9 Natural Remedies for Mastitis

9 Natural Remedies for Mastitis

A recent 18 hour car ride with all five children (yes, we might be crazy) left me with a case of mastitis. The baby was pretty happy in the car and when the kids are happy, we drive.

The first night, I attributed the tired feeling to altitude sickness and the tightness to not nursing all day, so I went to sleep early. The next morning, I knew something was wrong. That afternoon, I had a large lump forming in my breast and spiked a 104 fever (yay for a strong immune system). I completely understand (and sympathize) with how awful these types of infections are!

I was 1,300 miles from home and my doctor & midwife, and without most of the remedies I would have on hand at home. I wanted to avoid antibiotics if possible, though really bad cases of mastitis can definitely warrant antibiotics (which are a better option than developing an abscess).

I did what I usually do: research like crazy and try any natural remedies that I can while nursing. Four days later and the lump is gone and I don’t have any remaining symptoms. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I could probably have avoided it if I had simply nursed the baby more often.

Since I did get mastitis and had the chance to try a lot of different remedies, these are the ones that worked for me:

Natural Remedies for Mastitis

  1. Rest and Constant Nursing: I’ve heard lactation consultants say that mastitis can be a sign that you are pushing it too hard and need to rest or that you’ve gone too long without nursing. The first step I took when I realized I had mastitis was to go to bed and nurse the baby constantly to keep things flowing through the clogged duct.
  2. Heat and Cold: I found that heat and cold were both useful for helping with the pain. I would apply heat for 15-30 minutes before nursing to help loosen the blockage in the duct and make nursing easier. Then, I’d apply ice after nursing for 15-3o minutes to bring the swelling down. I also took hot baths with epsom salts.
  3. Massage: Sounds strange, but every source I’ve seen touts the benefits of massaging the clogged duct to help release the blockage. I massaged the duct in small circles while baby was nursing.
  4. Lots of Water: Drinking water is extremely important when fighting mastitis. I kept a quart of water near me at all times and sipped constantly to keep my milk supply up and help my body fight the infection.
  5. Raw Garlic: Garlic isn’t the best for baby’s tummy, but it does wonders for infections. I could get organic garlic at the store here, so I took a few cloves a day. I’ve always done this when I get a bad infection or illness and I always get better in a day or so. The easiest way I’ve found to consume this is to finely mince the garlic and then scoop small amounts up with a spoon, put in my mouth and quickly chase with some water.
  6. Cabbage Leaves: I remembered this suggestion from the lactation consultant in the hospital after I’d had one of our kids. I don’t know if it helped with the infection but it felt great on the infected duct and it certainly didn’t hurt. To use this remedy: put a cold cabbage leaf directly on the breast over the site of the infected duct. Change every hour as needed. (NOTE: Some women notice a decrease in milk supply from using cabbage leaves, so be careful with this remedy)
  7. Vitamin C: I always bring Vitamin C when we travel so thankfully I had this on hand. I took 4 capsules of this Pure Radiance Vitamin C every four hours until the infection was gone.
  8. Probiotics: I had probiotics with me as well, so after the infection started to fade, I took large doses of probiotics to help keep my immune system strong. I took 3 capsules of this probiotic twice a day and will continue to for a week before going back to normal dose.
  9. Fermented Cod Liver Oil: Another supplement that I always have with me. I took 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon fermented cod liver oil gel twice a day during the infection.

The Verdict

The first day I realized I had mastitis, I felt awful. I spiked a high fever and had chills and muscle aches like the flu. Within 24 hours of this protocol, the fever had broken and I felt MUCH better.

After 48 hours, all that remained was a small painful lump, and by three days out I was back to normal.

Mastitis can be a serious infection and can lead to more serious problems. Not every case will be helped with natural remedies. I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the internet. If you have symptoms that get worse or don’t go away, see a medical professional.

Ever had mastitis? How did you get rid of it? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I had Mastitis when nursing my second child, twice. What I want to say is i recently developed cancer in the breast that had the mastitis and believe that the damaged cells from the infection were attacked by the cancer cells, since they were already damaged and at risk. I am not a doctor either, but I know my body. Just a reminder that you should get some sort of breast checking done and self-exams are important too. That was the sickest I have ever been when I had Mastitis, not fun, glad you’re better.

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience. I had mastitis while nursing my second child and 30 years later had ductal carcinoma in that same area. I never put the 2 together before.

      • I came here for information on a plugged duct and now I have another reason to keep me awake at night. Mastitis connected to cancer? The sharing is wonderful, but this just scared the Dickens out of me as I have had a few plugged ducts with my second child. Wellness mama, maybe you should do a post on the pursuit of health slowly and insidiously morphing into hypochondria and burgeoning anxiety! I am not joking. I know information is power, but sometimes I feel like all the web searching in the pursuit of health for myself and my family just creates more fear and anxiety than empowerment and peace. Is it just me or does anyone else struggle with this?

        • I completely understand what you are saying… I”ve had to learn to let a lot of it go and just focus on the present without getting too stressed out (easier said than done, I know).

          • I know this post is from April, but I just wanted to share that there has been no causal relationship between women who develop mastitis from breastfeeding to breast cancer. There have been studies on this, and studies have shown that women who develop nonpuerperal-mastitis (not related to pregnancy or breastfeeding) or women with a family history of BC are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer is still significantly lower in women who breastfeed with no increase in lifetime risk of having had multiple episodes of mastitis. Just thought I’d share since I know it can be scary thinking about a possible link between mastitis and BC when developing mastitis is painful enough as it is.

    • I think that it is possible for damaged cells to become cancerous also. My sister died from breast cancer which was discovered only a couple of months after she was hit in the breast by a piece of lumber. (she worked in a mill at the time). I was kicked in the breast by a colt and developed breast cancer a few months later in exactly the same place where the little hoof hit my breast. I think it is important to protect our breasts from injury if possible and of course self breast exams are important every month.

  2. Oh man, yes! I have had the 105 degree fever dreadful mastitis, also while on vacation. I ended up taking antibiotics 🙁 and pounding water and vitamin c. It still took about 48 hours for me to become functional, I would definitely try to avoid antibiotics next time.

  3. glad you’re better! Have you switched Vitamin C and probiotic brands permanently? I started purchasing, through your affiliate links, the vitamin c powder from NOW about a year ago. And I also purchased the other probiotics – Bio-Kult you have talked about many times. Why the changes to the brands listed in this article?

    • The ones I listed are still great options, but I’ve found these new ones that seem slightly better but either option is good 🙂

      • if you was a doctor you’d know that ” … itis …” refers to infection thus if one has a breast infection and uses suckling or nursing as part of mothers’ cure isn’t the baby drinking infected milk?

          • I had a very painful case of mastitis while nursing (because of not nursing frequently enough I believe) and it was relieved by extra suckling. The biggest trick to it though was to position the baby where the lump (clogged duct) was, with the baby’s chin facing the lump. For instance, lump on bottom of breast, baby held in vertical position. Although a little painful during, the nursing in this way stripped the clogged duct and provided almost instant relief. It was recommended by a trusted midwife, and the only thing that helped me.

        • That is a myth, thankfully!

        • I was told by my doctor that it doesn’t infect the milk.

      • Wellness Mama, I want to thank you. I found this article after 24 hrs of chils, night sweats and 103 degree fevers. I knew it was mastitis because I had while breastfeeding my 2 oldest daughters. So this third time I researched for hone remedies. I used just 5 of your 9 remedies and in 48 hours felt relief and in 72 hours I was free of the mastitis. I did the resting and nursing frequently, plus pumping if I felt my baby was too full to nurse at the moment. Also deep tissues massage, looots of water, 2000mg Vitamin C every day, Hot and Cold breast pearls (Lanisoh Thera-Pearl Breast Therapy, bought them at walmart for 14 dollars I believe). Thank you so much for your advice. This mama is a happy mama now 🙂

      • I’ve struggled with recurring plugged ducts and also with mastitis twice. I’ve been doing SO many of these natural remedies and then some (garlic, probiotics, vitamin C, oil of oregano, lecithin, ibuprofen, turmeric, heat, massage, coconut oil mixed with lavender essential oil topically, garlic oil topically, cabbage leaf in bra, potato slices in bra, cold packs, rest, water)
        A tincture by Wish Garden called HAPPY DUCTS!! I was specifically looking for poke root at Whole Foods, which is supposed to be really effective in treating plugged ducts. They didn’t have it plain, but they had this with poke root in it. I’m SO glad I found it! My condition has been noticeably improving since taking this for 24 hours now. Its herbal ingredients are as follows: Usnea lichen, Elder flower, Bee Propolis, Yarrow aerials, Baptisia root, Boneset aerials, Hops strobile, Echinacea root, Red root, & Poke root. Just wanted to share so maybe others can suffer less & heal faster!

  4. I would not recommend cabbage leaves. It can dry up your milk supply. This happened to me personally. Please remove this information from your site, because it can be misleading and their is a lot of misinformation about it on the internet. Thanks.

    • I will add a note by that part, but I didn’t have any adverse reaction to it and I think it could be beneficial for many people…

      • It is possible that milk drying up while using the cabbage leaves was a coincidence. My thinking about be that not drinking enough water or not nursing enough (especially if the breast is extremely painful, thus discouraging nursing) would be more of a contributing factor to milk drying up than cabbage leaves placed on the skin.

        • *my thinking ABOUT THAT would be….

        • My lactation consultant recommended cabbage leaves to dry up breast milk and to help with weaning

      • I have committed to weening my 2.5 year old as of today. I have had mastitis in the past and want to avoid getting it again. I am currently doing cabbage, cold compress, rubbing sage essential oil, drinking sage tea and peppermint tea. Is there anything else I can do to make this process easier? I am engorged and in pain I also feel a clogged duct… We were down to 2-3 feedings a day going down to less was not happening. I know ideally working my way down to 1-0 would have been beneficial but again it was not doable for us. Any additional tips are greatly appreciated.

    • I’m so glad to have seen that cabbage leaves dry up milk, cuz my youngest baby is 19 yrs old !
      I have mastitis, and am going the natural route, along with the antibiotic.
      I’ve “got my cabbage leaves on”…heehee…
      I drank my pineapple juice,
      am using garlic,
      drank peppermint tea, and will have the sea salt each morning, till I’m better..
      I’m grateful for this post, and plan to keep in touch with this website !
      Oh dear. Don’t drink pineapple juice and peppermint tea around the same time.
      My stomach is sick.

  5. I have used heat/cold in combination with massage and extra nursing sessions to fight mastitis. I have also found that if there is an extended period of time that baby won’t be nursing (like a long car ride) that if I hand express some milk from my breasts every few hours it take the pressure off an helps to prevent a blockage & mastitis.

  6. Soy lethicin and soaking my Epsom salts worked wonders for me!

  7. Never had Mastitis but did have the plugged duct. MW recommended all these things plus Emergen-C, Echinacea tincture, and grated raw potato poultice. I was over it in three days, thank God!

  8. I had mastitis a few months ago and did pretty much exactly the same things as you describe here. I find especially the garlic method VERY effective! Yay for natural remedies!

  9. I had recurring mastitis with both my boys. Unfortunately I ended up on antibiotics most of the time because I was pumping not nursing. My first son didn’t latch on till he was 3 months old and my second son was early and in the nicu for a month. When I was able to heal without antibiotics it was always the hot shower and deep deep tissue massage to the affected area while in the shower. I would get out of the shower and pump and almost always I would get relief. For those that have never had it, your lucky. I’ve had it 5 or 6 times with 3 of those times having the high fever, body aches, and chills. Yuck. The things we go through for our precious little ones.

  10. I had mastitis when breastfeeding both my babies due to a massive oversupply of milk. I found that garlic really put the babies off the milk so in my case made it worse! I found ice to be the best thing and the best tip I got was to soak a couple of clean breast pads in water and freeze. That way you can just tuck them in your bra as needed! Also sage tea to slow milk supply.

  11. I just had mastitis last week. I took raw garlic, soaked in epsom salt bath, massaged the area while nursing and applied young living’s Melrose oil and warm compress over the plugged duct and was better in a couple days. I’ve had mastitis several times unfortunatey and I think taking the raw garlic is what really helps the most.

  12. Thanks for the information. I have had mastitis four times in a year, I hope it will not come back, but if it does I know what to do! Thank you and lots of blessings to you and your family.

  13. Great remedies! Just a word on the cabbage leaves…they can decrease milk supply (pretty rapidly in some women).

  14. I’ve had mastitis 3 times!! It is soo terrible, the first time was the absolute worst! However I did lots of research and decided to try out poke root. The next 2 times I felt mastitis coming on I took the poke root and within 12 hours it went away! Magic for me and so happy I found it! ( also tried to rest up! Ate garlic and elderberry syrup to try to boost my immune system) 🙂

  15. Another simple trick I learned is to position the baby’s head so that his or her mouth is pointing in the direction of the infected area. This directs the strongest suck towards the clog. It did wonders for me and was such a simple remedy.

  16. I’m happy you feel better. Mastitis is the worst.
    Ladies, about the garlic: this is what I do for mastitis or any infection. (Works great for kids too) Smash it up and either encapsulate it or make garlic socks (mix with coconut oil or it will burn your skin). I can’t handle the taste but must get it into my bloodstream.

    Also, about the overabundant supply which can contribute to mastitis, the hormone LHT regulates anterior milk supply. If you can get a holistic doctor to balance it with biofeedback or homeopathy, the supply will calm down. Mine is always crazy massive amounts of milk, which I’m so thankful for, but must stay on top of or mastitis is always around the corner.

  17. I have had mastitis many times with three children and an organic, raw, potato grated and placed directly on the sore, red, inflamed area has worked every time. Once the potato dries out take it off and repeat as necessary. Wear an old bra, the potato will turn it grey. I first read about the potato cure in the book Childbearing Year by Susan Weed.

  18. I had mastitis several times with my 2nd child and actually ending up having to have surgery to remove a painful lump where the infection crystallized into a sharp, pointy lump. It was so bad a couple of times, I had red streaks coming up on the breast. I wish I had this information 20 years ago! In hindsight, my naturopathic doctor felt like the first pregnancy took all the nutrition from my body and weakened my immune system. I’ve never been the same physically and developed fibromyalgia by the time my 2nd child was 2 or 3. I would encourage anyone who is pregnant or nursing to do everything they can to boost their immune system. I was dealing with 2 young children in diapers and the 2nd one was quite sick. I neglected my health and grabbed snacks when I could, instead of focusing on good, healthy food. At the time I didn’t have the energy to cook (much less clean!) Hindsight is 20/20 and there are no do-overs, so go into pregnancy healthy with a pumped up immune system and do what you can to stay healthy while nursing.

  19. Oh man… I had clogged ducts all the time the first month of nursing my baby! I got mastitis only once, fortunately. My midwife told me to use castor oil compresses with heat, to keep massaging it, and to nurse as often as possible. I also took oregano oil capsules and tons of Vitamin C. I felt terrible for two days (like the flu) but it subsided on its own, and I was grateful to avoid the antibiotics.

  20. Thank you so much for this post. I had my first encounter with mastitis last week. It came on in about 2 hours. I had to go to the ER and have antibiotics (my BP was 80/40 and my hands/feet were going numb). Now that I know what to do, if it starts I can try these remedies first. I really try to avoid antibiotics! Thank you!!!

  21. I often read your blog, rarely comment…but I love so much of the info you provide! I had mastitis innumerable times with my first. He was born big…a great nurser…so I had a huge milk supply. However, whenever he would slow down and didn’t need quite as much (i.e.: after a growth spurt or during a cold), I would inevitably get an infection. Terribly painful, inflamed, red-streaked areas, fevers, etc. The best remedy I used was cabbage leaves. As you said, it DOES slow supply (over-supply was my problem every time), but it worked so well and much faster than antibiotics! Also, not making your own health priority can quickly lead to any number of health issues for yourself. You simply can’t nourish and care for your baby if you’re not nourishing and caring for yourself. It’s so important to get enough rest, exercise gently, eat well, and stay hydrated. The hardest thing for me to learn was to slow down and say “no” politely but firmly to anything that doesn’t allow you to focus on this short season of your life. When we see this time as a blessing and enjoy it with gratitude in our hearts, it becomes precious…and trust me, it’s over before you know it! As moms, we’re often persuaded that we need to be able to “do it all” but we are still human and have limitations! I wish someone would’ve encouraged me to be human instead of trying to become wonder woman…it would’ve been better for the overall health of my entire family! I’m finally learning to take life moment by moment and not stress out about accomplishing everything perfectly all the time. Again, thanks for the wonderful suggestions…great ideas , all! =)

  22. I followed the recommendation of my naturopathic doctor to take a teaspoon or two of sea salt in the morning in water for several days in a row. I must admit I was skeptical at first but by the next day the pain was completely gone and the redness was fading.

  23. A lactation consultant had me take 1 TBSP of granular lecithin 4 times a day with water/juice. (lecithin helps break up the clogged milk ducts by breaking down the fat in the milk) She also recommended I take grapefruit seed extract in juice 4 times a day as well. These were always my main go-to products for the many times I have had mastitis. Actually because I could anticipate getting mastitis at least once with each child, I would keep these things on hand. Then ANYTIME I started feeling worn down or started feeling a lump or felt engorged, I would begin taking these things and I could even prevent getting mastitis at all! I also would massage the area while baby was nursing too, and apply a bit of heat before baby nursed.

  24. I stayed off antibiotics by ONLY feeding baby on the infected side, pumping after every feed an additional 5-10 min on both sides, and a warm compress 4 times a day. My pump was only used for car rides, and itchy breasts, that always meant a sore mastitis boob or bad clog was coming… If I even felt an itch, I drug out the pump, and the lanolin.

  25. Katie, I’m so glad you have recovered, and without antibiotics to boot 🙂 I had terrible, terrible mastitis when my son was 14 days old. It was the sickest I ever remember being… I took food grade H2O2 and vitamin C, had a fever of 105, recovered after 36 hours, and then it came back with a vengeance. My fever got to 105.5 and my husband dragged me to the ER. I was so incredibly sick, like I said. I’m allergic to many antibiotics… The antibiotic I took made my little boy vomit profusely… It was so scary, and so sad. For 4 days I pumped and dumped it all down the drain while feeding my new baby milk I had frozen and formula. I can’t explain how exhausting or sad this was for me. But we got through it, and my son managed to nurse until 11 months… Then my best friends husband was killed in AFG (marine, as is my husband) and she needed my help so I left my son with my inlaws, since my husband was also in AFG at the time, and I went to help my friend for a week. I pumped and dumped while away 🙁 but when I got home my little guy was just not interested, he was on a cup and done sitting still to suck a boob 🙂 All this to say, nursing can be tough, really tough, but in my opinion it is one of the most important things you will ever do for your child. I would do it all again.

  26. I’ve had it twice, pretty awful time!! My second time my chiropractor adjusted me and recommended taping the cloves of garlic directly to the infected area – I did it after warm compresses. The next morning all symptoms were gone! Garlic is quite the antibiotic! Side note that I did get a little “burnt” in the areas where it was, and it itched for several days, but after that it was fine. If I had to do it over again I would put coconut oil under the garlic to help protect the sensitive skin 🙂 the itching was better than an antibiotic though!!

  27. I have had it three times and massage in a hot shower, and castol oil hot packs on the breast seemed to do the trick (while resting and taking echenacia and vit C). Thanks for sharing!

  28. A good way to eat quantities of garlic is to drink them with yoghurt. Just add a little bit of water and salt and shake. It’s so easy and tasty that you’ll have this several times a day 😉
    Otherwise, about the cabbage leaves remedy, it does help a lot in case of really painful engorgement. I used this when I stopped breastfeeding, and I can attest it does wonders! I assume one could use it for mastitis to alleviate symptoms if it’s just too painful, provided of course, they take the right measures to keep up milk production (drinking water, nursing constantly).

  29. I took one of my sons diapers and I wet it then put it in the freezer and after it froze. I would put it in my bra and it would go from cold to hot from my body heat. It works amazingly well and something everyone already has. 🙂

  30. I personally have never had mastitis, but I raise goats that have, so I’ve had to deal with it from time to time. I have found that using a few drops of Lavendar Essential Oil in about half a cup of Olive Oil works well. Both of these oils have pain killing properties. I also tried Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oils in the Olive Oil, works great but. . . Peppermint actually “dries up” the milk supply. So unless that’s your goal, I wouldn’t recommend it. I just make the mixture, put it in a glass jar, and it usually lasts a couple months, applied topically. I hope this helps someone! 🙂

  31. When I had mastitis I used raw potato slices. Slice potato thinly let soak in water for 10 min and put a slice on the mastitis, change to a new slice every hour. Plus my midwife recommended to feed a baby in the manor that his chin rubs against the place of inflammation.

  32. I had this last year, and what worked for me was fresh ginger pressed into as hot of water as you can comfortably stand; dip a folded washcloth into the ginger water, squeeze out excess, lay over the affected breast, and let sit until the skin is reddened and warm – 5-10 minutes. You can do this as often as you want to, and it really works!

  33. I have had mastitis many times. Although ever since I started taking phytolacca decandra -homeopathic medicine- at the first signs of mastitis, I have not needed antibiotics. The bottle says its for sore throat but for some reason it’s a MIRACLE when it comes to mastitis. Once i googled it i realized I was not the only one to know this. If you suffer from mastitis frequently please try it! ( whole foods or any natural good store that sells homeopathics)


      • Hi Brie, can you help by confirming how often you mean when you write ‘frequent breastfeeding’.

        Many thanks

    • Mastitis can sometimes be caused by strep so a sore throat homeopathic med makes sense.

  34. Pineapple juice. I had mastitis with 104 temp multiple times with my first baby. On my third trip in to the dr for antibiotics, the NP told me as much as she loves the dr she worked for, I shouldn’t be taking antibiotics he kept prescribing if I could help it. She told me they use pineapple juice in Europe. One 4 ounce can should do it. I was fever free and lump/pain free within hours! With my second and third children, I drank one small can of pineapple juice one a week as a preventative during those first few months- only one infection that I cleared up with an additional can. It really works. I have told many friends and neighbors and it has worked for every single one.

  35. I did this too, when my singleton was days old (I guess my body was too used to nursing my 2 sets of twins, and one baby wasn’t drinking enough milk! I did notice a lump too, a duct that was not letting down, it was a bit soar and cracked too. So I did like you said – shower, massage, nurse, nurse in different positions to stimulate different ducts, pump, sleep, rest and sleep more, also taking some apple cider vinegar adn garlic in capsule form. I had just spiked a fever too. , I actually already had a prescription antibiotics but didn’t yet fill it…determined to beat this without them. But, I DID get a Rx steroid nipple cream, which helped heal taht crackgin, and is way better than antibiotics any day. But I could still not get that darn duct to let down. The baby wasn’t getting it and niether the pump. So in desperation, I enlisted some professional help. Well, more accurately, I begged for amature hlep from my husband – who after some convincing, humbly, graciously used his own amazing lung-suction power and mouth to unclog it for me. And it worked. I am so grateful to have a hubby who is willing to do that for me.

  36. I went to bed with the baby and nursed constantly. I also used cabbage leaves. My 8 year old daughter saw me change the leaf out of my bra and proclaimed she would never eat salad again.

  37. I have never had mastitis, with either of my girls. I did get a clogged duct with my second. After being in pain for the whole day, I went online found out about the “white dot” that appears after nursing or pumping. Of course I had to go through pages of comments to even find out about this! But, if you take a sterilized needle to this “white dot”, which is the clogged duct poking through, you get INSTANT relief!
    I have had another clogged duct since then and as soon as I felt it coming on, I went and poked it and haven’t had a problem since!
    This is the only thing that worked for me to get instant relief! Best part is it’s completely painless and you don’t have to worry about drying out your supply or eating certain foods, just need a clean needle! Hope this helps someone!

  38. I didn’t have time to read all the responses, perhaps I should have as it may have answered my question. But, here it goes…how do you PREVENT mastitis other than nursing often? Thank you!

    • Keeping immune system strong (Vitamin C, water, avoiding inflammatory foods) and keeping stress levels down…

      • What are the inflammatory foods to avoid during nursing to avoid all this in the first place? Thank You

  39. Easy and works in hours without affecting milk supply…2-3 drops oil of oregano with a carrier oil (I used coconut) massaged onto affected breast every 1-2 hrs. You can also take a few drops under your tongue (or mix w juice as it’s Very strong) at same time. Mastitis is not just bacterial but also fungal(yeast). This has worked multiple times for my second and third children. You can decrease to three times a day, for one day, after all symptoms are gone.

  40. I scrolled quickly but I don’t think I saw mention of the homeopathic remedy Phytolacca. I took Phytolacca for mastitis late during the first day symptoms were presented and that coupled with YL Thieves oil rubbed on the infected area cleared it up within 48 hours. It was my second experience with mastitis and I was in awe of how quickly and completely it went away without an antibiotic.

  41. My milk would let down very often and in awkward places. Unknown baby crying at the grocery store meant wet shirt for me. Because I was trying to be economical I used washable breast pads, but I think they kept my breast too wet when I couldn’t change them quickly ( like the aforementioned store). I have not had an infection since switching to disposable breast pads. (I was having them once every month or two. Thanks for this great blog.

  42. What if you’re trying to wean, but keep getting mastitis? Going slowly, only cutting out one feeding a week, but after a few days of cutting a feeding out, I keep getting mastitis, any suggestions?? Its happened 3 times now, and I’ve not been able to make any progress weaning…It’s so discouraging!

    • I’d try the cabbage leaves in the bra throughout the day and drink peppermint tea to reduce milk supply.

  43. I’ve had mastitis with all three of my children to greater or lesser degrees. The natural remedies above work for me if I act fast. With my first child I ended up in the clinic for antibiotic shots four days strait, then a round of regular antibiotics for a week after that. This did the job but was followed by a nasty overgrowth of candida (yeast). Act fast and avoid this if you can is my advice. Good luck all, and happy nursing!

  44. I was just diagnosed with mastitis today. The only weird thing is that I haven’t nursed in 6 years, my son is now 9! I made it through nursing for 3 years without incident so it feels weird having this now. I was prescribed antibiotics (by someone who isn’t very natural minded) and generally I choose the natural path, I won’t even give my son antibiotics. But I’m tempted to take them because I eat very well, I actually juice raw garlic already, I don’t really have any way for a nursling to help clear a clogged duct – and since I’m way past nursing, I don’t even wants my ducts clear ;). It’s a mild case, so I don’t really need anything for the pain, although it is a little sore but tolerable. I already take daily supplements and epsom salt baths on the regular.

    So I guess my question is, being such a natural minded mama, if you were in my position, would you take the antibiotics? I feel I already do the natural remedies just as part of my daily routines, so I don’t even know how I ended up with this in the first place, haha. I want to stick to the natural route but I feel like I already was. Do you have any thoughts for someone in my situation or other suggestions on how to offset the damage of antibiotics? Obviously, you’re not a doctor, I have access to those, I’m looking for personal opinions amongst the like-minded crowd.

  45. I like your post even though it has been 16 years since I had mastitis. I had a very big baby girl 10lbs 10oz, and my body reacted as though I’d have twins and started to over-produce milk. I developed mastitis after a week and even now I remember how miserable I was. The thing was, here in the UK back then, because I insisted on continuing to breastfeed the doctors wouldn’t allow me to take antibiotics and no one seemed to be able to help with any homemade recipes. Mine went on for three weeks! It was a nightmare. The only relief I had was after nursing, and the massaging that you mentioned.

    But I had so much milk I had to stop nursing mid-feed and wait for the milk to stop spurting because the poor girl couldn’t drink fast enough. I was advised not to use a pump because that would make the body think that it needed all the milk it was producing so I had to wait for feeds for some slight relief or taking a warm bath, which helped to soothe other areas as well as causing lactation, which again helped. I would not love to repeat that experience but I persevered and eventually my body settled down and realised I only had one mouth to feed (lol). She’s sixteen now, 6 foot tall and pats me on the head and call me shortie!

    The affected breast is still quite lumpy but I’ve had several mammograms and they’ve been negative, fingers crossed.

    I find a few of the remedies you recommended very interesting and think they probably would have helped enormously back then, and I think for the mom who got scared about the cancer – we never know what can happen, we just have to learn to take things as they come and worry not of what might be or could have been. Talk to your doctor if you are stressing about it and perhaps they can do some tests to help ease your mind.

    Keep up the good work Wellness Mama. 🙂

  46. I also suffered with a few cases of mastitis with my second and thankfully was recommended LECITHIN capsules by my midwife. The massage and heat compress (microwaved a water-filled diaper and wrapped in over breast – amazing! and stayed dry on outside so could even wear bra/shirt over!) also helped relieve some discomfort but I swear by the lecithin now! I was also nervous about the cabbage affecting my supply so avoided that too.

  47. I don’t usually comment, but I’ve had more experience with mastitis than I would like to admit so I figured I would add my two cents. With my 1st child I had mastitis several times and was happy with the antibiotics prescribed (didn’t know any better). Second and third child I read up because I didn’t want to have to be on abx again if I got mastitis and I found that echinacea, vit C, garlic, propolis, all for immune boosting and abx properties and poke root for lymph drainage(2 drops daily only-too much can be toxic) worked well. Warm showers, massage, frequent nursing, and rest are all a must also. Had mastitis multiple times (too much milk) and never had to go on abx for it with this regime. Fourth child someone suggested Oregano Oil 3 drops upon first sign of mastitis. I found that putting the oregano oil in a capsule is the best way to take as it has quite the burning sensation. Also, follow it with an acidic juice (like OJ) to help with any burping that also causes some burning. I have to admit, I take a bit more than the 3 drops (like 1/2 capsule full as I really just want the pain to go away!) This has worked amazingly well each time. Continue the daily oregano until all sx gone. I still continue with above mentioned treatments for immune boosting and lymph drainage. Hope this helps! Mastitis is miserable and I don’t wish it on anyone!

  48. The only thing that cured my mastitis, was, a part from carrying on breast feeding regardless the pain, KEFIR! Nothing else. I had 40 degrees temperature one very hard and scary night, and the kefir soothed the pain, after managing to sleep, with baby next to me, the day after was gone, pain and temperature, which was weird, but sooo welcome.

  49. The problem with cabbage leaves ( here in Australia anyway) is that if they are not organic you could be placing a leave treated with nasty pesticide against your skin which may be absorbed and passed on to baby.

    I had the start of it several times and cured it naturally by using epsom salts and warm water – a friend of mine told me about it and I was sceptical but willing to try anything to help with it.

    Nursing regularly from the affected side, massage and hot towels also helped but to use the epsom salts simply make a heavily concentrated solution of about 1/2 cup epsom salts to 1.5-2 cups warm water and then ‘soak’ the affected breast several times a day for about 30 seconds each time. Miracle stuff and totally natural xx

  50. I had mastitis when my son was 2 months old. It came on fast; sore spot on day 1, more sore & now raised on day 2 (I started massaging at this point), on day #3, I was in so much pain on the effected breast that I couldn’t touch it (i.e. no massage), spot was bright red, I had a fever, and was miserable. By day #4, my fever was gone, I could restart massage of my breast, and I could now function. It only improved from here.
    Here’s what I did:
    Day #3, I had started the following: Fenugreek capsules (the maximum suggested on the bottle, which was 2 capsules 4x/day), drinking the following mix every 2 hours during the day, & every 6 hours overnight: 3 cloves of raw garlic (pressed) & 1 dropperful of Echinacea tincture in 6 oz of carrot juice (this is from “The Green Pharmacy” by James A. Duke) (yes it tasted nasty but when you’re that bad-off who cares. I also found that the garlic could upset my stomach if I didn’t have a wee-bit of food in me when I ingested this mixture), warm compresses, massage when I could, nursing every 1-2 hours, napping throughout the day and generally relaxing. I didn’t know about cabbage leaves yet, but I here those work wonders.
    I basically attacked the situation, and was significantly relieved on day #4. I only kick myself for not taking it more seriously on day 1 & 2, but I’m a first time mom, what can I say, I didn’t recognize the problem until I was in misery.
    Good luck!

  51. Hi,

    I am currently suffering from mastitis. This has happened the 2nd time in last 7 months. I have never been a mother, so definitely not breast feeding.
    I am quite worried as this has re-occured and seek help in treating it naturally and also taking preventive measures so that it dsnt occur the 3rd time.

    Please suggest.

  52. I was just diagnosed today with mastitis. I stopped nursing 3years ago. Not sure how it happened. I’m in so much pain. Taking antibiotics and bought a box of emergen-c. Drinking water and cranberry juice. I will find out tomorrow if I need iv antibiotics.

    • Hi,

      Which antibiotic did you take, for how long, any side effects (thrush / candida). Did the mastitis clear?

      Many thanks

  53. Just had mastitis and didn’t want to take antibiotics so I followed your recommendations and it worked like a charm! I also massaged Thieves and Purification EOs while nursing/pumping. Tip for the raw garlic – cut up in small pieces and cover in olive oil. I would put a spoonful at a time in my mouth and chase it with water like I was swallowing a pill. Not only did the olive oil coat the flavor and sting from the garlic but it also helped it go down easier with the water!

    • Hi,

      How much raw garlic did you take, amd how often, and for how long?

      Many thanks

  54. Never got diagnosed but i believe I’m getting mastitis. gunna try the garlic. and pineapple juice. thx for all the tips.

  55. Oh it was so nice to see another non-nursing woman comment about mastitis. Its very scary when you aren’t nursing but are get this ‘nursing moms only’ issue. The first time a warm tea bag helped. The tannins and the heat were a big help. The second time nothing helped but the antibiotics. But since Im not nursing I would definitely try the cabbage leaf. Also breast massage in a warm shower especially before my period starts as I tend to ‘leak’ at that time. Good luck!

  56. I currently am fighting off mastitis. This is my second baby and I haven’t had this before, I did lots of research for remedies and tried a bunch. I was concerned about my milk supply dropping so I went in to see the lactation specialist at our local hospital, come to find out I have oversupply, which is probably the cause of my mastitis. She gave me some great tips though. She said tumeric is very helpful in preventing future bouts. She said take 1/2 tsp daily with some pepper (that helps with the absorption) and she said it also helps reduce colic in babies. Another option she said is to combine tumeric and water and make a paste and rub it in the mastitis lump and let it sit for a while and harden and then wash it off. Also she mentioned sunflower lecithin as an alternative to soy. She said it is an emulsifier and helps the milk not stick in the ducts. So anyone who has a predisposition for developing mastitis can do those things daily for prevention.

    • Hello,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Did you avoid antibiotics altogether?

      Where did you source the lecithin from and in what format and how often did you take? How long did you take it for?

      Did you take the tumeric the rest of the time you were breastfeeding?

      Do you mind me asking your smin symptoms? Red rash? Did this spread in patches? Any lumps?

      Many Thanks.

  57. THANK YOU!!!!! I got mastitis a few days ago, I went to the doctors as I had a temp of 39 degrees Celsius, not sure what that is in Fahrenheit. They have me liquid anti-biotics and really didn’t want to take them. Doctors aren’t (legally) allowed to cure you, they just give you tablets to take away the symptoms. I have ordered vitamin C and Probiotics and they come next week. I have just been taking garlic A LOT and it’s almost gone….. I have never felt so rubbish, NATURAL is best 🙂 Also want to thank you for your eczema remedies as it has really helped my 7 month old.

  58. PARSLEY!! I had a nasty case when my son was about 8 months old. It came on fast with fever/chills, swelling, redness and serious pain. My upstairs neighbor consulted her new herbal remedies book (I wish I knew which one!) and came back to tell me a parsley poultice. She went to the store for me, God bless her and I wrapped the parsley in a cloth diaper, tied it with a rubber band and steeped it for just a minute in boiling water. As soon as it cooled enough I put it on the swelling. Within an hour I was completely healed, no fever no lump nothing! This is the easiest cheapest cure everyone should know about!!

  59. I started my first bout of mastitis last week in the leftbreast. It had cleared within one week. Then it started in the right breast on Tuesday. Then a couple of days later it returned in the left breast. I’ve had two bouts of fever and sweats, with horrendous joint ache all over and headache.

    The red rash seems to be spreading from different ducts, new patches of redness are appearing in different places on both breasts, i.e. Spreading around.

    Dr prescribed antibiotics. I’ve resisted taking them so far. But I’m getting worried abut the continuation and the redness spread. And the smal hard lumps.

    Been doing massage, hot showers, hot compresses. Increased feeding again.
    Started cabbage today – found it got moist underneath? Perhaps I ledt it too long?
    Started garlic in yogurt this evening.

    Have a couple of lumps in left boob and wondering whether developing abcess? Hoping not. How common are the lumps for everyone here?
    Did you all have red patches (like sunburn?) and lumps?
    Did anyone have the red patches spread to different areas of the breast over time?
    How often does everyone mean by ‘more regular’ feeding?

    Many thanks.

    • Olive leaf extract is a natural antibiotic that helped me with my last infection. I wish I had some on hand for this one!

  60. What about mastitis without a plugged duct? I smashed a clove of garlic and added one drop each of lavender and tea tree oils and mixed in into some coconut oil for a sort of poultice on my breast and I’m about to pump since it hurts too much for baby to help out. What else can I do? And is the garlic on my skin as good as eating the garlic? It would be good to know for future reference. I’ve had several infections with each of my children and I expect to have more with this one 🙁

    • Did the oil combination work?!

  61. Curious about the cod liver oil and probiotics.

    1. Is there a reason why you got the liquid over a capsule? Cinnamon over chocolate?

    2. Do you take this probiotic linked with another? It seems the linked probiotic is more of a prebiotic?
    Thanks :))

  62. I have not had mastitis but I climb in the back seat and lean over the car seat and nurse the baby while we drive. I have also used a hand pump and pumped a bottle and reached back and gave it to my baby. Just a couple ideas to empty your breasts without stopping the car….

  63. my daughter has mastitis for the second time in a month. Of course standard treatment is A/B which causes Thrush, with Probotics. she is refusing to take the a/b this time. she is miserable and with a 3 month old and a 2 year old – resting much is not always an option.

  64. Hi my name is mandisa my second born is 8month old , the first child didn’t have a proble my breasts looked like I didn’t breast feed but this time my left breast became very hard I tried everything hot bath ,cabbage leaves but didn’t work . I went to the doctor after 3month he told me that its milk blocked on my breast then he drained the milk and my breast was ok for few days ,I noticed that it is growing again then I bought pills to stop formulation of milk but it didn’t work, again it is hard like a rock and now I am starting to feel pain , please help am I supposed to drain again will it ever stop making milk

  65. I had mastitis with my daughter I used rolled oats,raw garlic and sea salt mixed all ingredients together with some water to cook the oats and place the mixtures on the infected area then wrapped it with plastic wrap and used an old sick filled it with rice and threw that in the microwave to hear it up. Then I placed the sock on top of my wrapped breast with oatmeal mixture and rested for about 45 mins. I did this for 3 days and the infection was gone. Mean while I continued to breast feed and drink plenty of water.

  66. So are you now still recommending green pastures fermented cod liver oil? I don’t recall seeing a follow up from you after you mentioned your family would not be taking it for a while after the accusations. Just curious.

    • I’m going to update the post soon, but I’m still taking it…

  67. I used several hot compresses in a row, layed baby down on the bed and nursed, bent over the bed, breast “hanging” while massaging. Gravity works wonders! Very uncomfortable, but gone after that feeding. This was for a very painful clogged duct, no fever so I guess it wasn’t mastitus.

  68. I 100% second Poke Root or anything with it!! It is amazing when it comes to mastitis or plugged milk ducts!!! If you happen to find the tincture it is extremely potent and literally requires 1-3 drops! So be aware!!

  69. Any advice? I am 12 weeks pregnant and just weaned my almost 2 year old 2 weeks ago. I woke up this morning with a painful lump in my right breast. I squeezed it and a yellow green thick milk came out. I’m doing cabbage leaves but I don’t want to pump or restart nursing. Are the recommendations safe for a pregnant woman? All the garlic, the letchin, etc? I’ve had mastitis 3 times with this little one and don’t want to go through it again.

  70. I’ve had clogged ducts MANY times and thankfully I’ve been able to avoid mastitis all but 3 of those times. The best trick I’ve found is Castor oil. You take a tsp and massage it onto the clogged area, avoiding the nipple. Apply moist heat for 20 minutes and then nurse and massage the clog towards the nipple. I’ve never had a clog last longer than. A few hours since using this method! Once it’s mastitis, I do the castor oil as well as the things wellness mama mentioned. Castor oil is the BEST to get rid of it FAST. BC who has time to have mastitis??

  71. Thanks for the post. I had mastitis so bad 2 months ago had an abses that needs to be drained. Another one formed and I did caster oil compress along with zinc and vit c and it went away. Thank god. I would not wish that on anyone.

  72. I take powdered turmeric and honey every two hours for a day and it works like a charm! I also compress with camomile tea.
    Thanks for the info