When I had my first 2 children I got mastitis, major engorgement and many clogged ducts as soon as my milk came in (about day 3 postpartum) that lasted weeks after delivery. My breasts were too full that I couldn't put my arms down all the way because I was so engorged even up into my under arms! (Over supply was an understatement.) My breasts had very deep red/purple areas from the infection (google some images, it was so scary!) and I was just miserable in this much pain. I got chills and was shaking uncontrolably from being so sick. I received some awful advice that made things much worse so I wanted to share the life saving advice I received with my third birth!
I knew that once I had delivered my third child it was only a matter of days before this awful experience was bound to happen again. Luckily, my midwife had an incredible recommendation for a lactation consultant! When I contacted the IBCLC on day 2 she couldn't see me for 2 more days because she was already booked. She was so gracious as to email me advice because I told her how urgent my situation was!
This is what I did to soften the clogged areas to prevent infection. Also works if you already have an infection! Take a wool cloth, flannel cloth, old t-shirt, etc., and fold into four layers approximately the size of the area to be covered. Then you wet the cloth with castor oil, soaked but not dripping, and place over the area to be treated. Do not cover nipple. Cover with plastic wrap to contain the oil and cover with heat. I used a heating pad (that I also used for pregnancy and labor) but a rice/bean sock or bag, hot water bottle, etc. can be used. You'll need to keep the heat on for at least 20 minutes. If you have mastitis do this 3-4 times a day but I did this anyway! I only had to do this for maybe three days until all the clogged ducts were unclogged. After 2 times of doing this treatment I was getting relief! Also, I didn't wash the oil out of the cloth, just kept reusing the same cloth each time, then through it away.
The next thing I did was take a homeopathic pill of phytolacca 30 (c or x). It's recommended for clogged ducts. Belladonna 30 (c or x) is recommended for mastitis. In either case, you take a dose every thirty minutes for 6 doses and then you are done! Only take more if your symptoms start back up.
You should try to find a high quality or organic castor oil if you can. We checked Walmart and Sprouts for ours and got the homeopathic remedies from Sprouts, I believe.
It was a miracle and I was able to change my destiny! I didn't get mastitis and all the clogged ducts were gone fairly quickly!
I'm not a lactation consultant (hopefully someday!) so before following what worked for me, contact your local lactation consultant! Wishing you healing vibes on your nursing journey!!
Note: You do not need to pump and dump breastmilk if you have mastitis! Continue breastfeeding as usual.
For pain relief on breast: Take coconut oil and add a few drops of lavender oil and oregano oil and mix together. Rub on painful areas, staying away from nipple. Apply as needed. I use this for headaches too! I will post engorgement reduction techniques in an other post! You don't need to pump yourself to death to unclog ducts!