5 All-Natural Remedies For Mastitis

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Image via Rachel 6 Photography

After having mastitis more times than any woman should have, I was getting pretty fed up.

Antibiotics were no longer working in my body after countless rounds and I continued to feel that familiar pain in my breasts, quickly followed by total exhaustion, aches and chills, and it felt like the cycle would repeat itself over and over again.

As any nursing mother who has dealt with the evil of mastitis knows, it can be hard to get through and recover from it. And the most common remedy for mastitis–antibiotics–can leave your body resistant to the drugs after repeated episodes and cause all kinds of side effects, such as diarrhea and an upset stomach and thrush in your baby. In fact, two months later, my daughter's digestive system is still trying to recover after the heavy-duty antibiotics pretty much wiped out all of her natural flora. Luckily, however, there are some more gentle, all-natural remedies for mastitis that might be a worth a try!

Note: The following information is based on the author's personal experience and is in no way a substitution for medical advice. Always seek professional guidance from your doctor before beginning any medication or following any health guidelines.

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Image via Flickr/ TheDeliciousLife

Cabbage leaves.

When I worked as an OB nurse, we would actually recommend that mothers who didn't plan on breastfeeding apply cabbage leaves to their breast to help alleviate some of the discomfort when their milk came in. It may get a little aromatic, but the cabbage acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and will help draw some of the fluid out, reducing the swelling and discomfort. All you have to do is literally tear some leaves off of a head of cabbage and stuff them in your bra. “It sounds ridiculous, but it worked for me,” says mom-of-three Meg Hendrix Robinson. “A cold cabbage leaf on your breast for 20 minutes at a time, but stop as soon as you get relief, it works quick!”

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Image via Flickr/ liz west

Garlic.

There's a reason we eat chicken noodle soup when we're sick and garlic is one of the reasons–it's a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, as well as an immune system booster. So eat up some fresh garlic or add a supplement to your diet. You may just want to avoid any close contact with your partner for awhile …

{ MORE: How to Reduce Postpartum Breast Engorgement }

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Image via Flickr/ Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Homeopathic remedy.

One mother recommended trying phytolacca in a homeopathic remedy, because it had helped her get over her bouts of mastitis. I personally didn't try phytolacca, but visiting a holistic health practitioner may be a helpful way to learn more about this remedy and try it for yourself.

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Image via Youngliving.com

Essential oils.

OK, here is what finally did the trick for me, after over 15 bouts of mastitis (I'm not even exaggerating). I'm not one of the people who are way into essential oils, but I'm definitely open to the idea of them, now that I've seen them work so well for mastitis. A friend who sells the oil helped me pick the best one and I went with the Citrus Fresh essential oil from Young Living. She recommended that I apply 1-2 drops of the oil directly to the affected area on the breast and then also mix 2-3 drops into my water and drink it as a way to flush the toxins out of my system. I repeated this 3-4 times throughout the day.

I was desperate for a way to stop the mastitis from happening, and although I never thought it could be that easy, I was able to rid the mastitis using the oils twice. The first time I used it, my breast was just a little painful, so I thought it may have just been a coincidence, but the second time, I was already running a fever, feeling achy and exhausted, and it still worked by the next morning. Best.thing.ever. Lavender oil is also recommended for helping clear a clogged duct.

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Image via Flickr/ Nate & Tilly Ritter

A diaper.

It sounds crazy, but that little sidekick in your life may also help you overcome mastitis. Applying heat to the affected area of the breast helps break up the clogged duct and clear the infection, but instead of using the old-hot-washcloth trick, you can soak a diaper instead. “Some mothers have told me that a diaper soaked in warm water works well as it holds in the heat,” comments Lactation Consultant Jana Stockham RN, IBCLC of NuuNest.

{ MORE: Social Media: Helping Parents Learn (*how to defend themselves against unsolicited advice) }

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5 All-Natural Remedies For Mastitis

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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