This gorgeous mama suffered with mastitis after giving birth to her second baby, due to having an oversupply of milk.
Christelle Kilo, who is a Healthy Mummy community member, has some great tips for dealing with the condition naturally.
Christelle says she began developing ‘flu-like’ symptoms two weeks after her second baby was born.
“I had a lot of pain coming from my right breast. A large area was hard and hot to touch. It was so painful – even when my shirt brushed past the area I would cringe in pain,” she says.
“I think it’s important to check both breasts every day to make sure there are no areas that are tender. If there are, then I make sure bub feeds on that side first and when she is finished I check that the tenderness is gone.
“It was very painful to breastfeed on the affected breast, but I knew that I had to drain the breast as much as possible. I would also massage the affected area lightly while bub fed to try and get rid of it.
“Eventually the breast was drained and it was a MASSIVE relief. I still had some tenderness on the area but that was just from all the massaging I did.”
Christelle believes she developed mastitis because she has an oversupply of milk.
“I always get mastitis and blocked ducts due to having an oversupply, plus bub naps and sleeps longer now,” she says.
“I would prefer not to be on antibiotics while breastfeeding [which is sometimes prescribed by doctors, depending on severity], so I ensure I feed constantly on the breast that is affected and pump the other side until it clears.
“I drink plenty of fluids and use heat packs before a feed and cold packs after. You need plenty of rest too.
“I found it happens as soon as bub has a good feed and sleeps through the night, I end up with either mastitis or blocked ducts. But if I wake through the night I will hand express to help with it, and it seems to be working.”
Christelle’s Tips For Dealing With Mastitis
1. Feed, feed and feed.
“Let your baby feed on the affected breast as much as possible. Offer the affected breast first. I once sat on the couch from 4am till 7.30pm before I had relief from the pain and bub managed to unblock the affected duct.”
2. Place a warm (not hot) flannel/towel on the affected area before offering bub a feed this will help loosen the blockage and help the flow of milk.
“I also place a cold pack on the area afterwards to help with swelling.”
3. Drink plenty of water and REST
“It’s very important to rest. It will take your body a couple of days to recover from the symptoms. It usually takes me about three days before I feel that I am back to normal again.”
4. Lightly massage the area whilst in the shower
“The heat of the warm water will also help with the blockage and also the pain.”
What Christelle Does To Try And Prevent Blockages/Mastitis:
1. I always make sure that my baby drains the breast well if she only has a small feed then I express both breasts afterwards.
2. If she sleeps through the night and I feel engorged then I hand express some milk for relief until she wakes up. This has helped enormously especially if bub cluster feeds one day and sleeps through that night.
3. I don’t wear tight bras unless working out. If I’m around the house I go without.
4. I also make sure the seatbelt in my car doesn’t press against my breast too tightly for long periods at a time. I find this can lead to blocked ducts.
What Is Mastitis?
Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast. It is commonly linked with having an infection, or a blockage of a milk duct.
It’s a very common among breastfeeding mothers and can be very unpleasant if left untreated. It’s important to recognise the symptoms as early on as possible.
Symptoms of mastitis can often include:
- Localised redness in the affected breast
- Pain and heat in the affected
- You may develop flu like symptoms such as fevers, chills, and aches.
15-20 per cent of breastfeeding mums experience mastitis, and the highest risk of it occurring is in the second and third weeks after giving birth.
More Ways To Help Treat Mastitis
1. Begin with frequent breastfeeds and/or pumping to remove milk from breast tissue and resolve blockages and engorgement. If you stop breastfeeding the condition may get worse, so if the pain is so severe you feel you can’t feed, start with the other breast, and swap once you have let down. Try different feeding positions with your baby.
2. Rest! This means no housework, cooking, cleaning, exercising or socialising!
3. Apply a warm compress to the breast tissue before feeding, and gently massage the breast towards the nipple while you are feeding. When you have finished breastfeeding bub, pump to finish off, to ensure the breast is empty.
4. Using a probiotic specific for breastfeeding can help increase immunity and reduce infections.
5. Garlic may help due to its antibacterial properties. Include more in your cooking, or take a garlic supplement.
6. Make sure you are drinking PLENTY of water!
7. Massage with a herbal cream can help provide relief and promote healing, Aloe Vera gel or Calendula cream, or even breast milk itself can help soothe the inflamed tissue.
8. A herbal tonic with echinacea in it can help reduce infections.
9. A poultice made of fresh ginger applied to the breast may also help promote healing and provide symptom relief.
10. Lastly, antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to clear infection if at home treatments are not working.
If you are having trouble breastfeeding and would like some support we encourage you to contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association.