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  • Breast Infection

  • Definition

    Inflammation of the breast. Most common in women during lactation but it may occur at any age.


    May be due to entry of disease-producing germs through the nipple. In most cases there is a crack or abrasion of the nipple. Infection begins in one lobule but may extend to other areas.

    Incomplete emptying of the milk ducts by the baby or the wearing of a tight bra can cause a plugged duct. Soreness and a lump in one area of the breast is an indication of the plugged duct. Check the nipple very carefully for a tiny dot of dried milk. When this is removed by gentle cleansing along with frequent nursing on the affected breast, the duct will clear itself within 24 hours. Massaging the breasts with firm pressure, from the chest wall toward the nipple, also stimulates milk flow. Alter the position of the baby on the nipple so all the ducts are drained. Make sure to offer the affected breast first, when the baby's sucking is strongest.

    If a plugged duct is not taken care of, mastitis can be the result.


    Soreness and redness in the breast, fever, and flu-like symptoms are indicators of mastitis. In a nursing mother, all flu symptoms should be considered a breast infection until proven otherwise.


    Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest and apply heat to the area with a hot water bottle or heating pad. If nursing, do not stop nursing the baby, otherwise the ducts will remain full and could worsen the problem by allowing the ducts to overfill. In addition, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics that can be taken while nursing.

    In very rare cases, a breast infection results in a breast abscess in which the sore breast fills with pus. This abscess may need to be incised to allow drainage. During this time a breast pump should be used to express the milk. Breastfeeding should be continued on the noninfected breast until the abscess is healed.


    Protein supplement (free form amino acids or soy protein). Calcium chelate, 1,000-1,500 mg. daily (avoid bone meal because of the lead content. Magnesium, 500-750 mg. per day. Multivitamin and mineral complex containing the B complex with extra folic acid plus vitamins C and D and iron and manganese, taken as directed on the label, is needed by both mother and baby. Vitamin B complex, 50 mg. twice daily, is needed for production of milk and to relieve stress. Or you may take brewer's yeast; start with a small amount and work up to 1 tbsp. in juice, 3 times per day.


  • TB
    • Alfalfa
    • Caltrop
    • Comfrey
    • Dandelion
    • Fennel
    • Ginger
    • Golden seal
    • Herb Robert
    • Horsetail
    • Lady fern
    • Liverleaf
    • Lobelia
    • Nettle leaf
    • Parsley
    • Poke root
    • Raspberry
    • Rugosa
    • Sanicle
    • St. Andrew's cross
    • St. John's wort
    • Thistle, blessed
    • Vervain
    • Water-dragon


    The following herbs decrease milk supply: bark, black walnut, sage, and yarrow.

    Eat plenty of brewer's yeast, eggs, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Raw foods should be plentiful in the diet.

    Mother's milk is nearly a perfect food, but it is low in vitamins C and D and iron.


    Nettle leaf has a tonic effect and contains iron in addition to the many other nutrients.

    If a supplement for mother's milk is needed, try almond milk or soy milk formulas and a small amount of papaya (put in a blender). This will resemble mother's milk. Add a small amount of blackstrap molasses and brewer's yeast after the baby is a few months old. Never change the baby's diet before consulting the doctor.

    Almost all drugs have been found to enter the mother's milk including: alcohol, amphetamines, antihistamines, aspirin, barbiturates, caffeine, cocaine, cough syrups with iodine, decongestants, ergotamine, Librium, marijuana, nicotine, antibiotics, opiates (morphine, codeine, Demerol), Tagamet, Tylenol, and Valium. Some of the effects of these drugs on the infant include diarrhea, rapid heart rate, restlessness, irritability, crying and poor sleeping, vomiting, and convulsions. Also, some of these drugs may accumulate in the infant and cause addiction.

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