A breastfeeding mom might have been happily breastfeeding so far, or has just recovered from sore nipples, but now encounters this thing called plugged ducts or clogged milk ducts. You will find below 4 easy ways to relieve clogged milk ducts.
She can easily address clogged milk ducts at home by taking a breastfeeding break, trying different breastfeeding positions, gently massaging her affected breast, and/or applying a hot compress before massaging or breastfeeding.
What Are Clogged Milk Ducts?
First of all, what is it? According to kellymom.com, a clogged or plugged milk duct “is an area of the breast where the milk flow is obstructed.” Usually, a clogged duct is a hard lump on the mother’s breast that may feel slightly painful and looks swollen or may even be a reddened spot. There are a number of reasons why this may have happened: the mother might have missed a feeding or it might have been the way she positioned her baby.
Why It’s Best Not To Ignore A Clogged Duct?
The breastfeeding mom may end up having a low-grade fever. At worst, it may lead to mastitis or inflammation of the breast which requires a visit to the doctor.
Here are four easy ways for a breastfeeding mom to deal with clogged milk ducts at home:
1. Take a Breastfeeding Break
She should stop what she’s doing, rest, and just nurse her baby. In other words, she should take a break to just breastfeed. The breastfeeding mother should offer the affected breast first because the baby will suckle more vigorously at the start of a feeding. She should make sure her baby suckles the affected breast for as long as he or she can. She should try to position her baby’s chin on the affected area so that her baby’s suckling motion will gently massage the affected area.
2. Try Different Breastfeeding Positions
She should try different breastfeeding positions with the baby. This will help the baby drain all the breast milk ducts more thoroughly and not just concentrate on some ducts. Check out this video below to view for 5 different breastfeeding positions.
3. Gentle Breast Massage
She should gently massage the affected area with her fingers before and after breastfeeding. It’s best to use circular motions, going clockwise for the left breast, and counter clockwise for the right breast. This will help loosen up the clogged duct.
4. Apply a Hot Compress
She can also apply a hot compress before and after breastfeeding. An effective hot compress is a rice sock. Get a clean old sock (maybe one that has no pair anymore) and fill it halfway with uncooked rice or beans. Microwave it for less than a minute. The sock will remain hot longer than a hot towel and it can be applied to the affected breast before the massage to further loosen up the milk in the clogged duct.
A breastfeeding mom may encounter clogged milk ducts at any stage of her breastfeeding relationship with her baby. While a clogged milk duct may not be as serious a problem as sore nipples or mastitis, she shouldn’t ignore it either because it might lead to a low-grade fever or, at worst, mastitis.