DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician or health care professional. This information is based on experience and the instructions I received from my midwife. I was able to clear both of my episodes of Mastitis using this protocol. You can always consult with your healthcare provider.
It didn't occur to me, once I was nursing with some success, that there could be bumps in the road, or in this case, lumps in the boobs. Until, when Phoenix was 10 days old, I spiked a high fever, started feeling searing pain in my left breast, and heightened anxiety. The symptoms came on in less than an hour. I developed my first case of Mastitis, and it traveled to my other breast within 4 hours.
I had another onset at 4 months, and it was more intense than the first, though treated faster because I knew what we were dealing with.
My sister's third baby is 6 weeks old, and she just had her first infection. She's never had a breast infection with either of her other kids. Her situation convinced me to write this up, for the few of you who may deal with this or have friends and sisters who might at some point. It's a very treatable condition, but the symptoms are hella intense, especially for a mom recovering from delivery, and the best help for it is to be informed and equipped to treat this sucker quick if the need arises.
What it is
Any inflammation in the breast—an obstruction, infection, or allergic reaction. Usually, a lump or tender spot can be felt. Symptoms include a high fever (101.3° F or higher) and flu-like symptoms. The affected breast is also usually sore, tender, inflamed, or burning. The infection CANNOT harm the baby, but it may affect milk consistency and taste so the baby may notice. It is important to continue nursing during the infection.
The best defense
Rest and appropriate postpartum protocol are recommended to help avoid infections like this. Nursing often enough (every 2-3 hours) and completely emptying the breast during feedings help avoid clogged milk ducts. Infection can be avoided with proper rest and nutrition (not lifting more weight than the baby, avoiding rigorous workouts, lots of stairs, or going long distances, drinking lots of fluids, etc.), and avoiding stress and anxiety.
Note: this is a natural treatment plan without antibiotic. It is recommended to do the full regimen until symptoms cease. I highly recommend having a partner, friend, or parent on call to assist and support you with the treatment, and caring for you and your baby until the infection clears.
- Stay in bed with baby, or have baby brought to you.
- Drink lots of fluids and eat well and often.
- Continue to nurse! Nurse on the affected side first to completely empty the breast, and massage the breast toward the nipple during and between feedings to help clear any clogged ducts.
- Use hot and cold compresses for comfort and to reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Put cold red cabbage leaves on bare breasts until they warm/wilt.
- Apply Melrose oil (1-2 drops in a dime size amount of carrier oil) to swollen or tender area of breast.
- Take these supplements until the infection has cleared:
- Echinacea (400mg twice a day)
- Oregano Oil (400mg twice a day)
- Vitamin C (200mg every 4-5 hours)
I sincerely hope you and your gals never have to deal with Mastitis, but if you do, I hope this helps. Cheers to healthy boobies and easy nursing!