Mastitis Banished with
Natural Remedies and Cabbage Leaves

The time after baby has arrived can have a few problems such as mastitis, nursing problems, skin issues, low energy, sleep interruptions, low libido and emotional turbulence known as 'baby blues'.. or if it goes on longer than a few days it could become post natal depression.

I'll just focus on breast problems on this page, giving you some reliable solutions for engorgement and mastitis. For the other issues, go back to the home page and click on the link you need.

Physically it can take your body several months to recover from being pregnant and then giving birth. Remember you may have depleted much of your deposit account - and if you are breastfeeding you will be transforming the glucose you eat - your current account - into energy for yourself and then further transformation into exactly the food that the baby needs for the stage of his or her development. Your milk contains everything the baby needs at each stage - so it will make sure the baby is getting everything - at your expense.

SO YOU NEED TO EAT WELL AND REGULARLY. Please check out the breastfeeding diet page.I cannot stress how important this information is!

Engorgement

As the breasts first fill up with milk they can become tender and very swollen and heavy. An old fashioned remedy - which does work a treat - is to put cold cabbage leaves onto the breast, and keep replacing them as the leaves wilt. If you don't have any cabbage - use cold moist wash cloths for 15 - 20 minutes at a time. However, don't do this just prior to feeding as the let- down reflex will have been checked.

MASTITIS

This is the name given to breast inflammation usually caused by infection or blockage and can often happen in the early days of breast feeding. When it does, the breast becomes very painful, hot and swollen and there can be fever chills and aches. If left untreated the infection can affect the lymph nodes under the arm pits on the affected side and may become an absess - so as soon as you feel discomfort take several steps to catch the infection and relieve the pressure build up in the breast.

Breasts need to be emptied as fully as possible on a regular basis so mastitis sometimes happens when baby is not feeding well and the milk has backed up and leaks into the breast tissue. Check out the breastfeeding link for hints on positioning baby for better milk delivery.

Infection can also happen when nipples become cracked or irritated. Make sure your baby is latched on and positioned correctly to avoid sore nipples. When nipples are cracked, bacteria can get into the breast.

Mastitis usually starts as a painful area in one breast. It may be red or warm to the touch, or both. You may also have fever, chills, and body aches. Have you had mastitis before? Then you will be more prone to getting it again, so make doubly sure about cleansing nipple guards and keeping cracked nipples clean If it is a recurrent problem, please DO CONTACT me or, if you have a practitioner nearby - for constitutional treatment.

If you have anaemia you could be more prone to mastitis as your resistance to infections is lower.

Breast-feeding from your affected breast is safe for your baby and helps to treat your mastitis. If starting with the affected breast is too painful, start feeding on the other side, then switch sides after your milk lets down and starts flowing easily. If your nipples are too cracked and painful to breast-feed from that breast, use a breast pump to empty the breast of milk. Use it each time that you cannot breast-feed.

If a milk duct is clogged up, go into a warm bath or put a warm flannel over the affected area and massage gently. The increased blood flow will often release the blocked duct and the milk will flow freely again.

NATUROPATHIC SUGGESTIONS

Hot water soak

Using hot water on the breasts does work well, and do it in several shorter bursts of five minutes or so rather than keeping them in a longer soak. The warmth stimulates and soothes.

Poultices

There are some great poultice's you can make up in a clean diaper.

Place a bunch of parsley or comfrey leaves in a diaper, close the ends and put an elastic band around the end, then pop it into boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Take it out and when its cool enough, place it onto the area affected by the mastitis, keeping it there for several minutes.

Don't have the herbs?.. how about potato compress. Grate several raw potatoes and pile the wet mush onto and around the inflammed area of the breast. Cover it with a cloth or towel and let it stay there for a while, preferably until the potato dries.

Tinctures

Propolis tincture and Echinacea root tincture can both be used to reduce inflammation. Read the bottle labels for instructions.

Poke root - also known in its homeopathic form as Phytolacca helps to clear mastitis quickly, so it can be used in conjuction with the homeopathic remedy in a 6 or a 30. Be careful with the tincture however, just ONE DROP in water, sipped throughout the day. You homeopathic remedy can be taken half hourly and then as needed.

Smoking

If you smoke ... please don't do it right before breastfeeding as it interferes with the release of milk from the milk glands.

SORE NIPPLES?

It's quite common for nipples to become sore and cracked in the early days of feeding. Keep on feeding as this been shown to help the tissue to heal.

Flaps Down!

Let the air get to your nipples as much as possible. Don't wear a bra all the time, or if you need the support, let the flaps down whenever you can.

Mini sun tan

Exposure to the sun for very short periods helps to strengthen the nipple tissue.. just a few seconds at first mind..then work up to a maximum of three minutes.

Fresh Aloe Vera Gel

The gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf will soothe and heal sore and cracked nipples.

Crushed Ice

Crush some ice and wrap it in a towel or use one of those ice packs we use for picnics, wrapped in a towel of course! Placed on the nipples just before feeding this reduces pain and discomfort from cracked or sore nipples.

Olive Oil etc

Olive Oil or sweet almond oil if you have it - massaged regularly into the nipple tissue are really as good as anything for keeping it supple and improving the skin quality. But there are also some great lotions, such as Calendula cream or a pure lanolin product.

No Soap

Avoid washing with soap.. it dries the area up.. and stay away from deodorant or talcum or anything else for the breast area.. natural really is best for now.

______________________________________________________________________________

Now - the homeopathic remedies for mastitis are such a help! In this kind of situation I always look for the most indicated one first and pop some into a glass of water. Stir it vigorously and sip it, whilst you then do all of the other things, such as gather warm or cold compresses and feeding baby, of course.

It can be SO FRUSTRATING to find a remedy you need to take but you are feeding or holding a sleeping bub and can't get to the remedies!

HOMEOPATHIC SUGGESTIONS

Bryonia Your breast feels hot, and you feel slightly feverish. If you keep very still it doesn't feel so bad but any movement can be excruciating. You feel more thirsty than usual and your mouth is dry. There are sharp shooting pains from the affected area of the breast. Generally you feel a bit short tempered and irritable. A kind of 'leave me alone' feeling.

Belladonna Your breast is red and swollen, hot and you can't bear to touch it. The least little jar hurts. You don't feel thirsty at all, have to force yourself to drink as you know that you need to drink to make the milk flow. Feeling in a bit of a daze.

Phytolacca The pain from this mastitis is quite severe and seems to radiate throughout the whole body. The breast feels hard and very sensitive, with a blue or purple color around the affected area.Your nipples are sensitive, maybe cracked and you feel restless and really quite unwell.

NURSING PROBLEMS

To dry up milk: remedy Lac Caninium can dry up milk. Contact me for instructions

To bring milk back: If milk is diminishing and you want to bring it back, Lac Defloratum and

Pulsatilla can work a treat. Again, contact me for instructions.

Don't forget to contact me for any more information or help with dosage.

JUDES RELIABLES: I have to say the Phytollaca has always worked so well, with plenty of fluids, the hot and cold applications and the cabbage leaves - which can lighten the mood as well as helping with the inflammation!

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