Breast infection (also known as mastitis) is an infection of the woman’s breast tissue that appears most frequently during breastfeeding. It can happen when bacteria, usually from the mouth of the baby, enter a milk duct throughout a crack in the nipple.
The Most Effective Home Remedies for Breast Infection
A breast infection can usually be successfully treated with home remedies. Most women make a full recovery really quickly just by using self-care methods, as:
- Cold and Hot Compresses
Both cold and hot compresses are very useful in the mastitis treatment. While a cold compress can relieve the pain and reduce swelling, a hot compress can help to clear the blockage, and improve blood circulation and milk flow.
- Prepare a cold compress: Wrap some ice cubes in a cotton towel and apply on the affected area.
- Prepare a hot compress: Wrap a warm water bottle in a cotton towel and apply on the affected area.
In the case of mastitis, you should massage the affected area. This will unblock the plugged milk duct and relieve pain and swelling. You should always try to massage from the outer breast to the nipple in slight circles, putting more pressure on the painful area.
- Make a massage oil by combing together some wheat germ and apricot oil, and massage your breast a few times throughout the day.
- Alternatively, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3-4 drops of camphor oil and massage your infected breast.
Note: After the massage, clean your nipples with lukewarm water before breastfeeding the baby.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has powerful pain-relieving properties, which can help reduce the discomfort of mastitis. It also aids repair injured skin tissue and cure infected skin.
- Extract the juice from one aloe Vera leaf and apply it on the infected breast. Leave it to dry on its own. Wash off with warm water and dry with a cotton towel. Repeat a few times during the day.
- Fenugreek Seeds
In accordance to Ayurveda medicine, these seeds can stimulate the milk-producing glands and treat mastitis. Fenugreek seeds contain flavonoids that can also aid reduce inflammation and infection.
- Soak 3-4 tablespoons fenugreek seeds in some spring water and leave it overnight. The next morning, simply grind the soaked fenugreek seeds into a nice paste. Then, put the paste on a cotton towel and warm it a little bit in the microwave. After that use it as a warm compress on the affected area.
- Alternatively, you can also consume a cup of fenugreek tea 3-4 times per day until you feel better.
- Cabbage Leaves
These leaves have calming properties and are traditionally used for inflamed and infected breasts. They contain sulfur compounds, which helps reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Just put a few cabbage leaves in a fridge for 25-30 minutes. When the leaves are cold, take one cabbage leaf and apply it on the affected area. When the leaf is not cold any more, you should replace it with a cold one. Do this a few times per day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for inflamed, especially for itchy nipples. It has amazing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help fight infection, reduce inflammation and prevent it from further spreading.
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of water. Apply the mixture on the infected breast using a clean cotton ball, or lean over the cup of water and soak your nipple. This will bring you immediate relief. Repeat this 2 more times through the day.
- Alternatively, combine 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Consume this a few times per day.
- Additional Remedies
You can also use some of these effective home remedies:
- Vitamin C (3000-4000 mg/day mega-dose) or consume more fruits (and vegetables) that contain great amounts of this vitamin, as oranges, lemons, lame, or other citrus fruits
- Tincture of Oregon grape root (3-4 times per day)
- Tincture of Echinacea (3-4 times per day)
- A warm bath and shower
- Ibuprofen or paracetamol
If your condition doesn’t improve after using these natural remedies for a period of 12- 48 hours’ maximum, you should see your doctor. You may need certain antibiotic treatments.
- Calcium/magnesium Supplements
Some women experience a drop in milk supplies from mid-cycle (ovulation) until the first day of their next menstrual period. The blood calcium level gradually drops during that period of time, and for certain women, the drop in blood calcium is a reason for the drop in milk supplies. For women with this issue, calcium/magnesium supplement may be truly helpful. This will also help eliminate the uterine cramping and the premenstrual discomfort (as water retention).
- Homeopathic Remedies
Though there is very little professional literature in this particular field of homeopathic remedies, our research and reading have led us to the conclusion that these treatments pose very minimal risk to the nursing baby.
Homeopathic remedies are reportedly really safe for breastfeeding moms and babies because the cures (by definition of homeopathy) comprise only dilute versions of the active materials. Numerous lactation experts have used and recommended homeopathic treatments to their patients.
Most professionals believe that homeopathic treatments are unlikely to pose an issue for the nursing toddler and mother.
Self-care methods can help you deal with a breast infection. Before you decide to visit a doctor try some of these effective natural treatments. If your mastitis symptoms are not improving after 12-48 hours of usage you need to visit your doctor immediately. Your GP will prescribe antibiotics that will help you. With self-care techniques and adherence to your GP’s directions, you will reduce the risks of a breast infection recurrence.