Friday, March 5, 2010

Breastfeeding, Clogged Ducts, Mastitis and Lecithin

What a title! I've got a lot to say on the subject, but I'll try to be brief...

First, I have only one comment on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is best. However, as Sally Fallon Morell wisely points out: a mother's breastmilk can only be as nutritious as her diet. Where else would the nutritious components of mother's milk come from?

Second. Have you ever had a clogged duct? I am assuming that all women who nurse have experienced this discomfort at some point. Often it is due to engorgement, constrictive clothing or sudden changes in the baby's nursing habits. But, you know, sometimes you just get them for seemingly no reason at all! At least, that has been my experience. But then again, I do have an abundant supply of milk, so maybe I am prone to plugged ducts.

Which leads me to my third thought. Have your clogged ducts ever turned into mastitis? YIKES STRIPES. Talk about an all of a sudden, on your back, roaring fever! Not fun. Especially because there is a baby (and possibly other children) to take care of while you feel so rotten.

I have had mastitis with all of my five babies. It never lasts long because when I notice the clogged duct and the fever just beginning to take hold, I take mega doses of Vitamin C, Nutriferon and Garlic. That seems to wipe out the mastitis within 24 hours, and then I only have the clogged duct to massage away.

Well, after having mastitis twice in the first six weeks of Tickle's life, I asked myself "WHY?" Why does my milk clog? Is there anything that can be done to prevent the clogged ducts and the subsequent mastitis? I emailed the La Leche League and received a very helpful answer.

I was told that Lecithin works to prevent milk from clogging. Lecithin is a common food additive that is used to emulsify. It keeps the fats and oils in mother's milk suspended evenly, which makes the milk less sticky.

I started taking a daily dose of Lecithin and had no more clogged ducts for the remainder of my nursing relationship with Tickle (from six weeks to eighteen months).

Fast forward to last month. Superman was three weeks old, and I got mastitis. I took care of it quickly. Then, the next week I got it again from a clogged duct on the other side! Again, I took care of it and stopped to ask myself "WHY?" I felt a little dim-witted. I had not remembered the Lecithin until after two cycles of the crazy fever! Sheesh.

I started up on Lecithin again. Hopefully, my results this time around will be the same as with Tickle. At least, so far I haven't had a clogged duct again.


Today is my sweet Rainbow's 10th birthday. As usual, she is choosing her meals for the day. (Read my theory on that privilege here.) Time permitting, I'll be posting the recipe and photos for her Egg Toasters breakfast and her Breakfast Burrito supper on Monday. Yes, I am allowing her to have eggs at two meals! She only has one birthday a year. :-)

Here is a photo of this precious girl holding her baby brother the first week of his life:

Have a great weekend!


Kristi Lea said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! We had a birthday yesterday, and she picked homemade lasanga for her meal! Everyone wanted the white noodles, but I did sneak in some organic pasta sauce, and lean ground turkey instead of beef! Our friends brought over a salad that was beyond words!

Cascia said...

Happy Birthday to your little girl! I had mastititis a couple of months ago. It was so painful and I don't wish it upon anyone! Thanks for sharing these tips.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Amber said...

My fourth baby was born on Dec 14th and is now 11 weeks old. I had Mastitis 4 times this time! My first case was when she was a week old and then 3 more times after that till she was 8 weeks old. I haven't had another case and she's now 11 weeks! PTL! Since the last bout I have been taking 1200 mgs a day of lecithin and it seems to help in preventing for sure. I also wanted to mention that I took Grapefruit seed extract when I had a bad case DURING a course of antibiotics...they just stopped working!
Anyways, just thought I would share that in addition to the things you posted.
I have also been taking kefir and yogurt daily to build my immune system back up since having so many infections in such a short period took its tool.

Glad to hear you are over yours as well! Its an AWFUL thing to have with several children and a newborn!

Noel said...

awwww, that's such a sweet picture

Happy Birthday Rainbow!

Anonymous said...

I had mastitis for the first time last year with my 4th baby. It was horrible! I haven't had a fever like that in years. One day it was so bad I had to call my mom and ask her to pick up my other 3 kids because I could barely move. And I didn't know anything about the natural remedies that you mentioned. Glad I will know for the future :)

Erica Miller

Amanda said...

Hello. I came across your blog when I googled about treating mastitis. I had it three times in the first 6 weeks of nursing my son and on both sides. It was more painful than child birth to me :( I don't have insurance to go see a doctor for antibiotics and would like to think I can treat it myself through home remedies like the one you posted about. Soo after I read your blog I just went to the store and bought the garlic pills, Lichathin, grape seed complex-they didn't have grapefruit seed extract, vitamin c pills-500 mg each. I couldnt find the nutriferon unfortunately. I was just wondering like how much and when and how often to take all the supplements based on your own experience? The labels say like one pill three times a day for one. Just any advice you can give would be so helpful. I'm really hoping I can kick this mastitis asap!!! Im still nursing on the infected side and am going to apply warm patches between feedings and try a hot shower later. You can email me at iuprincess07@yahoo com. My name is Amanda. I'm a stay at home mom to a 2 1/2 yr old & 5 month old. It's just weird all of a sudden after nursing so welk and so often, I rarely get engorged because he eats so often even at night so I'm not sure what caused it!!! I'm definitely taking the Lechithin from now on though because I wanted to nurse for at least a year! Thanks so much.