*Affiliate links may be in this post. I may receive commission from any purchases made by click on links in this post.
Mastitis is not fun, let me tell you.
Mastitis commonly occurs in the first six-week to twelve-weeks of your baby’s life when the two of you are still getting a hang of this whole breastfeeding thing. However, it can happen at any time during your breastfeeding journey.
I got Mastitis when my daughter was nine months old. It was during the holidays, and I was pretty much asking for it.
What is Mastitis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue. Your breast becomes swollen and inflamed. It also may be warm to the touch and produce redness.
Though mastitis can affect women who aren’t breastfeeding, it most commonly occurs in women who do. As mentioned above, common symptoms include tenderness, warm to the touch, and breast swelling. Other symptoms are pain while nursing, fever, and flu-like symptoms such as feeling run-down.
Causes of Mastitis
The most common cause of mastitis is a blocked milk duct. Blocked milk ducts inhibit your breast from fully emptying during a feeding session.
When milk is left in the breast repeatedly, it will start to back-up and created a blockage. This blockage then leads to an infection and mastitis if not treated right away.
Women put themselves at risk for mastitis by only using one position to breastfeed, eating poorly, not getting proper rest and having a lot of stress, and wearing a tightly fitting bra.
Other than the tight-fitting bra I was guilty of committing all the risk factors. I slacked on my nutrition, I walked around in constant state of exhaustion, and I stressed about all things I needed to do and the sleep I wasn’t getting.
It started with a blocked milk duct, so I began using the techniques I normally do to remove the blockage. I nursed my daughter in different holds, but the blocked duct was stubborn. Next, I developed flu-like symptoms and ached all over. I was aware of every bone and joint in my body.
That’s when I noticed the redness and how it was warm to the touch, and I realized I didn’t have the flu. I had mastitis.
Steps I Took to Heal Mastitis Without an Antibiotic
I want to stress I am not a medical professional, and you should always contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
However, many doctors are quick to prescribe antibiotics. Too quick, in my opinion. I avoid antibiotics as much as possible. I truly believe out bodies have the ability to heal themselves with the right support, and that support already exists in nature. We just have to know how to harness what is already there.
So here’s what I did…
Nurse, Nurse, Nurse
I nursed my daughter like crazy on my infected breast (there’s no danger to your child from drinking milk from the breast with mastitis). Every feeding session with my daughter was from my breast with mastitis. Nursing helps to remove the blockage and get milk flowing properly. Then when that session was over I pumped milk from my other breast to make sure I didn’t damage the milk production that one.
You should always nurse your baby on the infected breast instead on just pumping it, because your baby will drain your boob more effectively than the pump.
Related Post: 11 Breastfeeding Hacks to Make Life Easier as a New Mom
Take Warm Showers
Before nursing sessions I would hop in the shower. I turned the water as hot as possible and stand in there for at least five minutes with the water falling directly on the red area of my breast.
Warm showers help to loosen up the blockage and makes it easier for your baby to suck the milk from that area.
Massage the Blocked Area
As I nursed my daughter I massaged the blocked area. Massaging the blockage is not the most fun, and can be uncomfortable. However, you want to massage that blockage as hard as possible. Just like a knot in your muscles, you want to break that thing down and free it up.
Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
I drank apple cider vinegar multiple times a day. Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-inflammatory properties and will aid with reducing the inflammation of the breast.
The best way to consume apple cider vinegar is by adding a tablespoon to eight ounces of hot water. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for taste and added benefits.
Rest, Rest, Rest
Mastitis is your body’s way of telling you you’re doing too much. You need to rest. This is not the time to try cleaning the house or making sure you get your workout in. You should be in bed as much as possible. Allow your body to focus only on healing itself.
Enable those around you to help with any of your daily duties.
Related Post: 14 Pumping Hacks that Change the Game
Consume Vitamin C
I truly believe Vitamin C does not get the recognition it deserves. You can heal so many things (including cancer, read more about that here from one of my favorite nutrition guys and naturally fought cancer survivors, Chris from chrisbeatcancer.com) with high doses of Vitamin C. I’m talking way over the daily recommend dosage. Did you know the daily recommend dosage for adults is the bare minimum you need to consume to not get scurvy? That means if you are only consuming the daily recommend dosage, you aren’t providing your body with enough to support your immune system to fight off other ailments.
I recommend this brand of Vitamin C you can buy from Amazon.
Most Importantly, Eat Raw Garlic
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. According to Dr. Josh Axe, garlic has been proven to kill thousands of microorganisms that cause some of the most common and nastiest infections.
However, it is important to eat it raw. Cooking garlic deactivates some if its infection fighting power. Luckily for me I love garlic, so eating it raw wasn’t extremely difficult.
I ate about two cloves of garlic a day. I took small bites, chewed a couple of times, and swallowed it down with organic orange juice. Other women have had success mincing a couple of cloves and adding it on top of toast with peanut butter.
Do this for seven to 10 days, even if your mastitis heals sooner.
After implementing this healing plan, my mastitis cleared up in about three days.
Have you had mastitis? How did you treat it?
You May Also Like: How I Naturally and Successfully Treated My PCOS