Breastfeeding mothers know how difficult it is to deal with mastitis, the infections that stem from a blocked milk duct. It is usually associated with lactation, so it is also called lactational mastitis or puerperal mastitis. It can occasionally be fatal if inadequately treated. Alternatively, you can try some home remedies, such as garlic, Echinacea and cabbage leaves to relieve or reduce the mastitis pain and tenderness. Keep reading to learn more about the magic of cabbage leaves-mastitis cure.
Breastfeeding and Mastitis
As mentioned, mastitis refers to breast inflammation caused by an infection in the milk duct. It usually affects breastfeeding moms in early days of feeding. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible because the infection can spread and affect the lymph nodes under armpits.
You develop mastitis when you do not empty your breasts completely during a feed. The milk in your breasts may back up and leak into the breast tissue. This leads to an infection and even makes your nipples irritated. You need to bear in mind that mastitis usually affects one breast only and it may become warm. In some cases, you may develop in both breasts with other issues like chills, fever, and body aches. You are more likely to develop it if you have dealt with it in the past. It is important to keep cracked nipples clean if mastitis is a recurrent problem for you.
Do Cabbage Leaves Really Help with Mastitis?
Yes, it does. That is mainly because the common green cabbage contains sinigrin rapine, magnesium, mustard oil, Sulphur heterosides, and oxalate. It is due to these nutrients that cabbage has anti-irritant and antibiotic properties. Cabbage leaves eliminate infection and help decrease tissue congestion by opening small blood vessels.
Many women have reported benefits of simply placing a raw cabbage leaf in the bra right over the infection site. This helps reduce inflammation because it works as a cold compress. Interestingly, the cabbage leaves for mastitis also play a role in unclogging the milk duct. This flushes the infection and relieves breast tenderness.
Cabbage Leaves, Mastitis Cure! How to Use?
- Take a few cabbage leaves and place them in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Take a cold cabbage leaf and place it right over the infected breast.
- Leave it there for several minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
- Replace with a new cold leaf and repeat a few times every day.
You need to be careful when using cabbage leaves for mastitis, especially when you have low milk supply. These leaves can dry up your milk and make things worse. They work for mastitis because reducing the supply actually helps.
More Natural Remedies for Mastitis
In addition to using cabbage leaves, mastitis can be treated by some other natural remedies as well.
It has natural antibiotic properties and helps eliminate infection-causing bacteria. It also boosts your immune system and accelerates recovery.
Simply eat a couple of raw cloves of garlic on an empty stomach. If you do not like its taste, have it with plain water or orange juice.
It boosts your immune system to help your body fight off infections. The presence of flavonoids gives it antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Take the tincture of Echinacea root and apply it directly on the infected area 4-5 times a day. Be sure to clean the area with warm water before you feed your baby.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that fight infection, reduce inflammation, and prevent infection from spreading.
Take 2 parts warm water and 1part apple cider vinegar and make a solution. Apply it on your infected breast with a cotton ball. Leave it for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Repeat a couple of times daily for effect.
4. Foods with Vitamin C
Your body uses vitamin C to help repair damaged skin tissues. It is also beneficial against breast infection.
Include foods like lemons, limes, oranges, guavas, kiwis, kale, strawberries, broccoli, mustard greens, and parsley in your diet. Taking vitamin C supplements may also help, but talk to your doctor first.
You should massage the affected breast to help relieve swelling. Massage will help unblock the clogged milk ducts and reduce pain and tenderness.
Mix equal amounts of wheat germ and apricot oil, use it to massage your breasts gently. Be sure to move from the outer breast to your nipples. Move in small circles. Use warm water to clean your nipples before breastfeeding.
6. Hot and Cold Compresses
When you are using cabbage leaves, mastitis also can be treated by hot and cold compresses to accelerate healing. A cold compress will help reduce swelling, whereas a hot compress works great to clear blockage and improve blood circulation.
Wrap a few ice cubes in a towel to prepare a cold compress – you can wrap a hot water bottle in a towel to prepare a hot compress. Place hot compress on your affected area for 15 minutes. Now, apply the cold compress for 5 minutes. Repeat a couple of times.
How to Prevent Mastitis
To avoid mastitis, you should take steps to avoid developing mastitis in the first place. Here are some steps to take:
- Be sure to empty breasts completely during feeds. If your baby is not drinking enough, use a pump to empty breasts.
- Be sure to position your baby properly to avoid nipple cracking that leads to irritation and infection.
- Do not wear tight fitting clothing, especially underwire bras, to prevent clogged duct.
- Get plenty of rest, drink water and other fluids, and eat balanced diet to stay away from infections.