Motherhood

Top Tips for Treating Mastitis without Antibiotics

Unfortunately in trying to wean my son off breastfeeding, I have been suffering with mastitis. Here are my top tips for treating this painful condition, without having to resort to antibiotics.

A few months after giving birth to my son I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I was feeling dizzy, irritable and losing a lot of weight. My GP, health visitor and consultant at the hospital all told me I should cut down breastfeeding, as this would also be contributing to my weight loss. As my condition worsened, I decided that I would need to cut down my feeds and unfortunately in doing so mastitis struck, and boy did it hurt!

Mastitis is a very painful condition, leaving your breasts feeling inflamed and extremely painful. I have had it three times now and luckily each time I have managed to treat it without antibiotics. My symptoms were a fever and a burning sensation in my breast whilst feeding. My breasts were also really hard and lumpy.

I wanted to share my tips and remedies for beating mastitis without having to resort to antibiotics, in the hope that they can help other mums who might also be suffering from the condition.

  • Feed Feed Feed
    Unfortunately this isn’t helpful if you are trying to wean your baby off breastfeeding, but when mastitis strikes, having your child feed off the affected breast is one of the best ways to treat the condition. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts like hell, but it really does help in removing any blockages and emptying your breast of milk. Your other option is to express. When I had mastitis, I increased the amount of feeds to try and drain my breast fully and also got my son to feed off the affected breast first. Also make sure your baby has a good latch, as this can make a huge difference in ensuring your milk is drained properly.
  • Turn up the heat
    Applying heat to the affected breast can also help treat blocked milk ducts. I found warming a flannel and placing it on to the breast before and after a feed really helped.
  • Massage
    When you’re in the shower, massage your breast. Again, this will hurt, but it will really help in clearing the blocked ducts. I highly recommend buying a wide toothed comb and using this to massage the breast using shower gel. Massage down towards the nipple when using this method, focusing on any lumps. You really will feel instant relief!
  • Try different positions
    In order to beat mastitis I tried lots of different breastfeeding positions to try and make sure my affected breast was emptied. The best one I found for treating mastitis is the ‘Dangle Feed’ position. It is probably the most uncomfortable of all positions, and the one you really won’t feel like doing when you’re suffering with a fever, but it definitely works in helping to treat mastitis. Basically, you position yourself over your baby so they are looking up at you. Gravity really does work wonders in dislodging the blocked milk ducts.
  • Keep hydrated
    Make sure you drink plenty of water when you have mastitis as the condition really does take it out of you, and as you need to continue to breastfeed or express, it’s really important to keep hydrated as this will help fight the infection.
  • Wear loose clothing
    When I had mastitis, I wore very loose clothing and ditched the bra as I found it was contributing to the pain in my breast.
  • Take pain relief
    Before resorting to antibiotics, try over the counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen to reduce the pain, inflammation and fever.
  • Rest
    I know rest is a foreign word to us mums, but when you have mastitis it really does knock you for six, so if you can get someone to watch your baby so you can take some time out, it really will help speed up your recovery.

If the above tips don’t help, or you can see that your nipple is infected, go and see your GP as you may have to take a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria responsible.

Reviews

Fame – The Musical 30th Anniversary Tour – Review

Fame The Musical comes to Bournemouth and is guaranteed to have you up on your feet dancing!

Fame The Musical – 30th Anniversary Tour

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press night of Fame at the Bournemouth Pavilion for its 30th Anniversary tour and what a night it was!

For those of you that haven’t heard of Fame, set in the 80s, it follows the lives of students at the highly acclaimed New York’s High School of the Performing Arts. Over four years we see them grow up and follow their highs and lows, romance and heartbreak.

The show has a great cast including Keith Jack as Nick Piazza (BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do), Mica Paris (Broadcaster and Presenter who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2006) as Miss Sherman and Jorgie Porter (Theresa McQueen in Hollyoaks and contestant om I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Dancing on Ice) as Iris Kelly.

For me the standout performance of the night was one of the lesser known cast members, Stephanie Rojas, who plays the fame-obsessed, troubled, Carmen Diaz who dreams of a career in LA and will do whatever it takes to get there. You really feel her pain in the song ‘In L.A and her rendition of ‘Fame’, which she performs with the other students is guaranteed to have you up on your feet dancing!

Mica Paris also shone in her role as Miss Sherman with her powerful voice and strong stage presence. Her passionate performance of ‘These are My Children’ resulted in a roar of applause and cheers from the audience. Hayley Johnston was very funny as Mabel, a dancer who can’t seem to make it through a class without eating, swearing by the Seafood Diet – “I see food, and then I eat it!”.

Jorgie Porter doesn’t sing in her role as Iris Kelly, but her dancing is amazing. She dances with grace and when she is on stage you can’t take your eyes off her. In fact, the whole ensemble are extremely vocally and physically talented.

I also loved the set design, which has the back wall covered by colorfully lit headshots, which light up during the musical numbers.

The show certainly is action-packed and the theatre was buzzing from the moment I entered (with my complimentary and very tasty press cupcake), to the moment I left. The final rendition of ‘Fame’ had the audience on their feet, dancing in the aisles and I left the Bournemouth Pavilion wanting to put on some leg warmers and boogie into the night! As a young girl I dreamed of performing in London’s West End and Fame made me reminisce fondly of all the theatre productions I used to take part in at school and when I got home I started looking for the next musical I could go and see.

Fame has been running for 30 years and you can see why – I do think this show will ‘live forever’ …!

Food, Lifestyle, Reviews

Chewton Glen Hotel Afternoon Tea & Spa Treatment – Review

A delicious afternoon tea and luxurious spa treatment in a 5* luxury country house hotel

Traditional Afternoon Tea Chewton Glen

I was lucky enough to be treated by my husband to afternoon tea and a 60 minute spa treatment at Chewton Glen to celebrate my first Mother’s Day, and what a treat it was!

The country house hotel is set in the New Forest and boasts luxurious spa facilities and award-winning dining. My first tip would be to give yourself enough time to discover and enjoy this beautiful hotel. Take a moment to explore the inside dining areas and wander round the stunning, manicured gardens. Don’t miss The Kitchen Garden either. Giant pumpkins, grape vines, kale, tomatoes and herbs are just a few of the many things you’ll find, along with gorgeous flowers.

My first trip was to the spa and I couldn’t wait! I hadn’t had a massage since I was pregnant and so it was certainly needed. I enjoyed a 60 minute warm oil massage and it was truly divine. My therapist tailored the experience to focus on my trouble areas and it felt amazing. The massage focused on my whole body and my favourite part was the hand and feet. I also got to enjoy a face mask during the front massage and I could literally feel my aches and worries leaving my body. After the massage I was left to let the oils soak into my body while enjoying a delicious passion fruit sorbet – a wonderful end to 60 minutes of pure bliss! At £105 per person for an hour massage it isn’t cheap, but for a one-off, or special occasion it really is fantastic.

Next it was afternoon tea in The Dining Room. The room itself is beautiful. Bright and airy, with stunning decor it really does make for a special occasion. We were lucky enough to enjoy a window seat, which overlooked the beautiful gardens and outdoor pool.

The afternoon tea did not disappoint. Using local, fresh ingredients we tucked into a selection of finger sandwiches (smoked salmon with dill, brie with pear chutney, beef and horseradish and egg and cress). My favourite was the egg and cress and so when our waitress asked if we wanted anything else, I asked for some more – it was a special occasion after all and I was very hungry after my massage! The plain and fruit scones were delicious and I particularly enjoyed the homemade strawberry jam. We were also treated to an array of cakes and pastries including lemon drizzle, fruit tart, cupcake and passion fruit profiterole, and all this was washed down nicely with a lovely cappuccino. There was not a crumb left in sight on either of our plates – it really was delicious. Chewton Glen’s traditional afternoon tea is £29.50 per person and so isn’t the cheapest in the area, but if you’re looking to book somewhere for a real treat, I’d definitely recommend it.

P.S. If you have time, follow the signs from the grounds to the beach. It’s a lovely woodland walk past the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, that only takes 15 minutes, and you won’t be disappointed when you get there as you’ll get to witness gorgeous views of the the Needles rising from the sea in the distance.

I hope to visit again some day…My rating… 4 out of 5