Breastfeeding is the most amazing experience for a new mother.
However, mastitis is one of the most painful things that a new mother experiences.
Ask any new mother, and she will share this unpleasant experience. So what exactly is Mastitis?
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is a painful swelling caused due to clotting of milk ducts.
It is an infection in the breast that may cause swelling, lumpiness, pain, and enlargement of the breasts. In some cases, breasts harden and turn red.
Symptoms of Mastitis
Below are few symptoms of Mastitis:
- Discomfort while breastfeeding
- Swollen skin and redness
- Fever, or feeling of sickness
- Hard lumps in the breast
- Tenderness in breast
- Warm breast
Causes of Mastitis
Below are the reasons for the occurrence of Mastitis:
- Improper latching or poor milk drainage
- Interrupted feeding where the baby doesn’t suck consecutively
- Use of improper clothing
- Kong intervals between feeding
- Infection due to cracked or bleeding nipples
- Local allergies cause inflammation in breasts
How to prevent Mastitis?
It is important to breastfeed at regular intervals to avoid milk clotting in the duct.
In case your child doesn’t want to be fed, pump the excess milk to enhance proper drainage of milk.
Poor drainage or improper latching causes milk clotting and is the main cause of mastitis.
Wear comfortable clothes
For a lactating mother, it is important to wear comfortable innerwear.
Avoid wearing underwear, bras or tight clothes that press against the breast.
The moment you feel soreness in the breast or any spot forming, stop and lie down instantly.
Get rest for at least 24 hours to reduce any symptoms of Mastitis.
Rest is an important step towards preventing Mastitis.
Eat a healthy and nourishing diet for proper lactate drainage.
A new mother must consume pulses and beans for adequate protein.
Make sure that the baby is having a good latch while sucking.
Evaluate tongue tie when there is an issue like swelling or pain.
Take a hot shower
When you see the first symptoms of mastitis, take a hot shower or massage the area.
It helps to soften the clotted duct and tenders the breast.
Applying heat using hot compress method is a good option to ease out clotting.
Switch sides while nursing
Make it a point to keep switching breasts while nursing.
Ensure that both sides get equal nursing and the baby gets better nutritious milk.
It is also important to note that when baby finishes sucking from one breast, then only switch to the other.
It will help to drain out the creamy milk, and there will be no issues of milk clotting.
When the problem becomes severe
The above preventive methods are quite useful if you suffer from minor Mastitis.
However, if the problem becomes severe and the symptoms of flu persist, you may try these natural home remedies;
There is no better antibiotic than garlic.
Garlic is the most effective stimulating agent with strong antibacterial properties.
In case of severe infections, eat 2 to 3 raw garlic every day.
The poke root is one of the popular traditional methods of curing Mastitis.
The herb is specifically used by the Native Indians to ease breast pain.
Poke root are rich in antibacterial properties and stimulate the lymph system.
It clears out the infection by stimulating proper drainage of milk from the duct.
The poke roots act efficiently when it is given in tincture form. 2 drops a day is sufficient to cure the breast infection.
Popularly known as Susan weeds, it is a wonderful immune booster.
It is recommended to use approx. 65 drops for 120 lb woman. The dose can be used up to 12 times a day for effective results.
When you see the first sign of Mastitis, use cabbage leaves for treatment.
Women usually use cabbage leaves for engorgement when the lactation begins.
Cabbage leaves are an effective treatment for infection.
To cure the infection, place a cool cabbage leaf on your breast and cover it properly with a cotton bra.
Leave the cabbage leaves for one or two hours and then remove. You can continue the process at regular intervals.
Using the leaves continuously may, however, affect the milk supply and have an adverse effect.
Heat compress is undoubtedly the best method for curing the infection.
Using Poultice herbs for hot compress makes the process effective. It encourages healing of infection.
Use poultice herbs like rosemary, dandelion, marshmallow roots, Comfrey.
Boil the herbs in hot water and use cloth for compress. Take Poultice compression for 5 to 10 minutes at least 5 times a day.
Fenugreek seed poultice
Fenugreek is also one of the effective antibacterial remedies for Mastitis infection.
Grind fenugreek into fine powder and mix with hot water to make a thick paste.
Cool it down and spread on a sterilized cloth. Cover the affected area for instant relief.
Eat Vitamin C rich food
Vitamin C is highly effective in curing breast infection. Eat food that is rich in Vitamin C to prevent any symptoms of Mastitis.
Coconut oil is rich in antibacterial properties and popularly known as the best antifungal.
Apply coconut oil to your nipple in frequent intervals to lessen the cracks in the nipple.
Coconut oil is cheaper and does not taste bad for the babies.
However, remember to use edible and fragrant coconut oil that is used for hair massage.
Visit the Doctor
All the above natural remedies are known to provide instant relief to you, if you are a nursing mother.
However, you might need to visit the doctor when you face the below symptoms:
- Mastitis has affected both breasts
- You are 2-week old mother and still in the hospital.
- There is broken skin on the nipple and signs of severe infection
- High fever
- Severe symptoms of Mastitis
Mastitis can get severe if you do not take action with the very first sight of the infection itself.
Though the above natural remedies are helpful in curing Mastitis, you must consult the doctor immediately if the problem persists for more than 48 hours.
Always remember that prevention is better than cure. Thus, take care of all the preventive measures to remain safe from infection. Happy nursing!