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Mastitis: How I Dealt With It Naturally

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Mastitis is inflammation of the breast that can be related to an infection from a clogged milk duct. It leaves you feeling like you have a really bad flu. Chills, fever, lethargy, breast swelling/tenderness/burning sensation.

Breastfeeding is natural, but not always easy. I have found some things that make it much easier to nurse our children. I have also dealt with mastitis, thrush, and oral ties. Over the 9+ years that I have been nursing, I have had mastitis 3, nearly 4 times.

The first time caught me off guard. Though I knew there were natural ways to deal with it. I was not at all prepared and ended up on antibiotics after spiking a high fever and the area getting very swollen and red.

After that I made it a point to learn as much as I can about dealing with it naturally and to be prepared for the next time.

Mastitis: How I Have Dealt With It Naturally
Disclaimer
I am not a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This is simply my story of how I have learned to deal with this issue naturally. Please consult your doctor or midwife before jumping into any of these on your own.

Do Not Stop Nursing When You Get Mastitis

In decades past women were told that if they developed mastitis that meant that they had to stop nursing, or that their milk was not currently safe for baby. This is not true.

Nursing helps relieve the pressure and it is completely safe for babe to drink the milk.

Garlic and Vit C

When I feel a plugged duct, or other symptoms of mastitis, I finely grate a few cloves of garlic and allow it to set for 10-15 minutes (allows more allicin to form) before taking with Vitamin C. (See here for more information)

Garlic can be spicy, so best to swallow as fast as possible.

Rest and Hydration

Rest and hydration are huge in recovery from mastitis. Filtered water, coconut water, natural electrolyte drink. Keep sipping and breath deeply.

I hate in when women have told me dishes and laundry will keep.

Let’s face it, I’m not worried about them disappearing, I am worried about not having clean dishes to use or clean clothes to wear-we have to be able to function!

However, in this case, really do try to do as little as you possibly can. Reach out for help-family, church, friends-anyone that has ever said let them know if you need anything!

Herbal Help For Mastitis

I have used Mother’s Herbal Mastitis Tincture the last couple of time that I have had it in addition to the garlic and vitamin c.

For the last year or so I have kept Earthley’s Immune Biotic and Feel Better Fast on hand in our medicine cabinet and plan to add them to my toolkit should this happen again.

Milk Flowin’ Salve

I am excited to have this in my toolkit this time as well.

Milk Flowin’ Salve is an all-natural, herbal salve created to help relieve clogged milk ducts. This salve helps keep lymphatic fluids and milk moving to work out any existing clogs and prevent future ones.

Potato Compress

I actually recently learned about this. I have used potatoes for styes before, but plan to add this to my mastitis arsenal.

Potatoes contains enzymes that can help reduce redness and swelling and promote healing. Thinly slice a potato then soak the slices in water for 15-20 minutes. Place the wet potato slices on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, then discard the slices. Repeat with fresh potato slices three times in one hour.

David Wolf

Ginger Compress

Ginger compresses worked wonders for some. Take a nub of ginger and cut it in pieces, put it in a saucepan with some water and brought to just a simmer. Pour some of the ‘tea’ onto a nursing pad and put on affected area once cooled just enough to not burn you. It will be hot. Leave until cool. Repeat if needed.

Breaking Up The Clog & Getting It Out

The best and quickest way that I have found to break up a clogged duct is to dangle feed with babe’s chin pointed in the direction of plugged duct.

Lay babe on floor or bed and get on all fours and position your breast so the baby will nurse with their chin in the needed direction. While doing this, I use something that vibrates to massage area.

I used hubby’s electric hair clippers the last two times, but an electric toothbrush, or this handy massager meant to help moms break up plugged ducts would work well. I just got this massager to have on hand with our latest addition.

*Update* I absolutely love this massager. It works great for breaking up clogs and is easy to use if we’re out and about.

Note About Cabbage Leaves

A very common recommendation for mastitis is to stick cabbage leaves in your bra. This is problematic however, because it can very drastically decrease your supply, which babe needs.

A Few Issues That Can Cause Mastitis

Some things that can lead to mastitis are infequent/missed feedings, poor latch, or poor suckling form.

The later two could be the result of oral ties in babe. I am working on a post with more information on oral ties, but please consider having babe evaluated by a prefered provider for oral ties. Not all doctors, lactation consultants, or ents are trained to catch oral ties or the issues that they can cause.

Have you ever dealt with mastitis?

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