Breastfeeding and the Dreaded “M” Word

by Holly on April 24, 2009

No matter how hard you try to do it perfectly- scheduled feeding, nursing on cue, or whatever path you have chosen- clogged ducts, or even (the dreaded!) mastitis are very common and might happen to you. There are many things you can do to treat these breastfeeding nuisances so you can get back to the enjoyable, bonding, nourishing experience it is meant to be.
If you discover you have mastitis (an infection in the milk duct) don’t panic. It is usually a self-limiting problem, meaning that it can heal itself if you help your immune system work. How do you know if it’s more than a clogged duct? You’ll have a hard, streaky red and possibly painful area on your breast, which will be hot to the touch. You will feel tired and weak and probably have a fever and chills, but in most cases this will not last more than 24 hours. During this time it is really important to super hydrate- drink tons of water, coconut water (antibacterial and antimicrobial), ginger tea (antiviral), broth, emergen-c, and any other caffiene free, natural beverages. Take a warm bath or shower if you can, and get into bed, taking baby with you. Continue nursing on the affected breast as much as possible, and try to sleep. Use warm moist compresses on the inflamed area, which will increase circulation to the breast and speed healing. (Earth Mama, Angel Baby makes great organic Booby Tubes– buy some to have on hand in case mastitis strikes!) Continue resting, even when you start to feel better, and the whole ordeal will likely be behind you by the next day. However if your fever doesn’t go down within 24 hours, call your doctor.
Don’t let this discourage you from breastfeeding. The benefits to your baby far outweigh the day of discomfort you’ll have. Plus this is your body’s way of telling you to slow down, get more sleep, and take care of yourself!
Booby TubesTM

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