MASTITIS – My antibiotic free protocol!

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    Here is what you need to know about mastitis!

    “Mastitis is a spectrum of conditions resulting from ductal inflammation and stromal odema” Academy of Breastfeeding Medicin (ABM) Protocol #36(Link)

    Inflammation and odema can cause the ducts within the breasts to narrow and become congested. This can lead to Mastitis. The main causes of Mastitis: Hyperlactation (oversupply or too much milk) Microbial factors such as mammary dysbiosis or changes to the milk microbiome. Use of antibiotics, genetics and underlying medical conditions.

    Ducts within the breasts are like a web. Intertwined and countless. Therefore it is impossible for one single duct to become blocked. The hard lump experienced when a blocked duct is perceived is mostly likely due to congestion in that area due to ductal narrowing.

    In the past if someone presented with Mastitis or a blocked duct the advice was always to feed feed feed or pump on the affected breasts. Massage deeply or use vibrating tools (especially for blocked ducts). But now we know feeding or pumping excessively on the affected side increases milk production on that side. This can add to the problem.

    Excess milk in an already inflamed and congested area can cause further congestion. Increasing the pressure within the breast, narrowing the ducts and worsening the inflammation.

    Hard massage or vibration tools can also increase inflammation in the area. If the tissue is already inflamed hard massage can cause further damage to the area and worsen the problem. Heat is also not recommended. Heat brings more blood flow to the area and can increase inflammation.

    So what do I recommend?

    • Use a cold compress between feeds to reduce swelling. 
    • Take pain relief if necessary. Ibuprofen has the added bonus of helping relieve swelling. Paracetamol is also safe and can help with a temperature. Do not take aspirin. 
    • Continue to feed frequently with a deep latch. Try a variety of positions. But try not to add extra feeds or pumping as this can cause and over supply. If you cannot bear to feed then make sure you pump. 
    • A warm compress can be use before and during the feed can help the milk flow
    • Some gentle breast compressions during the feed can help the milk flow.
    • Deep massage is no longer recommended as it increases inflammation and can also damage the delicate ductal structures within the breast. This includes with vibration. Instead try gentle breast gymnastics and lymphatic breast massage. My YouTube on this is linked below!
    • Rest – There are some things that the ABM recommends that personally I don’t, like the use of sunflower lecithin. Check out my highlight “Sunflower lecithin” for more info on that. I recommend choline instead which work in the same way to reduce the stickiness of your milk without impacting your gut microbiome.

    Another thing that the ABM fails to address is NUTRITION!

    • Nutrition is HUGE for fighting inflammation and preventing infection and improving your breast microbiome. They did mention the two strains of probiotics which has been shown to help with a healthy breast microbiome and helping with mastitis: Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus salivarius) strains, but there are many other things you can take to strengthen your body and reduce inflammation. For me I also like to advise including prebiotic rich foods and drinks like kimchi and kefir
    • I personally recommend 2-3 garlic cloves maybe twice a day or when you remember, high dose vitamin C, increased your electrolytes via electrolyte powder but also you can drink coconut water, bone broth and try soup with turmeric and ginger (both anti inflammatories). I’m so happy that my protocol has already helped so many of you.

    IF YOU DO NOT SEE AN IMPROVEMEMT IN SYMPTOMS within 12-24 hours go to the GP for milk sampling and possible antibiotics.

    Written by Kitty Hackel

    Birth and Postpartum Doula

    Owner of Birth Baby Beyond

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