The Pain of Mastitis

Breastfeeding is a part of a mother’s wonderful journey with her baby. It begins almost immediately, with the baby learning to latch onto the breast and with the mother learning how to hold and adjust her precious new infant as it takes its first liquid foods in.

For most new mothers, breastfeeding is an exciting and wonderful part of the precious role of motherhood. And it is not just a process of feeding, but is also imbued with a host of emotional and psychological benefits that are important for the baby and the mother.

Breastfeeding is of course an important feature of the bonding process. It cements the tactile connection between infant and mummy and is an opportunity for touch, the mirroring and gazing process between the two and also the exchange of sound and first communications.

Who can go past the delightful moment when a breastfeeding baby places its tiny hand on its mother’s breast or chest, or reacts with the grasp response around a mother’s finger? These are cherished moments that are remembered for life.

When Breastfeeding goes Wrong

But what happens when it all goes wrong? Some new mothers can have incredible difficulties with breastfeeding and one of the most common associated problems is Mastitis.[1] The breasts can become inflamed and swollen and in worst cases the milk ducts can block up severely and infection can set in.

It is painful and frustrating and it also disrupts the vital food source the baby requires for the best start to life.

Natural Remedies for Mastitis

As a naturopath involved with natural health solutions, I am frequently approached about natural remedy options for the treatment of this condition. At A Natural Self Clinic, I frequently see new mothers who want to know what may help to alleviate the symptoms and the pain and discomfort.

Here are a few of the naturopathic suggestions I offer for Mastitis:

  • Increase your fluid intake to flush away any infection
  • Keep the breasts and nipples well aired and ventilated. You do not want to experience cracking and chafing, as this can increase the chances of bacteria entering into the milk ducts which can cause the inflammation
  • Use cabbage leaves on the breasts to cool and soothe the heated areas
  • Before breastfeeding, heat the breasts with hot cloths or water bottles. The heat and warmth can encourage the milk letdown and can prevent further engorgement of the breasts which can lead to further pain
  • Keep up a healthy and nutrient rich diet
  • In worst cases it may be necessary to seek medical attention and/or antibiotics if the infection is severe
  • Speak with your naturopath or your alternative health practitioner for specific advice on your mastitis problems

Remember, if you are a new mother, you do not need to get worried if things don’t go exactly to plan. Difficulties can arise and if we approach them with a centred and holistic awareness then we can move through these hurdles with a minimum of disruption.

Good luck.