Natural Cures for Mastitis

Mastitis affects many, many moms and recurrent mastitis can be the demise of breastfeeding early on. It’s not only painful, but causes overall body aches and fever as your body tries to fight it off.

I’ve unfortunately dealt with mastitis on and off again with both of my children. The cause I’m sure is like a lot of others; I was given antibiotics during both of their births, I rely on others to make me food in the postpartum period, and I get little sleep as the mom of a newborn. All of these things seem to cascade together telling my body it’s just too much.

Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but many experience redness, pain, or warmth in the affected area of the breast, elevated temperature, overall malaise, pain while breastfeeding, as well as swelling of the breast. And it happens quickly, most of the time it hits full force within 12-124 hours of the first symptom.

photo credit: bellymotherbaby

Antibiotics are the go-to treatment if you head to the doctor’s office, but the problem is that not only are you being subjected to them again, but so is your little baby. And antibiotics can start a cycle of yeast overgrowth leading to recurrent mastitis, thrush, vaginal yeast infections, yeast diaper rashes, digestive issues, and eczema just to name a few. So we’re obviously better off trying to treat it naturally first.


Yeast Fighting

One of the biggest issues concerning mastitis is the hidden yeast in the body. Often allowed to overgrow during a previous round of antibiotics, it causes all sorts of issues within the body. To help combat this yeast both probiotics and a low/no sugar diet are pivotal.


Boosting the Immune System

Worn out bodies are more prone to illness and disease, and keeping our immune system functioning properly is key to getting over mastitis. While we each have our own immune boosters we fall back on, some of the following have been shown to work quickly:

  • Large doses of vitamin C. recommends mega doses of vitamin C as soon as any symptoms arise, anywhere from 3500 to 5000 mgs in a 24 hour period. This particular vitamin is water soluble, meaning it will be flushed out of the body when overconsumed, not stored, so there isn’t a concern for over dosing. (if you notice loose stools, it’s your body getting rid of the excess and you can scale back your dosage)
  • Raw garlic is also highly beneficial in boosting immune function as well as fighting of the mastitis because of it’s anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties. I love to finely grate garlic over my meals throughout the day as well as make garlic herb butter. I’ve also used finely minced garlic mixed with a spoonful of honey to take it when it didn’t quite fit in with the foods I was eating. Just always take it during meals as it could upset and empty stomach.
  • Sleep is also essential to allowing your body to rest and fight off infection. If possible sleep as much as you can – nap with the baby as often as the situation arises.

Chiropractic Adjustments

My dear friend Michele struggled on and off for a long time with plugged ducts and mastitis and found that spinal misalignment can prevent proper immune system flow, which can affect breastfeeding.


Other Tips and Tricks

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Nurse, nurse, nurse!! Latch baby on as much as possible, offer the affected breast first, and empty out the breast each time. If you feel that baby hasn’t done a sufficient job, hand express or pump afterward.
  • Massaging the breast and affected area is helpful in treating plugged ducts.
  • Heat – many times using a heating pad or hot rice pack can help alleviate soreness and keep milk flowing.
  • On the other hand , using ice to treat mastitis can also be effective at reducing inflammation.
  • Homeopathic remedies like phytolacca are also helpful.

photo credit: hodac


So as long as your symptoms aren’t severe or your fever to high, check out some natural cures before resorting to meds. If it’s already to late and you’re on antibiotics, taking the above steps can help you heal faster and keep it from coming back.

And while we’re on the topic, let’s talk a bit about how to prevent it.

  • Take probiotics and eat plenty of yogurt/kefir (builds immune system)
  • Get plenty of rest (sometimes mastitis is your body’s way of telling you to rest)
  • Don’t wear wired bras
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat good whole foods
  • Don’t let baby fall asleep while feeding, especially when your breasts are still full
  • Make sure baby is latched and suckling well
  • Go bra-less when possible

Do you have any other tips for overcoming mastitis naturally?

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This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.


  1. suzannah says:

    i do love hearing about ways to beat stuff like this without antibiotics.

    glad you're on the mend.

  2. Darius and Kelly Miknaitis says:

    I was excited to see this post. I've had mastitis twice in the past 2 weeks and like you have not needed antibiotics to get over it. The first time I didn't realize I should even call a doctor and the second time I was out of town so didn't really have the option of seeing a doctor without it being a huge inconvenience. In addition to some of the measures you took, I also held a rag soaked in hot water on the affected area right before I nursed. I didn't know about the vitamin C… I'll have to remember that in case I come down with it again.

  3. Claudia says:

    I just got over mastitis on both sides in the past couple of weeks. I have 4 kids, and have had it 3 times (only with the boys oddly enough). I found that putting a heat pack on the affected area really works well. I am so glad that you got better. I shy away from antibiotics, and try to find as many natural ways to beat it.

  4. lesley ann says:

    I am blessed to be currently nursing twins and have NOT had any full blown mastitis incidents in nearly 8 months!
    Though with my first born I did get mastitis 3 or 4 times and each time it knocked me out so bad I had a 105 degree fever and felt I wouldn’t survive, thus my doctor forced me onto antibiotics. I was hesitant, but at that time felt I had no other option.
    After giving birth to my second born there were a few times when I began to feel the symptoms (achey body, feverish, sore breast, massive red spot on my breast) of mastitis was beginning to set in and QUICKLY made sure my baby nursed mostly off the side that was paining, used heat and at the end of the day used my breast pump to pump every ounce of milk from me that I could! The next day I had NO signs of mastitis and felt great. Ever since my terrible experiences with mastitis and my first born I do everything to try to prevent it.
    Now with the twins ANY time I begin to feel discomfort I quickly pump and nurse the babies as often as they will eat. I am thankful that I have not had full blown mastitis again.
    Thank you for your insight! I wish I had this info 5 years ago with my oldest! What a blessing to those new mommies!!!

  5. I just (yesterday) was starting to feel the plugged ducts, pain, fatigue, etc. So, I used the hot rice pack, nursed and pumped and took a long nap. Today, I’m feeling much better! Still a bit tender but no hard, swollen lump! Praise the LORD! I’ve only dealt with this one other time (with my first child) and was also able to get over it quickly… I’m glad to hear about the Vitamin C — will try that the next time, too!

  6. Bethany says:

    I’ve had several bouts of mastitis this year. My chiropractor offers ultrasound-heat therapy, it works wonders!!! I go in with a swollen-hot breast that hurts so bad I can barely walk and I walk out just a tad sore and feeling 100% better by morning.

  7. I fought off mastitis just last week by rubbing lavender oil on my breast twice a day. Worked great!