Mastitis Treament for Sore Nipples
by Kimberly Gallagher
Within my first month of nursing my newborn son I had occasion to be very relieved to find an effective, herbal mastitis treatment. Not only were we dealing with a severe case of thrush, but also now on top of that, I found myself with a very painful breast infection.
So, what did we do?
1) Well, we used poultices of comfrey leaves and calendula flowers as a mastitis treament. Hot applications to the breast at least four times daily are recommended and the comfrey and calendula will soothe the nipples, help draw out the infection and unblock the tubes and ducts.
To make a comfrey / calendula poultice, put the comfrey leaves and calendula flowers in the blender with a bit of water and some flour to make a gelatin like substance. This can then be put into cotton cloth and stored in the freezer for future use. They can be heated in the oven just before applying to the breast.
2) Raw cabbage leaves are a great mastitis treatment. They can be placed directly on the infected area of the breast, also to help draw out the heat and infection.
The cabbage leaves will become warm and wilted and should then be changed out. This cure is especially effective just after a duct is clogged and before the infection sets in.
If my breasts start to feel sore or I notice any redness I immediately slip a cabbage leaf in my bra, and change it out several times during the day.
This amazingly simple mastitis treatment unclogs the duct quickly and doesn’t allow the infection to set in. Once I learned this trick, I never again suffered from a more severe breast infection.
3) We also used Echinacea root tincture as part of our mastitis treatment. One dropper full six times a day until the fever passed, and then smaller doses (2 or 3 times a day) until all symptoms had cleared.
Susun Weed, in the Childbearing Year recommends using Echinacea as an infusion rather than in tincture form.
So, if you can get some dried Echinacea root, use once ounce of root in a pint of boiling water and steep it for at least eight hours. Drink two cups daily until the fever comes down then move to a lighter infusion of one-ounce root to a quart of boiling water and drink one or two cups until the symptoms clear.
4) It is also important to get plenty of rest when dealing with a breast infection as they often result from lack of rest. Take a daily nap and take frequent rest breaks throughout your day. Call on your friends or family to help with chores or older children so you can get the rest you need. I remember sitting in a big, comfey chair nursing Rowan while different friends came by every few hours to help around the house and offer moral support. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
***Another important part of any mastitis treatment is to be sure to continue nursing as often and as long as possible on the infected breast.***
I remember this being a very painful proposition, especially in the first seconds after Rowan would latch on to my breast.
Continued nursing is important, though, for long-term milk flow and emptying the breast regularly will help promote healing. Mastitis definitely offered one of my biggest challenges to continued breast-feeding. Remember that the pain will not last once the infection has cleared up, and you will enjoy many months (or years) of wonderful nursing with your baby once the mastitis has passed.
5) Susun Weed also recommends poke root as an effective mastitis treatment. “A tincture of fresh (only) root stimulates lymph gland activity and clears mastitis quickly.” She says to use no more than 2 drops daily and suggests that you may want to combine it with Echinacea.
6) Cold, grated raw potato can also be used as a poultice. Apply directly to the breasts and cover with a clean cloth. Replace when dry.
7) Soaking breasts in an infusion of marshmallow root can also be an extremely soothing and healing mastitis treatment. Steep two ounces of root in a half gallon of boiling water overnight. Reheat to near boiling and pour into a basin. Soak breasts until the infusion cools.
If you or your partner currently has mastitis and that’s why you’ve come here to our site, I send you lots of love and wishes for a quick recovery. Those days when the infection was strong in my body are definitely among the most painful in my memory.
Take heart, trust the plants, and know that with this simple mastitis treatment, this too shall pass.