People tend to describe the first few weeks of motherhood as a beautiful, blissful, and busy time. But they leave out one important detail: It hurts, too. Like, a lot. Recently, former Real Housewives Of Orange County star Meghan King Edmonds opened up about mastitis — which is when a milk duct becomes clogged and then infected, causing pain, according to the Mayo Clinic — There are tons of remedies for mastitis out there, and Edmonds has literally tried every single one of them, though not all of them worked. As anyone who's experienced mastitis knows, it's not an easy thing to get rid of and everyone you talk to will have a different opinion on "the best" way to cope with it.
In a recent post on her blog, Edmonds was brutally honest about the fact that not all remedies are open to all women because of their price and that others just gross her out, such as the old cabbage on your boobs trick. Dealing with and treating mastitis makes being a mom all the more tough, too.
"I had a plugged duct with Aspen but avoided mastitis, so I knew right away when I had a plugged duct this time," she wrote in the blog post, which was published on Thursday. "I did everything I did last time: massaged it, hot shower, pumped, fed the babies from my breast. But then another plugged duct popped up the next day and I really started feeling sick. I called my doctor and got started on an antibiotic."
She went on to write that she was worried about how she was "was going to take care of my babies" because "every joint ached" and she couldn't sleep because of the pain. Edmonds wrote on her blog that she took ibuprofen and was feeling worse than she ever had in her life — and remember, she didn't use any pain medicine for labor, according to the Daily Mail, so that's saying something. Edmonds went on to list everything that she tried, and the list is exhaustive, but some new moms experiencing what she was may find it helpful.
According to her blog post, a warm compress can help and she shared that she tried all different kinds. She also recommended a warm shower, but to make sure the water doesn't touch your nipples "because it feels like little knives if you’re breastfeeding," she wrote. Edmonds also shared that she's tried massaging the duct "until it hurts so bad I want to cry."
Lavender oil also helped Edmonds, according to her post, and it's a natural and cheap remedy. Oregano capsules also seemed to help, according to Edmonds' post, but they're super pricey. Natural remedies, such as essential oils and herbal capsules usually can't hurt, but you definitely want to be seen by a doctor. According to Lansinoh, a brand Edmonds recommended, "Mastitis can clear up without medical treatment, but it’s important to get a confirmed diagnosis with your healthcare provider so you can take next steps which may include taking a course of antibiotics."
Additionally, she shared that antibiotic and probiotics have helped. Not all cases of mastitis require antibiotics, according to the American Family Physician, but since complications from mastitis can cause fever or even a breast abscess, it's best to check with your doctor what the best course of action is for you. Taking probiotics isn't essential, but when you're on antibiotics, they can help replace some of the "good" bacteria and help soothe your stomach, as per U.S. News & World Report.
There were some remedies out there that Edmonds opted to not even bother with. As she shared on her blog, the cabbage thing grossed her out, so that was off the list, although Science Focus explains that the enzymes in cabbage can help some women cure their mastitis. Or at least make it feel better, since the cold, used interchangeably with a warm compress can feel really good. Edmonds also shared that using an electric toothbrush to massage the duct was sort of useless for her, as she wrote, she can "do it better" herself.
Using a wide tooth comb on the duct is also something Edmonds couldn't bring herself to try, though Mainstay Doulas recommends the practice in the shower to open up the clogged duct. The massage and electric toothbrush method are also just meant to loosen the clogged up milk, though some women will be more sensitive to it than others, according to the outlet. Of course, as always, be sure to check with your doctor before attempting any remedies.
While dealing with all of this, as new moms likely know, her twins' tummies were "completely upset," as she wrote on her blog, and she was trying to pack for their family's summer vacation in Idaho. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, milk coming from an infected breast is safe for the infant. However, antibiotic milk can upset those tiny tummies, though every baby will be different, according to BellyBelly. It's a tough situation to be in, since no one wants to change more diapers when they're pain, but feeding directly from the breast is also often of the best ways to heal mastitis, according to the AAP.
Hopefully, one or a couple of the remedies will do the trick and clear up her ducts. Because mastitis is just miserable, especially on summer vacation.