During my recent visit to Australia, I had the opportunity to meet with Associate Professor, Catherine Fetherston, at Murdoch University, South Street campus in Western Australia. We had a wonderful lunch together and discussed varying subjects about breastfeeding, mastitis, milk banking, milk sharing, and the ethics of co-sleeping in Australia. Cathy recorded last month a wonderful expert lecture called "Understanding Mastitis, Current Knowledge and New Perspectives" and we are offering it as our special this month.

I crossed the country to Melbourne where I met up with Lenore and we had a wonderful evening out with Dr. Lisa Amir and Dr. Anita Bearzatto. Our dinner conversation covered topics of last year’s ILCA conference, candida, induced lactation and tongue tie. We also discussed getting together during our next visit to Melbourne in August for the Australian Breastfeeding Association 50th anniversary Liquid Gold conference.

We would like to give a special thank you to Freddy Angel and Trinity Maas for being so accommodating during our stay in Australia.

This month we would like to share with you an interesting article by Linda J Kvist. As health care professionals working with lactating mothers we need to know how to evaluate and assess for mastitis. We need to know how to help these mothers and when to refer for treatment as about 1/3 of breastfeeding mothers will experience mastitis some time during their breastfeeding experience.

We hope you enjoy reading “Re-examination of old truths: replication of a study to measure the incidence of lactational mastitis in breastfeeding women” published online through the International Breastfeeding Journal.


Re-examination of old truths: replication of a study to measure the incidence of lactational mastitis in breastfeeding women Background: The reported incidence of lactational mastitis varies greatly; the single highest reported incidence in the scientific literature is 33%. The purpose of this study was to collect data regarding incidence and experiences of lactational mastitis from women attending a meeting of lactation specialists and to compare findings in a similar population reported in 1990 by Riordan and Nichols.


A retrospective questionnaire study was carried out with a group of Danish lactation specialists in 2011. The questionnaire was constructed to replicate that used in 1990 and included questions about occurrence of mastitis, the infant’s age, breast segments afflicted, examination by a physician, use of antibiotics and possible causes of the illness.


As in the earlier research, respondents in this study reported a 33% occurrence of lactational mastitis. This cannot however, be considered as the incidence of mastitis. In order to state the incidence it is necessary to impose a time limit for the collection of data and to know the size of the population at risk. Incomplete emptying of the breast was the factor most frequently cited as the cause of mastitis.


Researchers must strive to be as exact as possible when reporting definitions and incidences of mastitis and should attempt to identify the true population at risk – in this case, all women who were breastfeeding in the uptake area under study, during a specified time limit. Well-designed studies in different global locations are needed before any conclusions can been drawn about the range of incidences of mastitis.