Mastitis is a type of infection that occurs in the breast tissues, and those who have had it can relate to the pain and discomfort it causes. Mastitis can be avoided up to certain extent, yet one out of every 10 new moms have to deal with it. It commonly affects the breastfeeding mothers in the first three months after the delivery. The baby is too small to drink anything except breast milk and because of lack of awareness, some mother stop feeding from both or the infected breast. However, this is just one from many myths that are being circulated. It is safe to breastfeed during the infection because it will help in healing the infection. We will talk about how breastfeeding is safe in the coming sections, but the most important point here is how to treat mastitis. In the entire duration of pregnancy, you were told to avoid medicines as much as you can. And the same holds true for the time period your baby survives on your milk.
Motherhood is an ecstasy that you go through if you are really lucky. Yes, being a mother is proud moment, but following this feeling are challenges and responsibilities. Mastitis can also be viewed as the same challenge because taking antibiotics can not only be harmful for the mother, but it can also affect your baby. But, this doesn’t mean you sit idle and bear the pain. Yes, there are ways outside medicines, in fact, safer and much more effective ways of treating mastitis without affecting your health. We call these ways home remedies for mastitis. These are a set of natural products that you can probably get in your kitchen and all of them are safe since they carry no chemicals. Here we will tell you everything about mastitis, its symptoms, home remedies for mastitis and also some methods for preventing mastitis in future.
There is one obvious cause of mastitis- due to blocked milk duct which leads to infection. Another reason that is often observed in mastitis patients might be due to bacteria entering through the crack in the nipples. Apart from this, improper sleeping position and not taking proper fluids are some catalysts that add to the formation, but usually do not cause mastitis alone. Lactation mastitis affects only one breast and not both, so if you have pain and other such unusual conditions in both the breast, it is clear that it is not mastitis. Yes, it gets difficult for the lactating mother to take care of the newborn during the period of infection, but it is equally important to give your body complete rest. We will also tell you why it is important to have proper rest, and how this contributes of faster healing, but before that let us see some common symptoms of mastitis.
Symptoms of mastitis
Mastitis generally affects only one breast and in the breast affected with infection, you will feel drastic and sudden changes. If you figure out the blockage early, you can also get rid of it fast. And to identify mastitis, you must be clear about its symptoms. Have a look at all the possible symptoms of mastitis.
- There will be acute pain in the breast. This pain will increase further at the time of breast feeding. At this time you need to be patient and try changing the position.
- Swelling also would be seen on the infected breast. In fact, the lump which was once very small would appear to be the source of swelling. You would be able to see clear difference between the infected and uninfected breast.
- Inflammation will take charge on your entire body as a result of infection and some mother prefer taking anti inflammatory drugs to tackle this. But home remedies for mastitis have included some naturally occurring anti inflammatory products to assist you.
- The entire breast may turn red or the area around the swelling will become red. The more the swelling and pain will be, the more blood like red your breast will become. And this redness will subside with other symptoms.
- Tenderness in the breast due to swelling will not let you sleep with peace. High fever can also create trouble as the body might respond to the infection byraising its temperature.
These were all the symptoms of mastitis and being aware of them helps in early detection of problem. But apart from noticing these symptoms, you must check yourself from time to time. If you observe any persistent lump formed in any part of your breast, use the following home remedies for mastitis and don’t wait for the other symptoms. Regular self examination can prevent the lump of blockage from developing an infection. Breast is a very sensitive and sophisticated female organ and demands extra care.
You should keep a self check on the lump formation and any other issue with your breast as sometimes these small things make big health dangers like breast cancer. Light massage may give you an indication that you have some problem there. This is a part of your body which is very tender and hence requires much attention. If it is related to breast, it indeed is a sophisticated matter. The following home remedies for mastitis can help in reliving the pain and discomfort during mastitis.
Home Remedies For Mastitis
Massaging the affected breasts helps in unblocking the clogged milk ducts. You may not find it relevant at first sight, but in order to keep your breast perfectly healthy you should massage the area regularly. Simply by massaging the tissue to keep fluids moving and circulating within the breast, you can help to prevent toxins from building up. A big lump is not formed all of a sudden. By proper self examination, you can figure out the formation of blockage at an early stage. This early detection will help you take instant action and you will not have to bear much pain. If you feel any kind of tenderness in your breast, self examine for the presence of small lump. Give a firm but gentle massage every time you feed. If you can do it with your own hands, well and good as you know where exactly the affected area is; but if you can’t take your partner’s help, a free of cost home remedies for mastitis.
It is not a remedy alone, but to keep a check on whether any lumps have formed inside the breast or not, this massage is necessary. If you notice any lump which is consistent in size, you should not ignore it and get medical attention soon. To use massage as one of the home remedies for mastitis, you can use coconut oil to give a gentle massage to your breast at least once in a week. Natural oils such as apricot and wheat germ oil can also be used for massaging the breasts as they are safe for the baby. Also add few drops of camphor oil in two tablespoons of olive oil and massage in upward strokes. Handheld massagers are also available in market these days. If you regularly or frequently have the problem of blocked milk duct in your breast, you can purchase a good one for you. If you are doing it manually with hands, it should be done in circular motions from the outer breasts towards the nipples. It helps in reliving the swelling and pain in the breasts and eases breastfeeding. Doing this twice or thrice a day helps in alleviating the pain and swelling in the breasts. It is one of the best natural home remedies for mastitis.
Hot and Cold Compress
Using hot and cold compress on the breasts can relieve the pain during mastitis. Some find relief by only using hot compress, while others do them alternatively and get relief in pain. An effective natural home remedy for mastitis, cold compress reduces the pain and swelling in the affected breast while hot compress helps in clearing the milk duct and prevents clogging. It improves the blood circulation in the breast and helps in proper milk flow. Cover a hot water bottle with a thin towel making a hot compress and place it over the affected breast for at least 15 minutes. You might be fed up of applying heat to the tender skin of your breast, but trust me, nothing works like a hot compress. Also try to do it many times a day with mild heat rather than burning the skin with acutely heated water or cabbage leaf.
Immediately after this, wrap few ice cubes in a thin towel making cold compress and apply it on the breast for 5 minutes. Repeat this cycle few times until it feels better. If you are going only for hot compress, you can also have bath in hot water. Yes, treating mastitis with home remedies for mastitis can sometimes be as simple as taking a hot shower. Apart from applying heat directly, you can also try showering in hot water. Make sure the water is not lukewarm but hot. Do it as many time as you can and you will see relief every time you bath in hot water.
Garlic has natural antibiotics which help in curing all sorts of infections. It gets rid of the bacterial infection in the breast and promotes proper milk flow. Simply eat two to three cloves of garlic every morning on empty stomach for getting rid of any type of back pain. Some people add the cloves of garlic to their salad plate to eat it raw while other prefers eating the herb after cooking in soup or veggies. Whichever way you want to use, all the ways are effective home remedies for backache. Alternatively, eat 2-3 cloves of raw organic garlic on empty stomach followed by a glass of orange juice or plain water. It will naturally flush out the toxins and heal the infection and swelling in the breast. Garlic supplements are also available which can be taken only after medical prescription. But garlic in its natural form is works better than any supplements or processed forms.
Especially for breastfeeding mothers seeking help from nature, it is recommended you avoid any type of supplements and limit your treatment to home remedies for mastitis till it is possible. And I am sure once you start using these home remedies for mastitis, you will not need any other method of treatment.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a gift of nature that can be used against almost all health ailments, and mastitis also is not an exception. Apple cider vinegar is common, and you might have heard about it from your grandparents. They would describe the problem they were suffering from with all the elements of surprise and pain, and at last would tell you how apple cider vinegar helped them. Well, I am lucky enough to have a good story teller grandma (although sometimes I feel she makes her own stories, but it is real fun listening to them). Apple cider vinegar came from grandma’s stories and today it has a place in almost every food and health store.
You also might have it at home right now. If it is there, just drink apple cider vinegar after diluting in 3 parts of lukewarm water. Doing this flushes out the toxin and also acts against infection developing in any part of your body. Apple cider vinegar has been long used to combat sickness due to various reasons, allergies on skin and internal infections. So, it is also not difficult to trust it for the safety. Go ahead, start your morning with apple cider vinegar, and that might help you loosing the extra pounds you have gained during pregnancy.
Potato cold compress
We all eat potato in many forms, and I just love the taste, but we can use them in treatment of mastitis also. Potatoes are also home remedies for mastitis. But unfortunately eating potato chips is not going to help you in reducing the lumps. If it was so, I would have already eaten all the packets lying in my food cabinet. Jokes apart, we can also use potato as one of the home remedies for mastitis. Many women, including me and my mother, have found that using cold potato as one of the home remedies for mastitis can help relieve the pain associated with a tender and infected breast.
To use potatoes as home remedies for mastitis, simply refrigerate a potato for a few hours, and then grate some of the potato. Apply the grated potato over the affected breast and cover with a clean wash cloth or towel for 5 minutes while lying down. Repeat this every hour throughout the day using some freshly grated potato. The cold potato helps to reduce the heat from the inflammation, which may help to unplug the lumps present inside, making them more than effective as home remedies for mastitis.
Vitamin C is essential to cure the bacterial infections in the breast. It strengthens the immune system and makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive in the body, hence mastitis can become a thing of past with proper intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C can heal the existing lumps formed inside the breast and it may also prevent the problem from reoccurring, making them one of the most effective natural remedies for mastitis and other problems troubling feeding moms. All the citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are the best way to reduce inflammation in any part of your body. They are also said to boost the immunity so that you will not have the same problem again and again. It is also a great natural remedy for stress, which is a common cause of mastitis.
You should increase your daily intake of foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, green peppers, and broccoli. This is the best remedy as they are very refreshing and at the same time beneficial as well. So, mothers who are affected by mastitis must take lots of Vitamin-C rich fruits and vegetables. Supplements for the same can also be taken after consulting a physician.
With the help of home remedies for mastitis, your life can become easier and your child too will be happy. But one mistake that most of the breastfeeding mothers often do is they stop feeding their babies thinking that the infection may pass onto the child. However, it is important for nursing mothers to constantly breastfeed the newborn child as it is helpful in the treatment. Breastfeeding your baby with mastitis can be uncomfortable for you, but for the child it is not at all going to be harmful. In fact, it is recommended you breastfeed the baby from all different position as continuous sucking might unclog the blocked pores and also prevent the accumulation of milk. If you are worried about the infection getting transferred to the baby, don’t panic as breast milk contain so many antibacterial elements that even if something goes inside it, it is going to be killed before reaching your child.
This is why it is recommended you breast feed your baby in any condition. Continuously feeding your baby can itself prevent the clogging of milk ducts and infections like mastitis. This was the first and foremost instruction every mother and expecting mother should note. Apart from this, another very common mistake that all the moms do it compromising with their comfort and rest. I know once you become a mother, you have so many responsibilities. But you should have complete rest. Relaxing is important from the point of view of recovering, and also preventing infections like mastitis. And in case you already have developed the infection, in that case you need to take extra care.
So, sleep well whenever you baby allows, if not at night, during daytime. And also be careful about your food. Specifically, measure the amount of fluids that are going into your body every day. Staying hydrated is the key to avoid not only mastitis but several other complications during motherhood. If you are infected with mastitis, follow the above stated home remedies for mastitis, but in case you are a curious mother who does not want this problem to occur in future, you can prevent it too. This is unfortunate that despite the fact that mastitis is preventable, so many mothers have to go through the tough times. Yes, preventing future breast infections is possible, but for that you have to take good care of a few things. Nutritious diet and plenty of fluids are the very first factors that contribute to the prevention of the painful condition. Parsley, cucumbers, and cabbage are healthy for you and will keep you naturally flushed. If meat needs to be on the menu, purchase hormone-free meats and poultry at a health food store. These simple diet changes help you as they are home remedies for mastitis.
And the second precaution to be taken is to be specific about the type of bra you wear. It should not be the case to go with any bra when you shop for it. Devote some time and attention towards choosing the right bra that fits you the most. First thing to do is to be sure about your size. If you keep on wearing tight bra, it will restrict your breast from growing and as a result the lymphatic fluid will also not move freely. Due to all this some type of toxins may find their way to develop, which can be dangerous for your health. Wearing a loose one is also equally harmful. It will make your breast look saggy. So, just take one that precisely fits you. If you do not have any comfort issue, go for cotton bra. Wearing an ill fitted or bad quality bra can have complicated results in normal conditions, but when you are breast feeding, the outcomes of this negligence can be drastic.
So, try wearing well-fitted and good quality bras. Breast-feed your infant frequently to keep milk ducts from plugging, and keep a watch on the sleeping postures as sometimes sleeping in the wrong position can lead to blockage. And this blockage can convert into infection like mastitis. Apart from this carrying heavy items over your shoulders can also lead to mastitis. So, avoid what can cause the infection, and try to deal with it using home remedies for mastitis. It is best for both- the mother as well as the baby.