A clogged milk duct is actually the obstructed milk, which can be a lot painful and can also lead to a number of infections. A clogged milk duct makes breastfeeding even more challenging for a mother. Moreover, your chances of getting a clogged duct may also increase if you have had it once in the past and you haven’t been careful enough in its treatment.
You may notice the following symptoms if you have a clogged milk duct:
- Swelling; which may get better after nursing
- A small lump or a tender spot in the breast
Read More: Six Effective Ways to Treat Plugged Duct During Breastfeeding
Causes of clogged milk ducts
When the breasts do not completely get emptied of the milk and rather the milk gets backed up on a regular basis, it may lead to clogged duct. Given below are a few causes:
- When you do not breastfeed often enough or wait for longer intervals between breastfeeds.
- When the baby does not latch properly.
- If the production of breast milk is too much.
- A tight bra that enforces a lot of pressure on the breast tissue, may also lead to clogged ducts.
- Lack of rest and not staying hydrated also increases the risk of clogged ducts.
11 Effective Ways to Relieve Your Clogged Milk Ducts
It is recommended by the experts that you should regularly massage the sore area firmly. Begin by massaging the outside area and then slowly move towards the nipple. Also, you must apply warm compresses before nursing so that the ducts can open up. Also, it helps in relieving the symptoms.
Use a large toothed comb and massage your breasts in the hot shower. Make sure that you draw the comb through a bar of soap till the time it is extremely soapy. You can then use it to massage your breasts in the same manner as stated above; that is by gently moving towards the direction of the nipple.
This has been extremely beneficial to the maximum number of ladies. You can take a disposable diaper and fill it with hot water. Put the inside of the diaper toward the breast after squeezing it out a bit. This is much better as compared to a wet cloth as it stays warm for a much longer time.
Try nursing with the sore breast
Yes, you may find it hard to this at first place but try to nurse on the side with the clogged duct primarily, if it doesn’t hurt too much. This will enable to dislodge the plug. However, you may use a breast pump on that particular side if in the case; your baby doesn’t want to empty the breast.
Ibuprofen has proved to be a lot beneficial in such cases. However, it is important for you to consult your doctor before taking any medicine while you are breastfeeding. Do not take any sort of risk even if it is an over the counter drug, confirm it with your doctor.
Read More: 11 Common Breastfeeding Concerns of Nursing Mothers
On one side, warm compress provides a lot of relief to the pain and symptoms of clogged duct, whereas for some women, cold compress proves to be more helpful. So, it is totally up to you as both these remedies are equally effective. Thus, it depends on which one provides you with the best relief.
As a breastfeeding woman, you must emphasis more on nutritious food because this will help to boost your immune system. Apart from this, drink plenty of fluids so that you stay hydrated.
Of course, I know it’s hard because you have your little one by your side and you have to take care of him/her. So, at times you may not even be able to complete your sleep hours. But ask someone to take care of your baby for some time so that you take proper rest because it is imperatively important for you to do so.
Switch your nursing positions
You must switch your nursing position while breastfeeding, for instance, you may try the football hold at times then the cradle hold another time and then, nurse while lying down sometimes to ensure that all the ducts are drained.
It is perfectly normal to seek help from others at times. It is your first time and its okay if you do not know how to do everything in the right manner. Eventually, you may also be able to find out the exact problem and be able to solve it at the earliest by taking someone’s help.
Make sure to pump the affected breast, 10-15 minutes after nursing. You may consider hospital grade pump as it is a lot effective if you either cannot tolerate feedings or your baby does not nurse well. Make sure to consult your doctor.
Clogged milk ducts: Prevention
- Start breastfeeding your baby more often so as to ensure that the milk does not back up in the ducts.
- Do not wait for longer intervals between breastfeeding.
- Go for a low fat-diet which will prevent the formation of ducts. Highly avoid saturated fats in your diet.
- Do not wear bras that are excessively tight or consist of an underwire.
- Change your breastfeeding positions to drain each and every area of your breast.
- More importantly, take proper rest and stay hydrated.
We have provided you with 11 most effective ways to treat clogged milk ducts. However, in case the lump stays for more than three days or if it grows, you must call your doctor. Remember, you should not leave it untreated so as to avoid any infections later in the future.
Read More: Breastfeeding vs Formula: Which is Better and Why?