September 29, 2013

Where There Is Mastitis, There Is Usually a Diaper

Mastitis.  It's never a good thing.
Unfortunately I had it sneak up on me recently with no physical warning that I can see.  I say physical because I did have a mental meltdown and was glad to find out that there was a reason for it as my norm is fairly stable.
So while in the midst of a mental haze a friend of mine helped walk me thru treatment of mastitis.  Jessica, at Simply Healthy Home,  is my pregnancy and baby question go-to person as she loves babies and all the drama that goes with them.   She is well-studied while being kind and caring.
You see, I don't get sick often, or have issues like this, and when I do, I tend to mentally shut down.  I just want to curl into a fetal position and wish for death.  It's been 15 years since I have had to personally deal with mastitis, and the last time I gave in to a round of antibiotics.
In the midst of fever, chills, and a slightly altered mental status this time, I  reached for herbal tinctures.
Tincturing is one of my favorite herbal preparations as alcohol helps to activate many herbal properties and it is also a great way of preserving your herbs for years.   I've studied them enough to know what I need and what is best for me so.  Know what you are using and why.

But then you have the issues of the localized pain and inflammation.
Mastitis hurts.  It is not a happy place.
So for localized pain and swelling Jessica recommended a poultice of lobelia and mullein.
The basics of a poultice are pretty simple and straight-forward.
Herbs come into direct contact with the affected area.
My herbs are dried and need to be activated.  Then you have the whole issue of wet herbs on the skin.
I've seen, and probably recommended, using a cloth to hold the herbs, and then covering the area with a piece of plastic wrap or bag to contain the mess.
Ha!  You are still going to end up soaked.
So in my fevered haze, I happened to walk past a stack of diapers that I had been planning on dropping off at the church nursery.  They were size 1 and size 2.  Way too small for my 30 pound toddler.
And yes, I did use primarily cloth diapers, but it is handy to have a few disposables for going out and around.

And then I had a thought.  Diapers are meant to contain wet, and are about the size I need.... hmmmm.

So I hydrated my herbs.  To do this I added the dry herbs to a bowl, and heated water in my kettle.  I poured some over the herbs.  Not a bunch, because I don't want a tea (it's the same premise) but I want soggy herbs.

I let them sit for about 5-10 minutes to hydrate and cool a bit (I also don't want to put boiling hot water on my skin).
Then I filled the diaper channel, checked the temperature to make sure it was appropriate, and placed it over the affected area using a nursing bra contain and make application easier.
I let it stay in place for at least 30 minutes or until it starts getting on my nerves, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.
When you are ready, remove the diaper and rinse/wash any herbs from the area.
I wasn't soaked and the pain and redness were eased (sorry, no photos of this).

You can also use a diaper for poultices for other things as well, but I don't know that it would go over so well with my other kids or husband.  If you have a stash of them around it is a handy mode of transport, but I don't know that I'd buy them just for that purpose?
So I hope you never need to treat mastitis but if you ever do consider herbs in a diaper...  after all, it's better than what is normally there.

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