Mastitis is the blockage of one or more of the glands which produce the milk. It is generally caused by inflammation of the mammary gland ducts. The milk flow is lessened and the breast may become engorged with breast milk.
This can be a frustrating complaint for new mothers and it requires special attention and perseverance to alleviate. The infant may become impatient when trying to feed and the mother may become affected emotionally due to feelings of defeat, pain or tiredness. Many women have experienced great results with the below suggestions, however this is a sensitive time for any new mother and baby, however often it is a complaint which resolves itself quickly.
If these symptoms persist please see a Healthcare professional. The information provided is general advice of one possible cause and treatment of the symptoms described. This is not a diagnosis and if these symptoms persist please see a Healthcare professional.
SYMPTOMS OF MASTITIS
- A section of the breast becoming swollen, throbbing, painful and with the skin feeling hot, tender or reddened.
- Weakness, lethargy, aching all over – flu like symptoms
- Headache, fever, chills, shivers, sweats and a raised temperature
DIET TIPS FOR MASTITIS
- Ensure that you are properly hydrated to again encourage the flow of milk and reduce the inflammation
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine as these can affect breast milk production by dehydrating you
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR MASTITIS
- Ensure that you are getting enough rest and sleep so that you are better able to cope
- Express milk if you are producing a large amount, this ensures that milk continues to flow and does not engorge the breast
- Move the positioning of the baby often or hold them with their body under your arm, vertical, cradling them or at a different angle as this helps them to drain other ducts rather than the same one over and over
- Apply heat packs to the affected area or massage while in the shower
- Get the baby to feed from the breast which is most sore first and completely drain it if you can before moving on to the other breast and also switch the breasts which you first feed with. A breast pump may be also used to help completely empty the breast
- Where the baby is positioned and you are experiencing pain while in this position, they will be looking at the block duct so this lets you know which one is inflamed and if you reposition the baby they will draw milk from another gland
- Do not wait until the breasts are overfull to begin breast feeding
- Ask for health from your midwife, doula or doctor if you are experiencing grief about the situation or you simply need to talk about breast feeding complications
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR MASTITIS
- Some herbs which have a galactagogue effect to encourage the production and flow of milk and reducing the blockage are fennel, fenugreek, raspberry leaf, anise, blessed thistle
- Evening Primrose oil or fish oil are natural potent anti-inflammatory oil which provide important essential fatty acides for the health of you and your baby
- Make cabbage leaves into a poultice with slippery elm powder and apply it to the breast
- Massage ducts with some warm oil. Massage the breast 10 minutes prior to breastfeeding to encourage the flow of milk