Who knew that breastfeeding could be so rewarding yet so hard at the same time? As discussed in my earlier stories, my breastfeeding journey has not been the easiest. After dealing with the beginning stages of breastfeeding I thought the worst was over but I was wrong, dead wrong. Most of you have probably heard of mastitis but if you haven’t, mastitis is a painful infection in your boob. Your boob will be red, warm, and painful to touch and every time you pump or nurse you will experience a painful/burning sensation. In addition to these symptoms, you can develop a fever and flu-like symptoms. Who would have thought that breastfeeding could cause you to get an infection that feels like the flu? I had no idea that this even existed and let me tell you it hurts like a BITCH!!!!
My First Time Having Mastitis
The first time I developed mastitis it was very random and came on suddenly. I was having a normal day, feeling fine and then BOOM the evening came and it hit me. I started to notice some pain/tenderness in my boob and I felt a hard lump. At the site of the lump, my boob was red and warm to touch. Then I got hit with chills that I could not stop, they were uncontrollable. I decided to check my temperature since my chills were out of control and I had a fever of 101.4. At this point I never even heard of mastitis and was not sure what was going on. I reached out to a few of my mom friends telling them what I was going through and their response was “Do you think you have mastitis?” “You should call your doctor because mastitis is no joke and if you develop a fever you most likely have an infection and will need something to get rid of it.” I started to panic because I was a first time mom. I was also nervous because of course it was a weekend which meant I had to wait two days to even be seen by my doctor. I called my doctor’s after hours line and left a message. In the meantime, I looked up mastitis and found natural remedies to try to help.
How do you get rid of it?
After doing my research and talking to my mom friends I decided to try a few things to help relieve some of the pain. Here they are:
Tylenol to help lower/get rid of my fever
Water, water, water-hydration is key
Hot shower while massaging my boob super hard for a LONG time
Massage while pumping/massage while feeding
Feeding on the infected side as much as possible (Breastfeeding is okay to do with the infection)
Heat before feeds/pumping
Last but not least--having my husband suck my boob (YES! I know weird right?) but it seriously helps so much. Essentially the reason you develop mastitis is due to a clogged duct and if you have your significant other suck your boob hard it could get rid of the clog)
I did all of these things continuously until my doctor’s appointment. By the time I went to the doctors my lump from the clogged duct decreased tremendously and the pain was more manageable. My doctor could still see some redness and warmth to touch and she told me to go on antibiotics in order to get rid of the infection. As much as I did not want to take antibiotics I had to because if you don’t take care of the infection things could just get worse. There are some resources that say antibiotics can affect your baby’s digestive system. Which is partly why I was nervous to take them. However, after being on antibiotics I did not notice any changes in my baby’s digestive system whatsoever.
2nd time is a charm, right?
I read that if you develop mastitis and it was bad enough that you had to take antibiotics your risk of developing it again is higher. Well, I got the infection a second time. Yup, had to go through this shit once again. Of course, I did not get the infection in the same boob as before, instead I got it in my other boob. I developed the same symptoms-chills, redness, and a lump that was sore. I felt more confident this time since I had it before but it still hurt like a bitch. I used the same remedies as before. I was able to get rid of the lump/infection within 2 days.
Due to getting the infection twice now, I looked into ways to prevent it from happening again. I found resources about taking Sunflower Lecithin as a preventative. This natural remedy is supposed to help the milk flow and prevent your boobs from getting clogged ducts. Clogged ducts are essentially what can cause you to get mastitis. Now, I take Sunflower Lecithin every single day and have not had the infection or clogged ducts since. Again, I am not here to provide you with medical advice. If you are thinking about taking it please consult with your doctor first! I am here to share my story about dealing with mastitis and what worked for me and hope that it can help someone else!