Tips for the Tits of a Red Hot Mama

Tips for the Tits of a Red Hot Mama

We all share our parenting problems with mama mates. Relying on tried and tested tricks of the trade, handed down, to tackle all our parenting problems. So after writing about mastitis, we have collaborated with some Hot Mamas to write a helpful hints post. It turns out that unlike the blocked milk, the advice was flowing. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast, caused by blocked milk ducts; which is why it is common in breastfeeding mamas. Bacteria colonise the duct leading to mastitis aka

“The Grinch of breastfeeding 

Recognising a blocked duct and preventing mastitis is best. But recognition can be difficult:

“I thought I was dying from a post birth plague”

So if you feel unwell -  Hunt the Lump. A blocked duct is painful, red, swollen and hard, you may have reduced milk flow and feeding will be nippy (understatement). If the duct is infected, aka mastitis, you will develop other symptoms: headache, nausea and vomiting, fever, rigours (the shakes), muscle aches: Basically similar to the world’s worst flu, our very own #birdflu.

If you have mastitis you need antibiotics ASAP. Mastitis can develop into an abscess which requires surgical drainage. So we are talking complementary not alternative measures:

  • Rest; mwahahaha….. but I’m serious. You’re no good to anyone, get to bed.
  • Take to the shower and massage the duct. I used a flannel or my knuckles but others have suggested combs with a touch of oil to avoid scratching. Start from the outside and work into the nipple. Pushing the blocked milk through the duct and hopefully out!
  • Hot flannels or a hot water bottle will sooth pain if you don’t have the energy to get into the shower.
  • Hand expressing to relieve the pressure and aid latch. One Hot Mama suggested the use of an electric toothbrush to unblock the duct!
  • Feed Feed Feed off the blocked boob. Lots of Hot Mamas suggested the “dangle feed”; If your baby is small try putting them on their backs and kneel on all fours over them to feed (like a cow). This will help drain the breast, but does nothing for your self-esteem.
  • Massage the boob before feeding. When your mini pauses during the feed, use this time to run your thumb over the lump towards the nipple.
  • Lots of Hot Mamas suggested supplements and homemade remedies including: Lecinthin; Poke Root Tincture; Raw Garlic; Coconut oil; probiotics; vegan prenatal supplement. Be sure to check they don’t interfere with any other medications you are taking.
  • Cabbage leaves (savoy or white) contain an anti-inflammatory property and help with engorgement, sadly in my case they just left me in a big soggy mess and stinking of hot cabbage. And, in Germany they apply quark (like cottage cheese) – new to me too!

Avoidance if possible: “Try to maintain happy boobs”

  • A well fitted bra is essential. Poorly fitted bras can put pressure on the ducts, same goes for feeding tops! (for you Glasgow Mamas try bossombuddies - for a home service)
  • Avoid sleeping on your front. (sob - just after nine months on your back – which lets face it, is how all this started).
  • Mix up feeding positions to help drain all the ducts.

Finally a note to the partners of our red hot mamas. “I don’t think there is anything worse than sleep deprivation and mastitis”. You have no idea how horrendous a mama can feel when she has mastitis. She is doing a full time job, with no breaks, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On top of that she is fighting off a serious infection. Please help her and support her in every way possible. And for you Red Hot Mamas:  “accept the help – say Yes Please” because it takes “an army of helpers” to get you back up and running.

Our authors: Kate and Rosie with help from Sturdymomcentral, Themilliejones, _katygray, Rachel Tilston, Domi Robin, Katie C, Hayley Farrell, Rachel Ellis, Crystal Enriquez de Anda, Olivia Jones, mumma_bears_it_all, Kat_ma_, Michelle Young, Livmcbrown, borderstories.

Thank you Mamas

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