This blog is written by Rochelle Hammond and outlines some practical steps to take during a bout of mastitis. Rochelle is a scientist, educator and acupuncturist based in Sydney, Australia. She practices out of West Street Wellbeing Clinic in Cammeray - their details can be found here
The companion article to this blog (Breastfeeding and Lactogenic Foods) has been published by my colleague Ellen Turchini and can be found here. Together they are intended as a brief guide to breastfeeding and treating common issues such as poor milk production and painful breasts at home with nutrition and acupressure.
Mastitis can come on quite suddenly and you might feel sweaty and like you are coming down with flu-like symptoms. If the blocked duct is not relieved or cleared, the pressure from the blockage can force the milk into the adjacent tissue and you can feel pain in the breast, your nipples may be cracked and sore or you may be able to feel hard lumps.
When the milk duct becomes blocked the local area will become reddened and sore owing to the build-up of pressure. If not relieved, this could lead to mastitis, infection or even a breast abscess. It is very important to continue feeding and massage the lumps to relieve the pressure.
We've included simple acupressure and nutrition tips for you to try at home. to ease your sore and inflamed breasts. We’ve also included recipes to nourish and warm your body and to help you to prevent colic.
FENNEL & DILL TEA TO PREVENT COLIC
Steep seeds in 6 teaspoons of boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and give baby ó teaspoons before every feed. Make fresh daily
TREATING MASTITIS WITH NUTRITION
Hydration: with increased demand for fluid while breast feeding make sure you staying hydrated by having lots of water, nourishing soups, and Fenugreek or Fennel & Dill herbal tea and Barley Water to benefit lactation and digestion of the mother and baby.
Probiotics: Qiara is a special probiotic that contains a single probiotic strain originally isolated from healthy human breast milk. Taking Qiara may reduce discomfort associated with breast pain and mastitis, and may reduce the recurrence of mastitis by targeting and outcompeting bad bacteria in breast milk that may be causing the pain and infection and restoring the beneficial bacteria to help prevent recurrence. If you’ve been given antibiotics we highly recommend getting probiotics into both yourself and baby.
TUMERIC & PREVENTING MASTITIS
Half teaspoon of turmeric per day can help with increasing your milk supply as well as preventing breast infection.
ACUPRESSURE TO RELIEVE MASTITIS
The following acupressure points for relieving mastitis pain and improving milk flow can be practiced with you sitting down comfortably in a chair and some even applied while you are breastfeeding.
SMALL INTESTINE 11: SCAPULA POINT
Press for 3-5 mins twice a day and when you are feeding
Location: first find the top of the arm pit crease (SI9) and directly above that under the shoulder bone (SI10). Make an equilateral triangle using these points as in the diagram and you will find SI11 in the centre of the shoulder blade (scapula),
Benefits: breast problems, mastitis, insufficient lactation, breast pain, emotional issues, anxiety, expands and relaxes the chest
GALL BLADDER 21: TOP OF SHOULDER POINT
Use firm downward pressure with the thumb, knuckle or elbow. Press for 5 mins 2-3 times a day for milk let down.
WARNING: DO NOT USE BEFORE WEEK 38
Location: find the centre of the back bone at the base of the neck and then locate the outside tip of the shoulder bone. The shoulder point is located half way between on the crest of the shoulder muscle (trapezius).
TIP: You can find the point on yourself by crossing your hands over the chest to feel the top of shoulder muscle.
Benefits: Assists childbirth, relieves pain, allows for the baby to descend and drop into the pelvis, encourages milk flow for breastfeeding, irritability, fatigue, shoulder tension
Black Sesame Oil Chicken Soup
Chicken soup made using the bones, ginger, black sesame oil and rice wine has a long tradition in Chinese culture for its nourishing and blood building qualities. This recipe creates a rich and tasty broth that is stimulating to the senses, warming to the stomach and enlivening to the soul.
7g fresh ginger root
4 tablespoons black sesame oil
4 pieces of halved organic chicken leg (butcher can chop the legs)
pinch of salt
1 bottle rice wine
With a mallet or the flat side of a butcher knife, pound the ginger root until it flattens, exposing the soft, fleshy part inside the root. Pour the black sesame oil into a heated stainless steel pot. Swirl the oil around the pot to cover the bottom and heat for about 15–20 seconds. Add the ginger and stir it around for about 10–15 seconds. Add the chicken and the salt. Stir-fry until the chicken is half cooked. Pour the rice wine into the pot until it covers the chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to cook about 1 hour or until the chicken is done. Pour the broth and a few pieces of chicken over brown rice or rice noodles and enjoy.
ROCHELLE K HAMMOND
Bachelor Health Science in Trad. Chinese Medicine (UTS)
Bachelor Science Chemistry (UWA)
Grad Dip Education (UNE)
Find me: West Street Wellbeing
The information included in this guide has been compiled from a number of sources including:
Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth, by Zita West
The Golden Month, by Jenny Allison
Treating Mastitis at Home, online article by The Red Tent Mums, Naomi Abeshouse and Rebecca
Warnings have been provided against the use of specific acupressure points prior to 38 weeks of pregnancy.
Copyright 2018 Rochelle K Hammond