Top 7 Tips and Tricks for Managing Mastitis
Updated: Jan 18
Thursday morning, I woke up with a very uncomfortable and large clog in my left breast. It was warm to the touch and hurt when I pushed on it. It was not there when I went to bed the night before.
I thought I could just massage it and it would go away with no problems.
Boy was I wrong!
Over the course of the day, I started to develop chills and my body was tingly. I felt nauseous and I had a pounding headache. My body started to ache worse the more the day went on. My husband thought I needed to eat more calories since I had only been picking that day. I had no appetite.
I was lethargic and I was struggling to stay awake and keep the kids busy. My in-laws came over to play with the kids and I tried to rest.
That evening before bed, I decided to check my temperature because I felt very warm and my husband was concerned. My temperature was 101.6. After a few minutes, I started to shiver so I checked my temperature again and it was up to 102.4. After a 350mg Tylenol and a few minutes cooling down, my temperature went back down to normal.
That night I had a hard time sleeping. I was monitoring my temperature all night long, which thankfully I never had another fever. This long night would eventually get me to the morning where I could call the doctor. She had me come in and prescribed an antibiotic because just like I thought, I had mastitis.
I do not want you to struggle with Mastitis as bad as I did with my first child, my daughter. I had a hard time getting rid of clogs when I had her and I felt like I did not have much support from the doctor. I did not follow a Lactation Consultant like I do now.
Here are some ways I helped to get rid of the clogs and gain some comfort while I was recovering from Mastitis and taking a doctor prescribed antibiotic and probiotic.
Note that this post does not contain medical advice. Please make sure to consult your doctor before trying anything during or after pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
1. Nurse Often
I tried to nurse my baby as often as he wanted. I found myself nursing him every 1.5 to 2.5 hours for many days. One tip is to always start nursing on the side with the clog because baby’s suck will be the strongest at the beginning of the feeding.
2. Change Nursing Position
My husband and I refer to it as the “cow position” because I definitely feel like a cow when I do it. Lay your baby on the floor on their back and then you get on the ground on your knees. You want the clog to be aligned with your baby’s chin because that is where the strongest suck will be. Lean over your baby and let them nurse in this position.
The theory is that gravity will pull the milk down and out of your breast, although there is no scientific evidence that this is true. Every time I have nursed this way with a clog, I can feel the baby pulling the clog out. I have found success with this position.
3. Pump Often
I will be honest; pumping did not work for me. I feel that the suction of the pump does not pull strong enough to get the clog out. My doctor suggested pumping because even if it doesn’t pull the clog out, it can break it up and start moving it around. I found nursing my son more often helped more, but pumping could work for you.
You will want to massage the clogged area of the breast often to try to break it up and move it out. When you massage, push from the outside of the breast to the inside. My clog this time was practically in my armpit so it was extremely painful and difficult to get to. I was still able to massage it though.
5. Warm Shower
Standing in the warm shower with the water running on your clog can also help break it up. The heat is great for getting clogs out because it can loosen up the milk. Laying in the warm bath can work as well.
6. Heat Pack
A microwavable heat pack or rice bag works the same as standing in the shower. The heat will loosen up the milk and break up the clog. So, lay down on the couch and kick your feet up with a heat pack on you.
7. Enlist Your Partner’s Help
Many women will not admit that they’ve used this method. The above items helped get my clog out this time, but I have used my husband in the past. A few years back I had a clog that was very bad. I was on the verge of Mastitis and the pain was horrible. It had been almost a week and no matter what I tried; I could not get my clog out. My daughter was very young and her suck just did not seem strong enough.
My husband volunteered up his services. He was able to pull the clog out and just spit the milk into a cup. He is not embarrassed to say he helped me and if he didn’t, it could have gotten much worse.
There you have it, all of the ways I have been able to get rid of clogged milk ducts. I’m sure there are many more out there to try as well.
Any tips or tricks to get rid of clogged milk ducts that you tried that worked?
Feel free to share your advice below.