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Breastfeeding and Mastitis @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Mastitis is an infection that nursing mothers can develop in the breast. It is an infection of the milk ducts. Women who have diabetes are 13 times more likely to be affected by mastitis that women who are not diabetic. Mastitis is caused by either the staph bacteria or candida (yeast).

Symptoms of mastitis are easy to recognize. A painful lump can usually be felt in the breast with red or pink streaks around the area. The inflammation is caused by the infected milk duct. Nursing can be painful, but it is essential that breastfeeding continue.

It is important to empty the infected breast at every feeding, so it may be necessary to begin nursing on that side first each time you nurse. Other symptoms can include fever, achiness, joint pain, flu-like symptoms, yellow puss like secretions from the breast, and even nausea and vomiting.

The only time nursing should be discontinued during mastitis is if an abscess occurs. This could harm the baby.

If you go to the doctor for Mastitis, antibiotics are used to treat the infection. You can treat yourself at home as long as you feel comfortable with the idea. If after 3 or 4 days you have not improved, you may wish to see a doctor. Taking antibiotics can cause yeast infection in both the mother and/or baby. If you take antibiotics be sure to watch for signs or yeast infection.

Natural Home Remedies for Mastitis:

  1. Do not wear a bra.
  2. Nurse frequently (every two hours or more), beginning with the affected breast each time.
  3. Soak the inflamed breast in a hot tub of water. If you do not have a tub run the infected breast under hot water in the shower.
  4. While in the tub massage the breast as firmly as you can stand. This can be uncomfortable or painful, but it is very important. Place fingers on the inflamed area and massage outward toward the nipple, repeatedly, several times a day.
  5. Drink lots of water.
  6. Allow your fever to rise without taking medications unless the fever reaches higher than 104 °. This may seem strange, but fever is actually a signal that your body is fighting the bacteria. The higher your fever, the faster your immune system can act.

Herbs for Treating Mastitis:

  1. Aloe Vera Gel – Apply fresh gel to inflamed area.
  2. Calendula Cream – Apply to sore nipples after every feeding.
  3. Marshmallow Root – Put 2 Tbl. of powdered marchmallow root in 1 quart of boiling water and allow to steep over night. Add the marshmallow tea to a sink full of water and massage the breasts in the water. Or add to a shallow bath of hot water and massage the breasts while immersed in the water. Marshmallow Root can help to relieve pain.

My story …
I have had Mastitis on 5 different occasions. I have never seen a doctor and have always treated myself at home with the above remedies. The worst case I have had was after Hannah was born and she was a few weeks old. My fever reached 106 ° and I had fever for two days. I was in a lot of pain and was quite miserable. But I knew it would pass and breastfeeding for me is definitely worth it! Not every case of mastitis will be so severe. I have had very mild cases, where I did not have a fever. I treated myself with the hydrotherpy and frequent nursing. These treatments really do work!

**The ideas on this page are for information only.**
**Please consult your doctor or Midwife if you have questions about your nutrition, your health, or before changing your diet.**

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