(From lac, milk). The milk fever. It is a frequent custom to apply the child only to its mother's breast, when the milk flows freely, on the third or fourth day. A fever is thus, from the irritation of the milk, brought on; but it rarely happens to those who have applied the child early to the breast. Where there is a secretion of milk, its due discharge is as necessary as that of the lochia; and the stoppage of either produces fever. Cold, or any cause of fever on the coming on of the milk, may occasion similar inconveniences.
The more immediate causes are a distention of the vessels of the breasts, readily distinguished by the swelling of the glands in the axilla; and an absorption of milk becomes acrid by stagnation. It is known by a rigor and looseness coming on after the breasts have been inflamed and painful, followed by thirst, headach, and burning heat. If the disorder is not violent, it soon spontaneously vanishes by a copious perspiration.
If the patient is full and robust, blood may be taken from the arm; but this evacuation is rarely required. A young, strong, hungry child should be applied to the breast; and linen cloths, dipped in fresh cool drawn linseed oil, laid over them: the bowels should be emptied by a cooling purge, and the saline mixture, with the usual antimonial preparations, given. These, with a thin cooling diet, will generally remove the disease. If the breasts should suppurate, see Abscessus pectoris and Mammae; Kirkland on Child-bed Fevers.