Thursday, 22 January 2015

How I Beat Mastitis Without Antibiotics

Elliott is ten months old now, and so imagine my surprise (and annoyance!) last week when I came down with a case of mastitis. You may remember that I had mastitis twice before- once when Elliott was less than two weeks old which hit in full force. As much as I resisted at first I had no choice but to take antibiotics to clear it up. And then I got it a second time a few weeks later. I recognized the warning signs and was able to nip it in the bud with Vitamin C before developing a fever.

This time around it hit hard and fast, but I was able avoid antibiotics. I wanted to write a post detailing exactly what I did in the hopes that it will be helpful for someone else in the future.
First of all, you may wonder why I would even attempt to avoid antibiotics. Medicine is there to make us well! I agree, and there is absolutely a time and place for antibiotics, but if they can be avoided, so can a slew of problems that go along with them. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your gut- both good and bad, and we have a LOT of good bacteria in there! Our immune systems are dependent on this good bacteria, and so when we strip it from our body, we are unfortunately also putting our immune system at risk. Of course our gut bacteria can be restored with a healthy diet and the help of probiotics, but my concern was more for Elliott than myself. Because I am still breastfeeding any antibiotics that I take will also affect him, and I am much happier to just avoid them altogether.

Ok, ok, back to what happened!

I wasn't feeling great all day Friday- really tired and run down. I attributed it to the poor sleep I had the night before and just went about my day normally. I did note in the morning that my one breast felt a bit tender, but didn't think too much of it. Chris came home from school around 2 that day and I had to leave shortly to take Elliott to the chiropractor. I complained to Chris just how tired I was and even asked for his help hetting Elliott dressed to go out. Leaving the house, even for such a simple task took a LOT out of me. Once I got home around 3:30 pm I told Chris how unwell I was feeling and that I felt like I was coming down with something and needed to take a nap. I headed to bed and it hit me all at once as I climbed under the sheets- unmistakable fever chills. I put two and two together with my sore breast and knew right away that it was mastitis. 

By the time I was falling asleep I had a fever and a headache and my breast was much more sore. Thankfully I was able to sleep for two full hours and woke up feeling much better. In hindsight, I was somewhat fooled by the turnaround and thought perhaps I caught it so early that I wasn't going to experience much else. I took 2500 mg of Vitamin C and some echinacea and ate dinner. A couple hours later and I was feeling pretty horrible all over again. My headache was unbearable without meds so I took Tylenol, then drank tons of water and had some peppermint tea. I also rubbed Oregano oil on the bottoms of my feet and Lavendar oil on my breast twice before bed. 

The night ended up being pretty rough. Elliott woke up only a few hours after I went to bed around and when I woke up to feed him I had a full on fever again. Chris helped me get him back to bed, but then he woke again at 2 and again my fever was in full force. Chris tried to soothe him but unfortunately he woke up completely. After hearing all the crying I was completely awake now too, and I knew I would need Chris more in the morning so I sent him to bed and hunkered down with Elliott on the couch for a while. He finally went back to bed at 4 (yikes!!) and slept until about 7. Chris got up with him and I slept for a few more hours. 

I felt quite a bit better when I woke up, except my breast was now quite red and sore. I knew I needed to hit this thing with everything I had, so here is what I did Saturday:

9 am:
2500 mg Vitamin C
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Raw garlic (1 clove, cut into 5-6 pieces and swallowed like pills)
Oregano Oil on my feet
Lavendar Oil on my breast

I repeated the oils once an hour for about 3 hours. Small and frequent doses are key!

12 pm: another clove of garlic

1 pm: I'm feeling great!! So great in fact that Chris and I decide to go to the mall to return something and we need up doing a little clothes shopping. 

3 pm: We get home and Chris completely crashes from the night before (You can tell he's not used to being up in the night with him!) but I have lots of energy and make dinner. I feel almost completely better except my breast is still very red and sore.

I repeat the oils once every 2 hours between 3 pm and about 10 pm when I go to bed

6 pm:
2500 mg Vitamin C
one last garlic clove to cover my bases

9 pm: after Elliott went to bed I did a potato poultice. This was AMAZING!! I sliced baby potatoes (because that's all I had!) very thinly and placed them in a bowl of cold water. I laid them on the red sore spots on my breast and let them sit until they were dry. I repeated this 3-4 times. After this I went to bed.

3 am: I woke up to feed Elliott and low and behold my breast was no longer red and barely hurt!! 

9 am: Once I woke up for the day (Chris let me sleep in again. What a champ) I felt completely healthy. No pain or redness and no other signs of infection, not even 48 hours after it began.

I'm SO thankful I was able to not only do it without the mess, but also beat it so quickly. As a note, I had promised Chris that if I wasn't better by Sunday I would go in to see the Dr to get a prescription. I'm all for natural methods, but infections are nothing to mess around with. Believe me when I say that I would have no problem taking antibiotics if my natural methods didn't work as well as they did.

Thank for reading- I hope this helps someone out there in Internetland one day!

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