Mastitis Treatment: Symptoms & 10 Home Remedies

Mastitis is an infection that occurs in women who are breastfeeding. Mastitis causes include a buildup of milk within the breast, known as milk stasis. In some cases, the buildup of milk may become infected with bacteria. Mastitis treatment focuses on healing painful mastitis symptoms and ridding the body of the infection.

Mastitis Causes

  • A baby is not properly attaching to the breast during feeding
  • A baby is having problems sucking
  • Infrequent or missed feedings

Mastitis Symptoms

  • Pain in one breast
  • A lump or mass in the duct area or hardness in an area of the breast
  • Redness or swelling around the nipple that can feel hot or tender to touch
  • A burning pain inside the breast that may be constant or occurs when breastfeeding
  • A fever of 101 degrees or higher
  • Bloody or white discharge from the nipple
  • Flu-like symptoms such as chills and fatigue

Mastitis Treatment

1. Keep Feeding

Part of mastitis treatment is to keep breastfeeding, as long as you or the baby do not develop oral thrush symptoms and feeding is not too painful. Breastfeeding can help unblock the milk duct. Start on the affected side and empty the milk to help relieve pain.

2. Try Lecithin

Lecithin can be used as a mastitis treatment to help prevent blockages in the milk ducts. It decreases the viscosity of milk making it easier to pass through the ducts. The recommended dose is 1,200 milligrams four times a day.

3. Try Potatoes

Potatoes contains enzymes that can help reduce redness and swelling and promote healing. Thinly slice a potato then soak the slices in water for 15-20 minutes. Place the wet potato slices on the affected area for 15-20 minutes, then discard the slices. Repeat with fresh potato slices three times in one hour.

4. Use Heat

Heat can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by mastitis by increasing circulation. Place a warm compress on the affected breast for about 15 minutes, three times each day to decrease swelling and encourage milk flow.

5. Use a Compress

Make a compress using dried fenugreek seed, rosemary and dandelion. Let it sit on the affected breast for 10 minutes, off an on. Alternate between warm and cold compresses. The cold compress will help relieve pain while the warm compress will increase circulation. 

6. Use Breast Milk

In some cases, mastitis causes breast milk to become infected with bacteria. But breast milk can also work as a natural remedy for mastitis. Rub breast milk on sore nipples before and after breastfeeding to help heal the infection.

7. Try Garlic

Garlic is a powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial that can help with mastitis prevention and treatment. Ingest raw garlic on a full stomach or cook it into your food each day to help prevent and heal infection.

8. Rest

Resting is an important part of mastitis prevention and treatment. Be sure to get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong. Encourage regular feedings with your baby while you lay down and relax in bed.

9. Cabbage Leaves

Raw, green cabbage leaves can help fight against infections like mastitis. Place a cabbage leaf inside your bra for several hours each day. Keep the cabbage in the fridge so the leaves are cool and soothing.

10. Saline Rinse

Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water and soak your nipples in the mixture after nursing. The homemade saline rinse will help keep your nipples free of bacteria while reducing pain and swelling.

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