Mastitis...Symptoms and Remedies

When the breasts get inflamed, it leads to infection and this condition is known as mastitis. This problem is very common in women who breastfeed. A woman may notice soreness, hardness and swelling in the breast. This infection is passed through a baby’s mouth and the bacteria goes through the cracks in the nipples. The nipples become sore and painful leading to infection.


Mastitis is a common condition that affects lactating women. Thecondition is accompanied with high fever, infection or swelling in thebreasts and flu-like symptoms.If you suffer from any of the below given symptoms then you areprobably suffering from mastitis. Get yourself checked by a doctor andbegin treatment to ease the pain.Mastitis causes terrible pain and tenderness in the breasts. There isinflammation in the breast tissues which causes the affected areas toturn red in color. On touching the breasts you feel a lump like engorgement. This lump is probably a milk duct which has blocked dueto infection.Check your temperature. A temperature of over 101 degrees F means thatyou may have the infection. Mastitis often has flu-like symptoms likefever with chills and nausea.

Syptoms like pain, tenderness in the breasts and fever will onlyincrease with time. This shows that the infection is becoming severe.In normal cases of breast engorgement in a lactating mother, symptom of lump-like feeling and pain usually subside over a period of time.This is because there is no infection in the milk ducts butover-accumulation of milk.Mastitis in breastfeeding mothers is often a result of over-looked feeding sessions, long breaks between two feeds, bleeding nipples withcracks, and sometimes even stress. All these reasons can clog the milk carrying ducts and lead to mastitis.You can use simple remedies to treat mastitis while you wait to see the doctor. Gently massage the engorged area. Massaging the lumps willcause unclog the ducts and allow for increased circulation.Do not skip breastfeeding sessions. During mastitis feed the baby from the affected breast. If the breast is too hard and painful then first feed from the other breast to begin the flow of milk. Once the milk starts coming in the breasts it will be easier to nurse the baby on the affected breast.If your baby does not drink well then empty your breasts manuallyafter each feeding session. You can even use a breast pump to make iteasier. Even a little fluid left in ducts can lead to infection.Do not take any antibiotics when you breastfeed as the medications canput you on risk of attracting yeast infection.Clean your nipples with cotton soaked in warm water after each feed.This rids the skin of any bacteria that may have been transferred from your baby’s saliva.

Treatment of Mastitis

The most effective treatment for mastitis are antibiotics. Antibiotics help in treating breast infection and drugs like paracetamol and ibuprofen can also be taken. It is generally recommended that while you are taking this treatment, you should not breastfeed but you can always check this with your doctor.

Prevention of Mastitis

Mastitis can be prevented by continuing to breastfeed the baby as this would eventually reduce the pain as the milk would get emptied. Even doctors advice to continue feeding the baby because once the production stops, the milk would dry up.

Women who are affected with this problem are advised to feed the baby in different postures as this would help the milk to empty properly. The breast that is affected should be offered first to the baby so that the milk gets drained completely. Since the infection cannot pass to the baby, therefore a woman should not discontinue breastfeeding. The affected woman can try different therapies like massaging the breast, applying gels or other natural therapies.

Home Remedies:

Here are different home remedies for mastitis. First you should try these effective home remedies for mastitis then consult doctor if needed. Some of these natural remedies are:

1. Make use of fenugreek seeds. Make a fine paste of fenugreek seeds after soaking it into water for few hours. Put the paste of fenugreek in between the warm piece of cloth and put it over the infected area. This home remedy for mastitis will give the positive result.

2. You can also place the leaves of cabbage over the infected area for 3-4 hours every day. You will get an effective result within 24 hours.

3. Use of rosemary is also an effective natural remedy for mastitis. For this remedy you have to mix 2-3 teaspoons of dried rosemary in a cup of boiling water. You will get the immediate relief after drinking this mixture.

4. White vinegar is also helpful in reducing the problem of mastitis. Mix one teaspoon of white vinegar in a cup of water. Adjust your body in such a way that the nipples get soaked in it for few minutes. It is also a quick natural remedy for mastitis to get relief.

Cabbage: A Natural Home Remedy for Mastitis

Fresh cabbage leaves have shown themselves to be a cheap, natural, reliable method of mastitis treatment for many women. Here's how to use cabbage to treat your mastitis:

- Place fresh cabbage leaves over your breast. They can be worn inside your bra or nursing shirt, or simply be laid over your breast while you are resting.

- Do not use the cabbage continuously, as constant exposure may have a negative effect on your milk supply. A regimen of two hours on, four hours off is recommended by midwives.

- In many cases, cabbage will draw out the infection within 24 hours.

My midwife and I recently discussed breast infections during a prenatal visit. When discussing the use of cabbage to fight mastitis, she related the story of a first time mother for whom she had recently delivered a baby.

"At 2:00 AM, the day after the delivery, I received a call from the father of the baby. He said the new mother was very sick with the flu. After a few questions I determined she had mastitis and told him how to use cabbage to treat it. He called me back at 6:00AM. 'It's gone. She is completely better.' "

While this method may not be 100% effective for all women, it is definitely worth trying. Using cabbage leaves to treat mastitis will save you time at the doctor's office and money for a prescription, as well as limit your exposure to antibiotics.

Along with using cabbage leaves to treat the infection, there are several other things to note when dealing with mastitis:

1. As much as possible, breastfeed through the infection. Though this is painful, it is important to keep the breast draining and milk production continuing. Breastfeeding with mastitis is not harmful to your baby, as he has already been exposed to the bacteria in your milk.

2. Warm compresses, along with warm showers or baths, can make you more comfortable and encourage your breasts to drain.

3. Wear clothing that is unrestrictive.

4. Continue to eat well and take your vitamins to boost your body's ability to fight infection.

5. Make sure to get your rest. Many moms experience mastitis 6 weeks postpartum. This is likely due to a mother's increase in activity and feeling like she should be completely recovered from childbirth at this time.

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