Last week, I felt a little clog in my right breast. No big deal; I have an oversupply of milk so I get a little backed up from time to time—nothing some massage in a hot shower can’t take care of. But this time was different. At yoga that morning, I felt a little lightheaded and thought it must be the heated room. After my shower and breast massage, the clog didn’t seem to be any better, but I assumed nursing would help. It didn’t. And then, things got worse.
Sitting in a chair, snuggling with my toddler, the room started spinning. I broke out in a sweat, my head felt like it weighed a million pounds, and a wave of exhaustion overcame me. I made my way to the kitchen and reached my right hand up to get a glass from the cupboard, and a searing pain nailed my right breast where the blockage was. While I had never felt this before, I immediately knew what this was…the dreaded mastitis.
Read Related: What No One Tells You About Breastfeeding
Typical me, I started researching to confirm my suspicion that I’d developed Mastitis (or infection of the breast). Since I have no health insurance coverage, I created a game plan for treatment that would hopefully not involve me going to see my doctor.
My symptoms were classic mastitis and yes, there was hope that I could get better without antibiotics, so I got to work! My goal was to clear up the infection without developing an abscess, which would without a doubt need to be taken care of by my doctor and could force me to stop breastfeeding. I watched for a fever, the symptom that would indicate a systemic infection and that would need to be treated right away.
So, what did I do to avoid a doctor visit? I used natural remedies and tried to get as much rest as possible. It was tough but I was determined. I started with my usual “antibiotic” of chopped garlic mixed with some honey, swallowed like a pill. If you haven’t tried this, give it a shot when you’re starting to feel ill. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-infection…name a pill your doctor can prescribe that can do all that!
On top of my three-times-a-day garlic and honey concoction, I breastfed like crazy. While nursing, I massaged the heck out of the clogged area of my breast. Yes, it hurt, but I knew I had to break it up to move it out! I also used moist heat before and during nursing sessions.
Finally, a friend recommended pineapple, so I went nuts. Now, I’m a fruit lover so this wasn’t hard for me though it may be challenging for some. I drank pineapple juice and ate fresh pineapple like it was my job!
Honestly, two days later, I was as good as new. Mastitis knocked me down for a day and gave me a new adventure to add to my breastfeeding journey. I’m grateful to be done with it and hope to maintain some of my new habits in order to never let it rear its ugly head again!