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I have a 3 week old preemie who is 34 weeks gestational age. I've been pumping and have a very abundant milk supply. I've been easily pumping at least 50 ounces a day with a hospital grade pump. Over the last week, my son is beginning to breastfeed very well. He's now taking in 8-11 ounces a day of breastmilk. He's still in the NICU but he'll be going home soon.

I had mastitis last week and I'm continuing to struggle with having plugged ducts. I don't want to get mastitis over and over again. What can I do to naturally treat and prevent mastitis?

Thank you!
 

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My DD had a major liver problem at 2 weeks, and was in the NICU from 2 weeks-5 weeks, and I had to pump almost the entire time, and had a case of mastitis right when my 2-week old infant had to have major surgery. I feel your pain!

One thing that makes a huge difference is sleep. I know it is so hard to do in this situation, but try to do what you can. See if there are rooms to nap in at the hospital. THe hospital dd was in had a Ronald McDonald suite in the hospital that was set aside for parents to take naps in every afternoon.

You said that you are using a hospital grade pump. Is it in the hospital? Sometimes, hospitals let mothers have access to their lactation rooms, which makes things a lot easier when you are hangin around the hospital all day.

I don't have any experience with supplements, I hope that someone will have some good advice in that area for you.

Good for you for being so committed to BF! Your babe will really benefit from all your hard work right now.
 

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I've had lots of mastitis and plugged ducts and I have found lecithin to be really helpful as a preventative. I take 1200mg tablets 4 x daily and it does the trick for me.

And as a PP said, getting lots of rest and eating a healthy diet is so important. Mastitis is often brought on by fatigue/ exhaustion/ trying to do too much. I know it certainly was in my case. It can't be easy with a babe in the NICU, but do everything you can to get rest. Let the housework go, get DH to cook, call in friends and family to help out...

You could probably consider using cabbage leaves to reduce your supply a bit too, as you have such abundant supply. Put a cabbage in the fridge. Take out a couple of leaves and crush them with a rolling pin, then put them inside your bra for 30 mins. Do this a few times a day and it should help with the oversupply. (Not sure there's any scientific evidence for this but it seems to work!)

I wonder if you could also try block pumping to help calm your supply down a bit. (I'm guessing that oversupply is the root of the mastitis/plugged ducts).

Good luck - I hope you're nursing your LO 'straight from the tap' very soon
 
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