By Jacki, Contributing Writer
Mastitis is an infection of the breast usually caused by a plugged duct that bacteria gets into, sometimes through cracked nipples. Without treatment it can lead to an abscess in the breast that will need more serious intervention.
Symptoms of mastitis include:
- Red sore spot on breast, sometimes streaking out from a spot
- Other flu-like symptoms
I got mastitis with my first baby and my fever climbed to 105.3. I ended up in the hospital for a few days. When you are dealing with mastitis for the first time, it is wise to visit your practitioner to get a diagnosis. Once you get it once you can be prone to get it again and, more likely than not, you will be well aware of what this soreness is (or can lead to).
Many times, mothers who find themselves with mastitis can also find themselves very active and overtired, struggling with drinking enough fluids or keeping up a healthy diet. As plugged ducts can come from too tight of clothing, it is important to wear properly fitting nursing bras (and avoid underwires if you can).
5 Ways to Treat Mastitis Naturally
Try these 5 tips to treat mastitis naturally! Make sure to start at the first sign of pain or soreness in your breast, to hopefully head off full-blown mastitis!
Let yourself nap with your baby or at least put your feet up when your little one is napping. Try not to rush through nursing and let your baby fully empty the breast.
Increase your water intake. This can also include herbal teas, which we will talk about later in this post.
3) Eat Well
A healthy diet is important for everyone. Bone broths are especially nourishing.
4) Drain the Breast
As mentioned previously, make sure your little one drains the milk out of your breast. This will help to get the infection out. Try changing positions each time, massaging the breast as your little one nurses.
Getting in the bath or shower and massaging the breasts also helps to get all the milk out.
5) Use Herbs
When you feel that characteristic soreness of mastitis coming on, start taking an echinacea (echinacea spp) tincture every 1-2 hours. This is going to boost your immune system to help fight your infection. Garlic is also a wonderful antibacterial herb, you can take a whole clove in applesauce (don’t chew unless you like raw garlic) 3 times a day.
On the breast, you can use a poultice or compress of calendula (Calendula officinalis) and echinacea (Echinacea spp) several times during the day. Calendula is anti-inflammatory and Echinacea is antibacterial and antimicrobial. Aviva Romm recommends a freshly grated raw white potato poultice for 20 minutes, 3 times a day.
To help with other flu-like symptoms (like fever), enjoy an herbal tea with Elder (Sambucus nigra) flower, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), and Catnip (Nepeta cataria). You can drink this several times during the day. You can also add Echinacea to the tea if you choose not to use a tincture, or don’t have a tincture.
Keep these remedies up for 24 hours AFTER everything seems back to normal. No fever, no soreness (you may have some residual soreness), no redness.