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Treating Mastitis Naturally
Mastitis can be scary to a breastfeeding mama.
The painful and inflamed breast. The chills. The fever.
I have had full blow mastitis 3 times now! I had it both after the first few days after childbirth and now today…
What causes mastitis?
Mastitis is usually caused by a clogged milk duct that isn’t draining properly. Mastitis can come when you are not resting enough or drinking enough water – Hello, Holidays!
This time it developed from a milk bleb – a clog right on the nipple. I noticed a slightly painful white dot on my nipple about 2 weeks ago, but I thought it honestly went away… Until last night.
Last night when I went to bed, I noticed my breast was tender. I tried to compress my breast to get any milk flowing, didn’t make much progress so I just went to sleep. I had trouble getting comfortable because it was tender.
I had a lot of trouble sleeping and finally got up at 3 am. I was feeling light-headed walking to the bathroom and almost passed out when I was trying to put in my contacts. I had to wake my husband so he could help me get some meds and vitamins, plus see what my temperature was.
We have a forehead scanning thermometer and it read 102.0 and 105.0… who knows.
I had a fever!
I couldn’t sit up in bed without getting light-headed. It was already serious.
I immediately took 2 Tylenol gel caps (which I NEVER do!), but I kept thinking… If I can’t take care of myself, who is going to take care of my babies?
I also took garlic tablets, vitamin C, and lecithin (a fat emulsifier to help break up any fat in the clog). The vitamins are immune boosters and should help fight off any infection.
Then I nursed, expressed milk, and nursed some more.
I stayed in bed until 9:30, then felt like I was at least well enough to come downstairs.
I fixed myself a large glass of echinacea tea, also full of antioxidants and immune boosting properties. I also took probiotics and cod liver oil.
I continued taking the vitamins and nursed more often to help keep the milk moving and clear any infection.
The Keys to Treating Mastitis:
1) Catch it early!
Mastitis is an infection that can get out of control quickly. As soon as you notice a clog, be proactive about trying to get it cleared before it escalates into Mastitis.
2) Take your vitamins!
Focus on vitamins to strengthen your immune system. I took garlic, echinacea, and vitamin C. These will help you fight off the infection – or prevent one from happening if you catch it early.
3) Use hot compresses.
Hot compresses open up the ducts and pores on your breast and help you clear the clog and drain the breast more effectively. You can even take a hot shower and use the warm water to help while massaging the clog.
4) Nurse, Nurse, Nurse
Keep that milk flowing! Babies are the most effective at draining the breast. You can also use a pump to help get any extra milk out between feedings. Also, when you nurse, remember to change the baby’s position each time (or even during the feeding). I always found that nursing while hovering over the baby laying on a bed was the fastest way to clear a clog (looks funny though!).
Mastitis usually happens because you aren’t resting enough. You need to take a break and stay at home while you heal. Also drink plenty of water and recuperate.
I hope you never have to deal with mastitis. It is not fun to have to deal with. Thankfully with these tips, you should be able to clear it up quickly and be back to normal.
If you don’t find relief in a few hours, you may need to call your doctor.
Have your had Mastitis before? How did you treat it?
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