I’ve had mastitis four times throughout my breastfeeding journey. Four miserable, achy, horrible times. If you’ve never had it, then you are so very lucky, but if you have, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I describe it as being hit with a tonne of bricks.
After coming down with a second bout of mastitis within Olivia’s first four months, I knew I had to do something about it. When I was delivered a double bout of it while breastfeeding Billy, I resorted to antibiotics which then led to months and months of nipple and ductal thrush, so I wasn’t game to head down that path again.
There had to be an alternative.
It turns out, there is more than one. So I’m here to share my experiences with you. Let me say, that this is what has worked for me, however I do not claim to be a doctor or health professional, so please take my advice like you would of that of a girlfriend.
There’s a lot of talk about these mighty pills, but it turns out getting the right one into you, is pretty important. After doing some research I came across a probiotic called Qiara. Qiara Probiotics contain the patented breast milk isolated strain, Lactobacillus Fermentum CECT5716, sounds fancy and a little scientific right? Well, in a nutshell research has found that particular probiotic strain may help to relieve or reduce breast pain and discomfort associated with mastitis, reduce the recurrence of mastitis and maintain a healthy microflora system.
I’m going to preface this with something, this treatment is NOT for the fainthearted. It hurts, a lot. But it is extremely effective. Basically a physio uses an ultrasound machine to massage and heat up blocked ducts. This part is not overly painful. It’s the hand massage that follows! A physio will then use their hands to attempt to shift the blockages by using firm strokes towards the nipples. Overall an initial treatment will last an hour with subsequent treatments usually half an hour. I only needed two sessions to drastically reduce the size of my blocks and clear the mastitis.
What I have learnt through my physiotherapist is that in order for massage to be effective in moving blockages, heat is required. Standing under a hot shower for a few minutes is not enough. I found running a hot bath, as hot as you can physically handle, hopping in and laying face down so that your breasts are submerged and facing downwards, and firmly running your thumbs along the blocked duct towards the nipple, was very effective, especially if the mastitis and blockages are caught early enough. This is a good method to take if you notice a few hard lumps in your breasts, before they turn into mastitis.
EMPTYING THE BREAST
It’s common sense, but when you’re tired, busy running around after other children, or just distracted, it’s easy to forget which breast you last fed off, or to switch sides too soon. If your baby has had enough of the side you’re feeding on but you still feel uncomfortably full, pumping on that side until you feel soft is recommended.
Happy feeding lovely mumma!