Naturally Alleviating Mastitis: What You Need to Know to Keep Breasts Happy & Healthy During Breastfeeding

by | Sep 5, 2023 | ANFD, Emotional Pillar, Environmental Pillar, Nutritional Pillar

Motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with countless joys, but can also arrive with its fair share of challenges. One of these many breastfeeding mothers may encounter is mastitis. Mastitis is a painful condition that can make breastfeeding a daunting task. However, fear not, dear moms! In this blog post, we will explore what mastitis is, its causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options, all tailored to the busy life of a mom.
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast tissue that accompanies breast pain, swelling, warmth, redness, and even flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and fatigue. Mastitis occurs when a milk duct becomes blocked, and milk builds up behind the blockage, causing infection and inflammation.
Causes of Mastitis:
  1. Blocked Milk Ducts: A blocked milk duct is the most common cause of mastitis. This blockage can occur due to improper latching, infrequent breastfeeding, wearing tight-fitting bras that compress the milk ducts, or just being a new mom.
  2. Bacterial Infection: Sometimes, bacteria can enter the breast tissue through a cracked or sore nipple, leading to an infection that results in mastitis.
  3. Stress and Fatigue: Moms often juggle multiple responsibilities, and stress and fatigue can weaken the immune system, making them more susceptible to mastitis.
  4. Infrequent Breastfeeding or Pumping: Long gaps between breastfeeding sessions can cause milk to accumulate in the breast, increasing the risk of mastitis.
  5. Engorgement: Excessive accumulation of milk in the breast can lead to engorgement, increasing the risk of mastitis.
  6. Tongue Ties These can lead to cracked nipples, contribute to ineffective milk removal, and lead to mastitis.
Recognizing the Symptoms:
As a busy mom, it’s essential to recognize the early symptoms of mastitis to seek treatment promptly. Look out for:
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • A warm and swollen breast
  • Redness on the breast
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills
  • Fatigue
But it’s important to note that regardless of the experiences or symptoms listed above, a mother with a weakened immune system or high inflammatory response will usually be more prone to mastitis. New mothers must maintain a nutrient-dense, gluten-free, and, often, dairy-free diet. I’ve seen many moms go off of their eating habits because their friends and family bring food and suddenly get sick and develop mastitis. Now is not the time to cheat! 
From an energetic perspective, it’s also crucial to consider that mastitis is manifested to remind you to slow down in the early weeks of postpartum. Are you pushing through to get one more (or 20) things done? Crawl back into the bed and concentrate on your baby and your healing.
Fortunately, several options which don’t involve pharmaceuticals or antibiotics which can negatively impact breastfeeding and the integrity of breast milk.
  1. Proper Latch: Ensure your baby latches onto your breast correctly to avoid milk duct blockages. The bottom and top lip should be rolled up so that the inside of the lips are touching your breast.
  2. Frequent Feeding: Breastfeed your baby frequently to prevent milk from accumulating in your breasts. Continue as much as possible on the infected breast. Feeding on the breast is entirely safe for your child.
  3. Nursing Bras: Invest in comfortable, well-fitting nursing bras that don’t compress your breasts excessively or go braless. Especially if you have to go back to work early – I’ve seen moms develop mastitis shortly after returning to work due to bra size and lack of pumping.
  4. Massage: Gently massaging the breast toward the nipple during feeds can also help unblock the milk duct.
  5. Pump or Hand Express: If your baby cannot nurse properly due to the pain, pump or hand express your milk to maintain your milk supply.
  6. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: A well-balanced diet and staying hydrated can help boost your immunity. Bone broth would be a great option!
  7. Manage Stress: Incorporate daily relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation to reduce stress. Being a new mom is hard, even if this is your second or third time.
  8. Adequate Rest: Prioritize rest and sleep whenever possible. It’s easier said than done, but essential for overall health. If the baby sleeps, you sleep.
  9. Probiotics: Consider taking probiotics to maintain a healthy gut flora, which can bolster your immune system.
  10. Cabbage Leaves and Warm Compresses are some of the most accessible treatments!!! Alternate Warm Compresses and cold (cabbage leaf) on infected breast/ducts. Yes, wrap your breast in the cabbage leaf and rest. Change when the cabbage is wilted, or the hot pack is cool every few hours.
  11. For fevers and Chills: take 6 Congaplex every few hours; this is a great immunity-boosting food-based supplement.
  12. Homeopathics: Belladonna works well in the initial stage of breast inflammation, especially if there is a fever or the pain worsens when lying down. Weaning is another solid indication for the use of Belladonna. OR Bryonia for when the breasts are stony, hard, hot, swollen, and highly painful.

The Importance of Self-Care:

As a new mom, putting your family’s needs above your own is easy. However, it’s vital to remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. Mastitis can be challenging, but you can overcome it with the proper support and self-care by finding a way to rest and slow down. Many feel better within 18-24 hours by sleeping and nursing as much as possible. But if that’s not the case, feel free to do one of the following or all of them!
  1. Seek Help: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, or a lactation consultant if you’re struggling with breastfeeding or mastitis.
  2. Rest When You Can: Whenever you have a moment to rest, take it. Your body needs it to heal.
  3. Stay Positive: This won’t last forever. Mindset can go a long way in the healing process. Remember that mastitis is a temporary setback. If you find you are slipping more and more into a negative mood, get Olprima DHA/EPA and take six daily, if not better in 2-3 days, It’s time to ask a trustworthy friend or family for help.
  4. Connect with Other Moms: Joining a local or online support group for breastfeeding moms can provide you with valuable advice, encouragement, and camaraderie.
In conclusion, mastitis is a challenging condition affecting any breastfeeding mom, including experienced ones. However, you can reduce your risk of developing mastitis by understanding its causes, recognizing the symptoms, and implementing prevention strategies. If it does occur, don’t hesitate to seek help and follow the treatment options outlined above. Remember, you’re doing an incredible job as a mom, and taking care of yourself is essential to that journey. Stay healthy, and keep rocking motherhood!

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