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Mastitis occurs in approximately 10 percent of U.S. mothers who are breastfeeding, and it can lead to the cessation of breastfeeding. The risk of mastitis can be reduced by frequent, complete emptying of the breast and by optimizing breastfeeding technique. Sore nipples can precipitate mastitis. The differential diagnosis of sore nipples includes mechanical irritation from a poor latch or infant mouth anomalies, such as cleft palate or bacterial or yeast infection. The diagnosis of mastitis is usually clinical, with patients presenting with focal tenderness in one breast accompanied by fever and malaise. Treatment includes changing breastfeeding technique, often with the assistance of a lactation consultant. When antibiotics are needed, those effective against Staphylococcus aureus (e.g., dicloxacillin, cephalexin) are preferred. As methicillin-resistant S. aureus becomes more common, it is likely to be a more common cause of mastitis, and antibiotics that are effective against this organism may become preferred. Continued breastfeeding should be encouraged in the presence of mastitis and generally does not pose a risk to the infant. Breast abscess is the most common complication of mastitis. It can be prevented by early treatment of mastitis and continued breastfeeding. Once an abscess occurs, surgical drainage or needle aspiration is needed. Breastfeeding can usually continue in the presence of a treated abscess.