Two and a half years of continuous breastfeeding and this past weekend, I sat in the car on a Saturday afternoon nauseous and with chills in beautiful weather and aches that stabs me to the bone. I could hardly hold my baby as we were browsing the selection of Boston area homes, and just reaching across body made me hurt like I have only felt with the flu. And then my sweet 4 month old made my skin completely crawl when she tried to nurse. It felt like she was chomping down, digging in her nails, and breathing fire into my breast all at once. But it was the weekend on our first full week in a new city and new state across the country. So it wasn’t just because I wanted natural remedies for this horrid breast infection (because in the moment I would have paid $1,000 for any fast prescription to take the pain away), but also because I legitimately had no other option but to at least try some natural mastitis remedies.
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SO I called up my wonderful midwife in Oklahoma (in reality I sent her a text) and asked her for recommendations, I tried to remembers what I had heard before but was hurting so bad I couldn’t think, and reached out to my friends for help. I got ALL kinds of information. My midwife mainly recommended that I support my immune system with 3-4 immune boosting supplements several times a day. In the end here is what I did, hoping to make it to Monday in order to find a doctor and get some antibiotics…
How to support your immune system while nursing and/or when you get mastitis
Supplements and Items I needed from the store (because since we moved we literally had nothing). I called up the nearest Whole Foods, knowing they would have it on demand, even though pretty much all of them are normally always in my cabinets, and had it all waiting for my husband when he got there.
- Raw Garlic bulb
- Gaia Elderberry Syrup
- Prenatal Vitamin and typical vitamins
- Healthy, non-sugary foods
- Nature’s Creations Hot and Cold Packs
As we were house hunting, we had to get out. I would feel awesome in the morning and awful in the afternoon each day. So I would Sleep as often as possible, not over-exerting myself and nurse as often as possible too. Also, I would “Dangle Nurse” when I could to allow gravity to help pull the milk down and unclog. As I would rest I would sleep on my side with a cold pack on the infected breast. When awake, I would alternate hot and cold compresses with a hot shower at night.
- First thing in the morning I would take one teaspoon of elderberry syrup, a lecithin tab to help thin milk, probiotics, my prenatal, and all typical vitamins.
- At lunch/in the afternoon I would take another lecithin, half teaspoon of elderberry syrup, eat a healthy lunch, and try to rest after lunch.
- Early evening I would Drink a bunch of water with 2 cloves of raw garlic chopped into manageable sizes
- Dinner would be another good meal with lots of rest as possible.
- Evening and before bed I would take my vitamins, another teaspoon of elderberry syrup, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and another lecithin.
- And when the pain was too much… I took ibuprofen.
The way I felt Sunday night, I thought I would need to go into the doctor, but all day on Monday I felt tremendously better! I had a little bit of a dull ache in my left breast all day on Monday and Tuesday I felt almost entirely back to normal. That being said, results may vary, but it’s worth a try especially when in a pinch like I was, right?!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!