MastitisDear Aunty Tina, My friend had really bad mastitis. I am having a baby in a few months and want to breastfeed. What should I do if I get it?

Mastitis can be really painful. I like to refer to one of my favorite books; Heart & Hands: A midwife’s guide to pregnancy and birth written by Elizabeth Davies. She writes that, “Mastitis can occur if milk is left pooled in the sacs. Particularly if a residual amount is left time after time, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria entering the nipple.” Mastitis can result in swelling and intense breast pain and can be accompanied with a high fever. If this happens there are a few things I recommend. Keep breastfeeding you want to drain the breasts, and drink lots of fluids to help keep the system flushed and clean.

The homeopathic Phytolacca has been known to help, but please consult with your doctor before taking anything. Cabbage leaves are also a great way to take out the heat and reduce swelling. This is also great for when your breasts are engorged in the first few days after your milk has come in. I would also recommend 48 hours of REST. This is really important for your immune system and stress levels, it may be the most important thing you can do for yourself. I also have found from experience that it helps to talk about anything negative you may be feeling – get what ever you need ‘off your chest’. I strongly believe these repressed emotions can contribute to your chances of having mastitis. It is amazing how much better a mother feels after talking about any underlying feelings she has been having, but holding in.

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Tina Garzero CPM, LMT. practiced midwifery for 40 years and lived on Maui for over 35 Years. She was the mother to 9 children and lived in Haiku. She is the heart of the Mauimama and will be sorely missed. (Tina Garzero 1951-2015). We love you Tina. This website is dedicated to Tina's life and service on Maui.