So for the 2 years that I have been breastfeeding Everson, I have never had mastitis! However, once Kaiverly was born I got clogged ducts twice and a bad, long case of Mastitis within the first 6 months. It is just a hassle when you are taking care of a little baby to be in pain from Mastitis. I had clogged ducts once with Everson, is kind of like the precursor to mastitis. With him I was so scared to get Mastitis I tried everything to prevent clogged ducts from turning into mastitis. I worked so hard to try to cure it naturally because I did not want it to turn into mastitis or have to take antibiotics because
1. I just don’t like taking medicine
2. Taking antibiotics increases the chance that you & the baby can get thrush (a yeast infection of the mouth or breast)
And I did not want anything to get in my way of feeding this baby every single feeding without any bottles. (Looking back- it was a little dramatic and I definitely don’t feel the same this time around but hey I was a first time mama and I was determined to stick to my goal of exclusively breastfeeding)
Anyway, so the typical symptoms I would get for a clogged duct is (in no particular order)
- Sore, tender spot in one (or both) of my breast
So basically like flu symptoms but they come on super fast and out of nowhere. The first time this happened I did not know what was going on and it completely kicked my butt. My mom had to come pick the baby and I up to take care of us the whole day. But I researched it, talked to my doctor and was determined to kick it before I had to start antibiotics. So here are my personal tips that helped me get better asap!
- 1. I increased my fluids and was drinking all the time. Mostly WATER & PINEAPPLE JUICE (because it helps with inflammation) but some Gatorade or Pedialyte to switch it up
- 2. Massaged my breast with COCONUT OIL for 5 minutes (it is going to be tender but you have to get in there especially on the knot, working all the way to the armpit- you want to work that milk out) The coconut oil is also good for cracked nipples & safe for babies!! It is my favorite fix for everything breastfeeding/pregnancy)
- 3.-Turn on the shower to super hot and get in and let it get steamy (while still rubbing in the coconut oil) Then I applied more coconut oil and massaged it under the water
- 4. After my shower I would apply more coconut oil to my whole body while giving that extra massage to my breast (yes more coconut oil)
- 5.I napped every time the baby napped or even more if someone was there to help me
- 6.This is probably the most important one is to NURSE as much and as often as possible. I literally just had my boob in his face all the time trying to get him to suck because he is going to be more efficient in getting the clog out than a pump. You want to drain the breast because the clogged duct/mastitis comes from not emptying your boobs so you don’t want it to get worse (from either a blockage or just not draining for an extended period of time)
- 7. Throughout the day (and definitely before feedings) apply a warm-moist compress & COCONUT OIL and give another a little massage
- Then after the feedings rub a little more coconut oil, massage it and then apply an ice pack to relieve some pain (hot before feedings and cold after)
- I also took Tylenol to bring my fever down and that helped a lot! (I am not a doctor, so before taking anything you should definitely check with your doctor)
I did these steps as often as I could and it relieved itself in a matter of a day and I have never had to take an antibiotic so as long as you stay on top of it and take care of yourself it is definitely possible!
So just to sum it up the FOUR best things you can do to cure it fast is
1. NURSE, NURSE, and NURSE some more
2. MASSAGE THAT COCONUT OIL ON like there is no tomorrow
3. APPLY WARM COMPRESS before feedings (I used a heating pad)
4. REST & HYDRATION
However, it may not always be that easy… I learned the hard way when I was nursing Kaiverly. I was tandem nursing Everson and Kaiverly and around 4 months I got mastitis (She slept through a feeding in the middle of the night and so I didn’t get up to pump) and woke up in the morning with fever and chills. It got worse through the day but I tried to handle it on my own following my previous listed steps. At first, it got better and the next day it was fine so I thought I was good to go and jumped right back into my life (building things, wearing a tight sports bra during the day) basically everything you shouldn’t do. The very next week I got it back again and it had progressed much worse and I had to start antibiotics. I think my main mistake was not taking it slow after I remedied it the first time and continuing to follow those steps for a few days.
I also went ahead and added taking a sunflower letchin supplement to my routine to maintain a healthy milk flow as a preventative measure. It is a natural supplement that is recommended because it is thought to help prevent clogged ducts.
Another thing to consider is to not over pump in the beginning, it tells your body that you need all that milk so it will keep producing that much and then if you don’t pump or feed that regularly all the time your body will have an increased risk of getting a clogged duct/mastitis.
I hope this was helpful to read about my experience with them and gives you some ideas to incorporate or try when you are feeling these symptoms.