There was a lot of interest in what was called sub-clinical mastitis in the
context of the HIV and breastfeeding debate in the late Nineties.  Several
researchers tried to suggest that sub-clinical mastitis could be a risk
factor for transmission of the virus.  It was frustrating to note this
finding since we know 1) that sodium levels are elevated during postpartum
breast engorgement, 2) that mixed feeding was common in the populations
they studies, and can mean sub-optimal breast drainage which leads to
engorgement, and 3) that mixed feeding itself increases the risk of
transmission by damaging the immature baby's intestinal mucosa.   So the
actual risk factor was pretty obscure due to the findings of researchers
who didn't know about the physiology of breastmilk production.

But the main message for your purposes is that the researchers used
elevated breastmilk Na as the marker for sub-clinical mastitis.

Hope this adds another piece to the puzzle.

Pamela Morrison IBCLC, Rustington, England.


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