Recently we covered an article on clogged milk ducts– a condition that commonly affects nursing mothers. Today, we will study some home remedies to get rid of mastitis, also known as breast abscess, a condition that arises due to clogged or plugged milk ducts. Before we study natural mastitis treatment, let us determine its causes.
Causes and symptoms of mastitis
- Improper latching
- Oversupply or gaps in feeding
- Not breastfeeding adequately
- Use of improperly fitting bra
- Low immunity
All these factors can give rise to infection characterized by pain, fever, fatigue, shivers etc. The condition, if not treated immediately could require antibiotics for resolution and, in some extreme cases, may even lead you to the emergency room. The best thing to avoid further complications is to continue nursing and also perform breast pumping. So if you are wondering if you should pump with mastitis, the answer is yes. Breast pumping will help eliminate clogged milk ducts and reduce pain.
Here are the home remedies for getting rid of mastitis whether or not you are breastfeeding:
1. Get adequate rest
Rest strengthens your body and helps it fight the infection. So try to rest as much as you can. This will give your immune system a fighting chance. If you are nursing the baby, give it to a loved one for a while so you can allow your body to heal.
2. Massage and heat
Massage your breasts regularly and also apply a warm compress. You can use a hot water bottle on the painful areas. If you have a hard lump, use your fingers to gently dissolve them. You can also do a self massage in the shower.
3. Supplements and diet
A diet rich in Vitamin C is an important mastitis treatment when not breastfeeding (or even if nursing the baby). You can also take soy lecithin tablets as many mums have benefitted from their use especially when suffering recurrently from blocked ducts. Make sure you drink tons of water. Garlic is an antiviral and eating plenty of it can provide you with natural antibiotic properties. Make sure you eat it raw for it to work as antibiotic. The best way to eat garlic for mastitis is to crush 4-5 cloves and leave them for a bit to oxidize. You can disguise its acrid taste by adding it to smoothies, salads etc. Eat a lot of pineapple as well. Its bromelain and other inflammation fighting enzymes reduce pain and boost the immune system.
4. Castor oil
Heat up some castor oil and apply it on the infected breast abscess. This is one of the most effective home remedies to get rid of mastitis.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar mastitis treatment is one of the best natural remedies to get rid of breast abscess. Take a tablespoon of organic ACV in a glass of water and drink this 2-3 times a day. This remedy softens hardened milk ducts and increases milk flow.
6. Baking soda
Mix up ½ teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar. Add the mixture to a glass of water and drink this 3-4 times a day. This simple recipe will get rid of inflammation, soreness and congestion and even help you get rid of flu, shivers and other symptoms of mastitis.
7. Chaga mushroom cream
Massage chaga mushroom cream on the infected breast to immediately get rid of pain, inflammation and soreness. Use it regularly to unplug clogged milk ducts.
8. Essential oils for mastitis
Many essential oils for mastitis relieve the pain, infection and soreness and increase the milk flow. Always use essential oils for mastitis externally/topically-never take them internally. The best essential oils for mastitis are peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil as they act as analgesics to stop the pain. Never use concentrated oils directly on the breast-mix them up with some warm olive oil or castor oil and then massage onto the infected areas of the breast. If you plan to breastfeed baby, wipe off the oil first.
9. Cabbage leaf for mastitis and breast abscess
Cabbage leaves act as a cool compress when you wrap the inflamed breast in them. Apply clean cabbage leaf on the infected area to get rid of engorgement and swelling. Wash the leaves and leave them in the refrigerator for a few hours. Apply the chilled leaves to breasts between nursing. Use this remedy with caution since it can reduce milk supply.
Apart from these home remedies to get rid of mastitis, you must also train the baby to latch properly. Make sure you change its position often while nursing so that the milk flow is not restricted. Always use firm and supportive bras and ensure that your clothes are not too constrictive as they may cause clogged milk ducts.