Anyone catch where that's from? For me, just hearing the word 'mastitis' is like the hyenas in The Lion King hearing Mufasa. The thought of it sends shivers down my spine and makes me kringe thinking that I might get it ... again! However, without fail, I always seem to. This past week, I had my first scare with Simon. I could tell a milk duct was clogged, so I went on extreme treatment as to not let mastitis set in and it worked!
I haven't always been so lucky or have had a warning. I still remember with Gabriel, my first, when I got mastitis. I spiked a huge fever, I was sweating and shivering cold at the same time, but the pain of nursing was excruciating! I knew nursing was the best thing to help get rid of the infection, but every time I got ready to nurse, I kringed as I picked him up because the pain is like no other! Okay, I may be exaggerating ... how quickly we forget childbirth, right?! But just like childbirth, it will be over and your world will be normal again and nursing will be a wonderful calming experience.
I'm a firm believer that when I get mastitis, it's my bodies way of saying, "Take it easy!". The times that I have gotten it is when I'm trying to balance too many things and I've been running around like crazy. This throws my milk supply off and then my feeding aren't as regular ... all a recipe for mastitis!
Clogged Duct + No Rest = Mastitis
- Stay regular: Your body gets used to when and how much your baby wants to eat. It you start changing it up too much, there can be milk leftover and
- Make sure you have a good latch: If you're baby doesn't latch well, they will think they are finished on that side because they can't get anymore out when really there is milk waiting to be had!
- Drink plenty of water: This is good advice for life but when you're in charge of hydrating yourself as well as another person, it takes a lot of water!
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting bras: Bras and clothing that is too tight can but off flow.
- Lecithin: It helps thin out your milk so that your milk ducts won't clog. I have a friend that has had recurring clogged ducts and she takes this daily as a prevention and has been free from clogged ducts ever since! You can take it in pill form, as a dietary supplement. If you're not a fan of supplements, there is natural lechithin in egg yolks so start having more eggs.
- Rest, rest rest and nurse, nurse, nurse! Throw all rules aside of only feeding your baby every few hours or start with one side than the other side, etc. For a day or two, just lay around and nurse whenever your baby will let you.
- Vitamin C: Whenever you are fighting an infection, an extra boost of Vitamin C is needed to keep up your immune system.
- Fresh garlic: Helps kick the infection. Garlic pills are not the same as raw garlic! Luckily, I love garlic, but if it's a bit much for you, slice it instead of mincing it ... it won't have as much of a 'bite'. Put your garlic slices on some bread and cream cheese or a tomato slice and take it down!
- Massage: When I am nursing, I will always rub the spot where my lump is to help flow.
- Hot showers: This helps relieve the pain as well as helps your milk flow.
- Cabbage leaves: USE WITH CAUTION! This is one that I have never done because too much cabbage leaves can dry up your milk supply. However, many will put cold cabbage leaves on to help relieve the pain and help your milk flow. They say to do this for only 30 minutes at a time and not longer than 4 times a day.
In my cases, I usually have a rough 2 days and the last day is a painful lump that will go away the next day. However, this is me and everyone is different. Mastitis is very serious and can lead to more serious problems. Natural remedies do not work for everyone so consult your physician for any concerns. I am far from a doctor but these are things that have worked for me and I hope they work for you!