For Nursing Moms

The Dreaded Mastitis

Having nursed two babies for a total of 32 months, I experienced Mastitis twice. In my post about Blocked Milk Ducts, I said that I had never had a blocked duct turn into mastitis and I stand by that statement. That is because for me Mastitis and blocked milk ducts were totally separate.

I got mastitis once when my first baby was 11 months old. It felt exactly how everyone had described it. I felt very suddenly like I had been hit by a truck. I had a fever and a sore, hot boob. Strangely my boob was not necessarily as hard as it had been when I’d experienced a blocked milk duct. I immediately went to the doctor and was given Ibuprofen 600mg pills and antibiotics. I was instructed to take the Ibuprofen 3 times a day to help flush out all the inflammation and I had to take the antibiotics the prescribed amount (probably also 3 times a day.) This worked and I was good as new within a few days or a week. I kept nursing the entire time as well.

The second time it happened was when my second baby was nearly a year old. This time it came suddenly on a Friday evening. I knew what it was immediately. My normal doctor’s office was closed but I didn’t feel like going to urgent care. I decided to try a home remedy.

I took the same amount of ibuprofen recommended to me by the doctor the first time it had happened and more importantly I took raw garlic (cut up and swallowed like a pill) 3-4 times a day.

If you do a little research you’ll find that Garlic is an anti-bacterial and anti-viral.

I decided to try it for this weekend. If the infection wasn’t gone by Monday I would go to the doctor. I fought the fever Friday and Saturday, not feeling great, but Sunday morning the fever was gone. The boob wasn’t hot anymore. The pain and swelling were significantly reduced so much that I really had no reason to visit the doctor on Monday.

**I am not a medical doctor.** I have only done some reading and had this experience for myself. I share this with you in the event that you are in a pinch. Perhaps this is happening to you on an evening or weekend. Perhaps you’re scouring the internet in the middle of the night wondering what to do. This is something that can help you to keep yourself healthy until you can see your doctor.

The only side effect of the garlic is that it has a powerful smell so you will have bad breath. Some people could also experience a stomach ache but it’s not something that has ever bothered me.

Good luck Mama

Remedy for a blocked milk duct

For the last nine months, I have experienced what I call “a hard boob,” about a million times.  Well maybe not a million, more like once a week in the beginning and once every couple of weeks these days. It simply means that one of the milk ducts in the breast has become blocked and painful. Here is the remedy from the midwife that has worked again and again for me.


clean thin kitchen towel or piece of cotton fabric

a few small potatoes

boiling water

quark or cottage cheese


Boil a few small potatoes and mash them.

Spread your clean kitchen towel or thin piece of cloth out on the counter. Put a large spoon full of the potatoes on the towel.  You can spread them into a horizontal line if your entire breast is hard.  Then roll the towel around the potatoes a few times-  it should look like a snake.  Lay the potato snake around your entire breast (with the nipple in the middle).  If you only have one area of soreness you can simply put a spoon full in the middle of the towel and mash it flat. Fold the towel in such a way that the potatoes don’t fall out.You don’t want to have too many layers between your skin and the potatoes. You want to feel the warmth but you don’t want to burn yourself. I have tried using plastic wrap but it wasn’t as effective as having warm potatoes directly in the towel and then on the skin. Use your nursing bra to hold your towel/potato packet in place and be careful that it isn’t too hot. Leave it on your breast until its not warm anymore. After that, remove the potato towel and massage the hard part of your breast a little bit. Next, nurse your baby or use the breast pump to get the milk out.

After you nurse or pump you can use something cooling to relieve the pain and inflammation a little bit. This will also help to get things back to normal a bit quicker. We use Quark here as a pain reliever and inflammation reducer. Quark is a soft cheese but I have heard that cottage cheese will work similarly if you are in the US and have no access to Quark.

Apply the quark the same way you applied the potatoes.  Some of the wetness of the quark or the cottage cheese will come through the towel and that is good and helpful.

When a block duct occurs, I go through this routine a few times throughout the day. It gets progressively better and is usually gone the next day. I would recommend starting as soon as your boob feels hard. I have been lucky using this technique and it has never progressed to mastitis.

Please let me know if this works for you and feel free to share any of your nursing or baby remedies.