Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Dealing with mastitis naturally

I did well avoiding mastitis for the past almost 8 years, but 2 weeks ago it got me!

It started with a blocked duct one afternoon, which I'm no stranger to. It was in a week where I'd been carrying Ms. Lump around on my left side a lot, pressed up to my left boob, so I assumed it was that to blame.

That evening I'd a friend over and as we chatted I was more aware of the lump, it was definitely sore and I started massaging it a little as I was nursing the baby.

That night the shivering started, I just could not get warm. I got into bed with lots of blankets and a hot water bottle, but nothing could warm my icy feet. I started shuddering so much I couldn't fall asleep, teeth chattering and my body jerking so much I kept waking the baby beside me. My head was burning up but my hands and feet were icy and my boob was feeling more and more tender. This continued all night, and I vomited too. My husband watched over me all night and I only slept in fits and starts, kept waking myself up with the shivering.

The next day I stayed in bed, my mom came to take care of the kids and bring the baby up and down to me for feeding. I kept hot and cold compresses on my breast, which was now rock hard all over half of it. I still had a fever but the shivering had stopped. I slept on and off and did a bit of staring out the window. I couldn't read or listen to anything, just a bit "out of it". I drank a rosemary infusion which I would like to think helped a little as rosemary deals with inflammation. I managed to eat a piece of sourdough toast but I had to force myself to eat it. I had no appetite. I also heard about cutting raw garlic cloves in smaller pieces and swallowing like pills. I did that a couple of times the first day, it was so disgusting but I knew I was going to treat it naturally, and garlic is a natural antibiotic.

I could barely lift my head off the pillow, even turning around to take a drink off the nightstand was too much effort sometimes. There was lots of advice sent to me via friends about taking showers, massaging the breast with a hairbrush (ouch!). using a nappy as a hot compress, but I was too drained to do any of that. So I just massaged it and kept the baby feeding off that side as much as possible.

I slept better the second night and was able to sit up in bed the second day. My boob was still the same, and I had a headache (could have been sugar withdrawal, as I'd been eating a fair bit before I came down with the mastitis - in fact I blame sugar for lowering my immune system, I've noticed I always get sick after a few days of being "naughty"). I noticed I had a lump in a gland under my arm the second day, plus a slight earache on the same side, so I figured the infection was spreading out from the boob. I took more garlic and drank lots of clear liquids, both hot herbal teas and cold water. I'd definitely been dehydrated the days before the mastitis hit too.

And mentally I'd been all over the place, worrying about friends, caring for my kids who had had a bug, working, writing, planning, doing way too much and not focusing on myself at all. All these factors led to me coming down with this infection.

On day 3 I was back tentatively on my feet, the lumpy boob and armpit were still there but not causing me too much pain and I was able to direct proceedings from the sofa, not my bed. So I rested there. Though I noticed when I tried writing I was making loads of typos, it was like the fever had addled my brain a bit and I needed another day or two to get it fully functioning again.

I definitely feel like since going on a "cleaner" diet and lifestyle that I am more susceptible to illness after a bout of eating badly and drinking alcohol. Previously my system was so used to that toxic stuff that it tolerated a lot, but now it doesn't. This means that when I'm well I enjoy better health than before, more energy and vitality, but it takes less to make me sick, if that makes sense. I have read that your gut flora repopulate in a different (better) way after a dietary change for the better, and that's why previously tolerated foods are suddenly triggers for other problems.

That's how I feel the balance is at the moment anyway. I know I definitely need to look closer at my diet and make sure I'm getting the full complement of vitamins I need, and I am making a point of looking after my basic needs: sleep, water, rest, exercise, sunshine - well trying to at least.

I thought the dreaded mastitis was back the other night, a twinge in my boob, nausea in my stomach, feeling generally "off" so I took to bed for 36 hours, continued feeling dodgy, but then realised it wasn't getting any worse. The kids all had a vomiting bug last week so I think I caught the tail-end of that.

Anyway, I'm going to get off the screen now, it's my bedtime. Have you any tips to deal with mastitis? I know I got a mild dose, only one boob, and only half of it inflamed. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with a worse case, it really is the pits. It takes so much out of you, like a flu.

Please leave your tips below, and take care of your boobs, mamas!
Nee x


  1. I had it so bad when my baby was 3 weeks that we ended up on antibiotics for a week, then an overnight stay on IV antibiotics in Holles St and a continued dose at home for another week. The IV finally kicked it but it was the absolute worst! Needless to say I am taking my probiotics religiously now!

  2. God that is so hard Clio, especially so soon after the birth :( I need to look into probiotics for myself I think, thanks for the reminder. And thanks for taking the time to share your story, it really is such an unfair illness to get when you're already stretched so thin xxx


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