Saturday night I noticed the side of my right breast was hard and sore. I really just wanted my baby to pay it some attention. Unfortunately, there were more exciting things going on than eating. My husband (who is a chiropractor) gave me an adjustment and I hand expressed some milk into a cup, which did entice my little one to eat a bit. That provided some relief, but I can tell you that hugging everyone goodbye when we left my brother’s house that night was a little awkward and uncomfortable.
Sunday morning, along with having a sore boob, I was feeling really sick. (I was apparently going through a caffeine withdrawal from the whole 4 ounces of real coffee I sipped out of my husband’s cup a couple days previously.) I handled the nausea, shakes, and the majority of the headache and body pain with a cup of black tea* at 6AM and went back to bed. When I woke up those symptoms were gone, but my body was still sore (which I attributed to my excellent swim on Saturday morning) and my breast was now red, hard, and bumpy and I was still feeling pretty junky. I realized I had a blocked duct (or several).
I called around to see if I could find an acupuncturist who could get me in on a Sunday. I wanted to get this thing handled before it turned into mastitis. No luck.
Sunday afternoon the fever came on. Mastitis. I had a couple of choices: Go to the doctor and get an antibiotic or handle it myself. An antibiotic might have seemed like the faster and more efficient route, but that would have left my digestion and immune system trashed for the next several months, leaving me open to more illnesses and digestive discomfort so I told my husband to go to the store and get me the ingredients for an herbal juice with antibiotic properties that I found here. Take 3 cloves of garlic and one squirt of echinacea in 6 oz of carrot juice every two hours. I took the first two doses and got another dose of just the echinacea in a shot of carrot juice in the middle of the night.
I slept pretty well. I sweated a lot and I could tell when I woke up in the middle of the night to get that shot of echinacea, that the fever was gone.
By Monday I was feeling a lot better but my breast was still red and sore and bumpy and I was not having any luck pumping, even pumping in the shower with a lot of massage. What’s a mommy to do? Take an epsom salt* bath, of course! I threw in a few toys and had my baby join me and we spent a luxurious hour soaking my sore breast.
Monday afternoon I was able to see the acupuncturist. Thankfully, Daddy was able to hang out with Baby while I got treated. She soften things up quite a bit. She also told me I could make a ginger compress by grating some ginger, boiling it like a tea, and then soaking a towel in the warm water and putting it on my breast. She also told me to put some acupuncture tacks right on the big nodules. Because I’m an acupuncturist, I had both the tacks and the knowledge of how to use them so I stuck those things all over my breast when I got home. I also continued taking that herbal juice, but only a few times that day rather than every two hours.
Tuesday morning I woke up to a slightly pink and much softer breast. It’s still a little sore and could probably use a little massage throughout the day and maybe even another one of those baths! But I’d say it’s pretty close to resolved. I’ll keep paying it extra attention for the next week or so. I’ll continue taking my herbal juice a few times per day, some probiotics, making sure I’m getting my vitamins in, and eating some good, warm, nourishing food. Thankfully the weather just turned cold so our fridge is stocked with homemade soup and stew! I’ll also continue drinking a mug of hot water with the juice from a whole lime to boost my vitamin C levels.
One other thing that really helped was my baby. Nursing frequently was so important (and so much easier than when I had shingles all across this same breast). I had to empty this thing out to get everything flowing again and my baby is so much better at that than I am with my pump*! The other thing that made all the difference was rest. My husband took the job of primary caretaker of my baby on Sunday and I stayed in bed. (I haven’t done that since the shingles!) But that’s all I needed! We’d planned to have my husband take a half day from work on Monday, but when Monday rolled around, I was up and ready to go again. I did, however, make a point to relax. We’ve read books and played quietly, but I haven’t done any housework in the last few days. Maybe tomorrow!
*UPDATE: I woke on Wednesday morning to a little pinkness and soreness. By Wednesday night, I was all back to normal!*
There is so much about mastitis on the internet that can freak you out. It freaked me out so much that I called my mom and almost had her drive the four and a half hours to take care of me. Luckily, she ended up not coming and I ended up not needing her to. If you found this blog because you Googled “mastitis”, I hope my story helps you. Best wishes and quick healing, if that’s the case!
Have you had mastitis? How did you deal with it? Share in the comments below!
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