How To Fix and Clear A Blocked Milk Duct!
Ouch! Are you experiencing an awful pain in your breast??
You may have a blocked milk duct!
Choosing to breastfeed is one of the best decisions you can make for your baby. Breastfeeding has many benefits but can be difficult at times.
One of the biggest problems a woman can have while breastfeeding is a blocked (also known as plugged or clogged) milk duct in her breast.
At first, a mother may not take this too serious and assume it will unclog itself and go away, however, this is not always the case.
If a blocked milk duct does not unclog itself by breastfeeding alone, it can cause a lot of pain and possibly a worse condition called mastitis.
Many mothers can get a blocked milk duct as early as their second month of breastfeeding! The last thing a breastfeeding mom needs is to become sick with mastitis at such an important time in her and her child’s life!
What causes a clogged milk duct?
Clogged milk ducts can be caused by many things.
Most common causes of clogged milk ducts are:
- Not getting enough rest giving birth
- Wearing bras that are too tight
- Not emptying the breasts completely after each feeding
- A poor latch
- Skipping a feeding.
I have had many clogged milk ducts over the years of breastfeeding my three daughters! Here are tips I used that really work to unclog a blocked milk duct yourself and hopefully fix the problem before it gets worse!
Signs & symptoms of a blocked milk duct
*You will experience some pain in your breast.
*There will be a lump or a hard ball of tissue under the skin of your breast.
*The area where your pain is may become slightly red.
*Your baby may seem frustrated while feeding from that breast and you may notice he or she isn’t getting enough milk to come out from that breast during their feeding.
How to clear the blocked milk duct
Massage, massage, massage!!!
I can’t say this enough!
It will hurt a little bit but the more you massage that area, the more you will loosen up the skin and hopefully release the milk.
Take a hot shower!
Make sure while you are in the shower that you massage the breast under the hot running water.
Even better, take a hot bath! (However, many new moms don’t have time for long soaks in the tub!) This will also help loosen the milk and will relax you.
As soon as you get out of the shower, feed your baby on that breast that is clogged. Continue to feed her as much as you possibly can on that breast until it feels a little bit better.
If feeding your baby still does not help your breast or your baby is asleep, then use your breast pump!
Sometimes pumping can be the best way to fix the problem because you can angle the pump in the direction that’s needed to loosen up the milk duct.
Here is a unique pumping strategy below that has always worked for me and my friends when we’ve had a blocked milk duct.
**Lay down on the opposite side of your infected breast and pump. For instance, if your right breast is the side that is clogged, lay down on the left side of your body while pumping. This may sound strange, but it really works. The pump pulls milk from the direction that a baby can’t always get to.
Do this as many times as needed!
Apply a warm compress/heating pad to the infected area.
The heat will help loosen the milk and relieve some pain.
**An easy trick is to fill up an old sock with rice and tie the end in a knot. Microwave the sock for a few seconds and apply it to your breast.
Best homemade heating pad!
Feed baby again and again
Feed your baby on that side of your breast as often as you can. Massage your breast in the infected area while feeding your baby to help loosen the milk.
Try taking a supplement called Lecithin.
I have had many recurrent clogged ducts and found this supplement along with these other techniques above have helped me tremendously!!
You can easily find these at any drug store and taking 1 capsule 3-4 times a day will help unclog your milk duct!!
I keep a bottle of these vitamins with me in case I’m not home or traveling with the kids and I feel one coming on. These have helped thin my milk and saved me from getting mastitis!
They are great to keep on hand for times when I am unable to get home and nurse or pump.
Remember, I am not a doctor, so please do your own research or call your doctor.
You can find out more info about Lecithin on http://kellymom.com. You can also purchase Lecithin and find out more by clicking the photo below or clicking here.
Continue steps above
Continue all steps as many times as needed until you feel the lump loosening or notice your milk being released during pumping or feeding.
The pain should slowly go away but it may take some time depending on how blocked the duct has become.
Last tip- Relax!
This may sound crazy since it’s hard to be relaxed at such a stressful and exhausting time, but the more you relax, the more your body will release your milk and come unclogged.
I have also heard that drinking pineapple juice can help with inflammation and decrease the symptoms of a clogged or blocked milk duct. I have never personally tried this myself but heard from a few moms that it definitely helps relieve some pain.
I believe that if you follow the steps above, take the Lecitin, and drink pineapple juice, it will help speed things up and get you feeling better in no time!
Try to fix the problem as soon as you notice signs of your breast becoming clogged!
This may not always be easy if you are at work or somewhere that you are unable to pump or feed your baby, but the sooner you treat the problem, the quicker it will go away.
The longer you wait, the more chance it has to get worse and cause mastitis!
If any of these remedies do not unclog the milk duct within 2 days and you feel worse or have flu-like symptoms, call your doctor as soon as you can and they can give you some antibiotics to treat it.
Looking for the best breastfeeding must haves to help you nurse your baby? Check out this post on my breastfeeding necessities that got me through breastfeeding 3 kids for 2 years each! 👇
Need More Help?
If you need more help and would like step by step information on how to breastfeed your baby with The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class!
This is an affordable 90 min breastfeeding class video that is perfect for new moms! I honestly wish they had something like this when I first breastfed my daughter.
You can learn more about The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class Here! 👇
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For more of my favorite breastfeeding and baby must haves, click the photos below!