Mastitis, the very thought of the word brings back painful memories of sore, achy joints, fever and sore to touch breasts.
My first experience of mastitis came one week after the birth of my daughter Olive. My first initial symptoms were sore and achy joints coupled with a mild fever, I felt like I was coming down with the flu. Even though I wasn’t experiencing any of my other usual symptoms that often come with it, namely sore throat, runny nose etc. The day went on and my fever continued to creep up higher, my joints ached tremendously and by this stage my right breast had begun to feel painful and a red spot had appeared. In that moment it clicked, I had mastitis! Often women ignore the first initial signs and symptoms, I for one certainly did, I had never experienced mastitis first hand so those initial symptoms of a fever with sore and achy joints seemed like a cold or flu.
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is a breast infection commonly seen in breastfeeding women. Women who aren’t breast feeding can also develop mastitis, this is called periductal mastitis. In breastfeeding women mastitis is often caused by a build-up of milk in the breast.
Why Does This Happen?
- Improper attachment
- Suckling issues
- Tongue tie troubles
- Infrequent feedings or missed feedings leading to a build-up of milk
Sometimes the build-up of milk can become infected by bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) which enters the breast either from cracked or sore nipples, this is known as infective mastitis.
What to Watch for
- Sore and achy joints
- Redness on breast/s
- Sore to touch breast/s
- Lump in breast
- Nipple discharge, pus, swelling
ANTIBIOTICS – Why We Should Avoid Them
Antibiotics are the go to treatment for mastitis, I personally wanted to avoid antibiotics if at all possible. Although antibiotics are “safe” during breastfeeding, and I use that term with inverted commas because they’re safe in the sense that if you take antibiotics whilst breastfeeding it won’t harm your child but and this is a BIG but. Antibiotics will pass through the breast milk and into your littles ones’ tummy, dropping an atomic bomb into your baby’s gut. Destroying all good and bad bacteria, delaying the maturation of a healthy gut microbiota which is critical for the digestion and assimilation of nutrients from breast milk.
Often when breast feeding mothers are treated with antibiotics for mastitis their little one suffers too, often becoming colicky, irritable, gassy, with changes in stool composition either diarrhoea or constipation.
What if you’ve already taken or taking antibiotics?
Get you and your baby onto a probiotic as soon as possible to help rebuild the gut microbiota. I recommend Qiara Breastfeeding and Pregnancy and for babies Qiara Infant. Products can be purchased online or if you’re on the Gold Coast John Flynn Pharmacy at Tugun stocks them.
PROBIOTICS TO TREAT MASTITIS
I’ll share with you my experience with this amazing probiotic. I was floored by its incredible therapeutic effect. After it had clicked that I had mastitis I began treating my mastitis naturally (I will list all the other natural interventions below) I did this constantly for 24 hours but no matter what I did my temperature continued to rage with only Panadol keeping it in check. I rang my midwife who suggested a probiotic Qiara Breastfeeding and Pregnancy. I was sceptical but would try anything to avoid antibiotics. After having a raging fever for now more than 36 hours, I downed the first sachet at 5pm. By 8pm my fever had resolved and my mastitis cleared up overnight. How frigging amazing is that! After my first incidence I continued taking Qiara and never had mastitis again. Amen to that!
What is Qiara?
As their website states “Qiara Pregnancy & Breastfeeding contains the patented probiotic strain Lactobacillus Fermentum CECT5716, originally isolated from breast milk, which may help:”
- maintain a healthy microflora, important for you and your baby before, during and after pregnancy
- restore balance of good bacteria in breast milk that may have been disrupted by antibiotics, or other external factors
- relieve or reduce breast pain and discomfort associated with mastitis
- reduce the recurrence of mastitis
Other Natural Interventions
Below I’ve listed other natural interventions that you can do in conjunction with taking Qiara:
- Keep feeding, although painful, keeping the breast drained will help unblock the milk duct. Breast milk is perfectly safe for your baby even if you have mastitis
- Heat encourages circulation, bringing infection fighters into the inflamed breast. Place a warm compress on the area for 15 mins 3 x day. Alternatively, if you have a mobile shower head stand in the shower and run warm/hot water over the affected breast.
- Massage the affected breast in a clockwise motion, this will help to unblock the milk duct
- Raw Green Cabbage leaves place leaves in the freezer for 10-15 mins or until they’re just before frozen. Place on affected breast or in bra for 2 hrs a day
- Breast milk, this wonderous liquid helps to heal sore and cracked nipples. Apply before and after feeding
To Sum Things Up
At the first signs of mastitis:
- Start taking Qiara straight away, up the dose to two sachets daily until symptoms resolve
- Feed frequently, I know it will be painful but it will do wonders to help unblock the milk duct
- Massage the affected breast
- Bring heat to the area either from a warm compress or shower
- Dap breast milk on sore and cracked nipples to aid in their healing
- Start on immune boosting supplements such as vitamin c, my favourites are BioMedica C-Max and Zinc, I recommend Nutri Doc Zinc Picolinate or BioMedica BicoZn.
After the mastitis resolves continue taking Qiara, this should ensure you never have to experience it ever again! After my experience with Qiara I cannot recommend it enough as a probiotic staple for breastfeeding women to prevent and treat mastitis. This probiotic is truly remarkable.