipples too become a main reason for infection causing bacteria to enter.
  • Hardening of breast milk.
  • Block in the milk ducts.

In my case, breast milk hardening became the reason, and eventually infection. I had mentioned that my nipple turned hard within a day and my baby could not suck. This resulted in milk collecting in the breasts. Those moms are lucky who complain of milk overflow from their breasts. Initially, never experienced the flowing out of milk from the breast when they became full. I was instructed by the doctor and nursing staff to express out the milk manually by squeezing. The tender breasts hurt a lot if squeezed. But, then squeezing out the excess breast milk was the only way to save myself from abscess. Even the nurse staffs at the hospital handled my breasts to squeeze out the excess milk.

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I have a doubt now; these manual handlings of my breasts are also another reason for infection to enter into my breast. Ultimately, breast milk expressing manually and breast milk hardening led to breast abscess.

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Treatment of breast abscess:-

Small abscess are removed by needle aspiration. The collected pus due to infection can be drained out using a syringe. If the lump is big enough, then aspiration will not help. Thus, a cut is made and collected pus is allowed to flow out.

Mine was the second type of treatment, incision and drainage surgically. I had a cut in my breast that was 2 inch long, 1 inch wide and at least 3 inch deep. A little tilt and pressing the cut would bring out all the collected pus. A sterile gauze was placed inside the cut a packed from outside.

Until the infection subsided, the wound needed dressing everyday. The same process continued, drain out the pus, cleanse and insert the gauze. This continued for 2 weeks. Either my doctor used to come home or I was called to his clinic. The first time collected pus was sent to lab for testing and I was put on antibiotics too.

One fine day, my doctor declared, ‘there is no pus today’!!! That moment was happier than the moment my daughter was born. Then on, gauze was not stuffed into the cavity and the wound healed pretty soon. By then almost one and a half month of suffering was experienced after delivery.

After one and half years now, I still have a very strong scar left behind on my breast.

Ghosh………. A very painful situation for a new mother.

Breastfeeding in abscess /Do not stop breast feeding:-

Some doctors advice to stop feeding when the mother has breast abscess or has under gone abscess treatment. But my doctor suggested I continue feeding.

Breast milk are high in antibodies, infection is in the duct, not in the milk. The feeding will help in emptying the breast from the milk which will result in the speedy recovery from the infection.

But my daughter could not get hold of the shapeless nipple and could not suck yet. This is where I started searching for breast pumps. I have bought 3 pumps from different brands. The first 2 purchases went waste. The third breast pump from Pegion was my savior.


I wrote all this not to scare any mother. I wanted you to realize the impact of breast abscess. Gain as much knowledge possible about breast feeding and prepare yourself thoroughly. Breast feeding is not an easy process for some. Finally, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

 Did you suffer from Breast Abscess or know any one who  suffered from the same.

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  1. very informative post Chandani..

    our breasts need gr8 care at anytime of our life to keep ourselves at bay from various issues..

  2. Hi Chandani ..Now i know why you said that breast abscess is worse than even the C sec.I am so glad you shared your experience and seriously i will pray that no one should ever go thru this..

    I didnt feel like feeding the baby initially but now its my fav hobby nowadays ..women should try hard after c section to feed the baby otherwise it can seriously be a bad situation.

  3. hope u get well soon. and please review the breast pump

  4. even i had developed some infection.. for which i was given steroids n al.. somehow i didn wanna take coz i had weird theory it’l affect the babies milk n stuff.. n overtime i maintained extra hygene n al… n it improved… my sis had this problem n she hardly fed her kids for 2months.. its very sad..

  5. 2 inch ..thas too deep..its almost a c section.

  6. oh whoa!! an eye opener…i didnt know this can happen!! sorry that u went through so much!!

  7. Am sorry u had to go thru this chandni. My bro-in-law’s wife went thru the same n it was really awful. It got so bad that she was never able to feed the bady n had to take medication, get minor surgery done n all.

    For new mothers, do use a pure lanolin based cream as a preventive measure to avoid nipple fissures and all. Most docs prescibe the ointment as soon as the baby is born.

  8. its terrible situation dear…in my case,it was the opposite that when my baby wasnt being feeded then milk used to overflow and spoil my clothes..

  9. Oh that’s a scary experience Chandani..
    I too had breast abscess. Since there was not big lump as such, it was cured with a week’s medication.
    I have never prayed to any God all life, but in those few days I pleaded to the Godess…
    Its not easy being a mom…

  10. I came across this blog & find it very interesting & informative. Can somebody who has gone through PCOS & got pregnant share their story & experiences? It would be of great help to me plzz 🙂

    • Hi Rubee..i has PCOS in both of my ovary and i just recently gave birth to a baby girl 🙂

    • Hi Rubee,
      Even I have PCOS and gave birth recently to a baby girl. I came to know about my PCOS in June 2009 and after that i started treatment in few months of observation and test(Follicular strudy/ HSG/Blood tests etc). I was under treatment for several cycles I tried below things last one worked for me.
      – medicine for follicular growth
      – medicine for follicular growth + HCG shot for ovulation
      – medicine for follicular growth + HCG shot for ovulation + IUI
      – injections for follicular growth + HCG shot for ovalution + IUI (+ vacation at the time of implantation 🙂 (Successful in 1st attempt))

      Also I would like to tell that my sister also has PCOS and she gave birth last year after several failed cycles on medicines/ IUI/ Ovarian drilling. Finally she took a break to reduce her stress and with in 1 month she was pregnant but unfortunately she had to abort it because of no heart beat but after few months (6 or so) she became pregnant again without any medicine.

      Stress also plays a major role in conceiving. Try your best but try to minimize your stress and divert your mind towards other things. All the best.

  11. my sis had this too.. was a nightmare and terrible…
    better use a lanolin based cream… and also do gentle massage when bathing…

  12. I guess letting the milk harden during the initial hours might worsen the scenario. I have a couple of points to share
    1. New /first time mommies keep the watch on when the milk is going to start flowing for the first time. If you miss this out then it might become difficult for the baby to suck on hardened milk.
    2. Initially babies might not know how to suck. So don’t get disheartened. Slowly stroke the baby behind the ears or on the cheeks to help it suck.
    3.milk is bound to flow in full force initially and the settle down as per the feeding pattern of your baby. So milk hardening is only in the first 3-4 days max. So if you are alert and keep a check you can avoid abscess.
    4.for the first week or so, if you feel your breast hardening and it’s not feed time, there is no harm in removing excess by gently pressing the sides of breast or by giving hot water foamentation.
    5.massage breast with mildly heated coconut oil for easier and less painful process. HAS to suck for milk to flow and not harden. So soon after birth , even if milk has not started secreting , make the baby suck every 2-3 hrs . Baby will be getting the initial colostrum and also will get the hang of sucking by the time milk starts flowing:)
    Hmmmm .. Hope I was useful.

  13. Hi
    I have 3 month old daughter, and I have exactly same situation of Abscess.
    It has been more than 3 weeks. I want to write about my 3 weeks briefly.

    12/30Sunday- First severe engorgement symptom – Treated by nursing, pumping, cabbage, and cold pack at home.

    1/1Tueseday- Second severe symptom, treated same but doesn’t go away.

    1/2Wednesday- I got some hardened and red area around nipple. So, I called my OB, but I barely be able to get appointment 1/7 following Monday.

    1/4 Friday – Severe pain and 110degree temperature. Called Hospital, and they told me to go to emergency room, but I didn’t go. Instead I asked all my co-worker, and friends and family for the advice.

    1/6 Sunday – I met a Lactation consultant. She said it is Mastitis. So she cannot do anything, but she told me to do keep nursing. And no more heat pack since I have fever on my breast. I did cold pack every time after the nursing.

    1/7 Monday – My OB told me it is Mastitis, so I have to keep nursing, and pumping while I will be antibiotic for 7days. I tried to make following appointment for the following Monday, but I couldn’t, so I made appointment for the 1/17following Thursday.

    In the meantime, my baby was crying every time she got fed after antibiotic, so I pumped after antibiotic.
    Also, my baby is on her own antibiotic for her ear infection.

    1/17 Thursday – I went for the follow up visit, OB told me it look better but now I will introduce breast doctor for the detail. So I got breast doctor appointment for the 1/18 Friday.

    1/18 Friday – Breast doctor told me this is very well organized to drain. She asked me why I only took antibiotic for 7days. But I only got prescribed 7 days by OB. So, she sent sample to lab and I am taking Antibiotics. Also, she suggested stopping breast feeding since this might comeback for other side if I keep breast feeding. She said if I stop feeding it will disappear. Also, the fact mom and baby are on antibiotic are not good idea for the nursing. However, I was scared to be worse without feeding or pumping.

    1/18Friday ~ 1/19Saturday – I kept try not to feed, but engorged, so I tried to pump but longer term between, and less than usual. Felt not too bad. But I called doctor for just in case I need to do something else to stop milk. She said just leave it.

    1/21 Monday – I got sever engorgement on the other side and the Abscess side is getting worse looking. So, she made the appoint for me today 1/22 Tuesday, In the mean, I am drinking no more milk tea, cabbage for stopping milk production, because the milk production doesn’t seem go away.

    1/22 Tuesday – Today, I will meet doctor, and my Abscess side look a lot worse like the scary image in Google. Am I going to be ok? Is there some more tips?

  14. Niharika says:

    Even I had cracked nipples but using silicon nipples not onlu helped them heal but also helped my baby latch properly in those intial days..prescribed by my gyne
    I guess with a distorted nipple condition this will also be helpful!

  15. I had experienced breast abcess too n those painful days bring nightmare to was a horrible situation..up till now its been 3,years I have a scar for the operated abcess.

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