Breastfeeding should be easy right?? Well if your like many new moms who suddenly start having pain you know that isn’t always the case. The first signs of trouble are soreness (not from inexperienced latching) and maybe even a lump. This is the beginning of a blocked duct which if left untreated can move into the more serious problem of a breast infection which is called mastitis. Symptoms of mastitis are very similar to the flu- achy, fever but with usually an added component of pain in the breast, lumps and even engorgement.
Note: Nursing mothers can take Silicea 6X cell salts daily (not homeopathic remedy), to prevent recurring mastitis
I’ve starred the most common remedies and put them first and bolded the symptoms that are most important when deciding between them. The remedies should work within a short amount of time. If the pain is not resolved within 24 hours then it’s time to call a Homeopath.
*Belladonna: Use this remedy if there is a sudden onset with rapidly rising fever. This is not a remedy that takes days to manifest. The breast is hot to touch, engorged, swollen, congested — red, hot breast. Throbbing pain in the breasts. The pain is worse from jarring. The right side is often more affected. The breast may have red streaks like sun rays extending out from the nipple
*Hepar Sulph: the breasts are very prone to abscess. Extreme sensitivity to the least touch; mothers can’t stand for the baby to nurse. Complaints are worse from cold and exposure to the least draft, and better from warmth. Person feels chilly. This is a good remedy when there just isn’t a lot of distinguishing symptoms.
*Phytolacca: This is the most common remedy for about 50% of mastitis & blocked duct cases. Breasts become lumpy, with hard knots or nodules, the nipples cake. Sore, fissured nipples. *Intense pain in the breast as soon as the baby takes hold of the nipple. The pain often extends to the underarm or it can *radiate over the whole body. Affects more often the *right breast. Damp heat relieves, such as local poultices (including warm cabbage leaves which can be helpful). Some patients may have flu-like symptoms as well.
If the others don’t work:
Arnica: Use this remedy if the inflammation follows an injury to the breast. Patients feel sore, bruised, and achy. There is fear to have the part touched.
Bryonia: flu like symptoms with general chills and fever, stitching pains in the breast and headache. The breast feels *hard and stony with stitching, needle-like pains. *Any movement aggravates the pain. Usually the breast are not red as in Belladonna. The patient will be quite irritable. Very frequently the patient will experience dizziness or faintness on rising from bed. There is strong thirst and not infrequently constipation.
Croton tiglium: This remedy hasexcruciating pain in the nipple which extends straight through to the back (at the level of the shoulder) with each suck of the baby. The breasts are very inflamed, swollen, and hard. The nipples may crack.
Lac-canium: hypersensitivity to even the *slightest touch of clothing on the breasts; jarring also aggravates.
Mercurius: *fever, chills, and perspiration without relief; the patient alternates between hot and cold, uncovering and covering.
For dosing start with 30C, two to three times a day, until improvement sets in; then observe progress without taking further remedy as long as improvement continues. Repeat the remedy for apparent relapse. If the 30C potency of a given remedy acts well, but later ceases to help and the symptoms remain similar to previously, go up in potency to 200C. Do NOT take more than one day of repeated doses of a 200C remedy without professional help. Again, if this isn’t resolved in 24 hours it’s probably time to get professional help.
Tips to help prevent blocked ducts and mastitis:
- Check bra isn’t cutting in and causing blocked duct. Go braless
- rest more
- apply hot and cold compress alternately on sore breast. Every 2-4 hours for 5-10 minutes
- increase fluid intake
- breastfeed more often and position baby in variety of directions
- massage breast as baby feeds (especially at let down- prickly sensation) Massage from hight point to nipple
- use breast pump if baby isn’t feeding much and breast are engorged
- position baby’s nose pointing in direction of blocked duct. So if blocked duct is left lower, feed with baby’s nose facing left lower.
- breastfeed from affected side first to clear and then alternate
- Don’t stop breastfeeding!
**Caution – I have seen many articles by well meaning, though not professional people, referencing the use of Homeopathic Sulphur for mastitis and I just want to comment that Sulphur is deep and long acting and really should be used with professional help.