How to remove and prevent clogged milk ducts
Breastfeeding is supposed to be a natural, instinctual, and easy experience or, so we are told. Well, if you have ever breastfed then you know this is not the norm for most first-time mommas or even some breastfeeding veterans.
Most breastfeeding moms struggle in the beginning and it takes a lot of commitment to not give up when it gets painful and hard. Trust me, I almost gave up a million and one times (but I am so glad that I didn’t). It really does get better and is an amazing bond with your child once you work out all the kinks.
What people fail to mention is that you will experience sore nipples, engorgement, clogged milk ducts, and in severe cases mastitis. Check to all the above!
As someone who experienced clogged ducts every other week in the first 8 weeks of breastfeeding, I can tell you it is no fun and NO JOKE! I ended up developing mastitis 3 times because of clogged ducts.
So, to all those new moms out there struggling and dealing with the hardships of breastfeeding, I salute you. Welcome to the breastfeeding club!
Now that you have been initiated to the group, you’re going to need some support and help. Here are some of my best tried and true tips to help you with clogged milk ducts. Everything I am going to share with you, I have tried and had success with.
Let’s start with the basics!
What is a clogged milk duct?
A clogged milk duct is exactly what it sounds like. Your milk is backed up and won’t come out. The duct is clogged.
Symptoms of a clogged milk duct
Usually you can feel a small, hard lump where the clogged duct is located in the breast tissue. The lump is often tender to touch and can feel warm. The breast tissue can even can be red and inflamed. In my experience, it always felt like someone used my boob as a punching bag. It just felt heavy and sore.
What causes a clogged milk duct?
There are several things that can cause clogged milk ducts including:
· Improper latch
· Not emptying the breasts frequently
· Restrictive/tight bras
· A weak breast pump
· Not getting enough rest
How to relieve a clogged milk duct
So, let’s get down to brass tacks, the real reason you here. Let’s get rid of that damn clog!!
Here is what you need to do:
1. Nurse often and start nursing on the affected side every time. You should not avoid nursing. In fact, you should bring your baby to the breast more often when you have a clogged duct.
2. Apply hot compresses for a few minutes before you nurse. I used this compress and I found it to be very helpful. You can also take a hot shower before (but having the luxury to take a hot shower every time before you feed your baby isn’t always realistic.)
3. Massage the spot where the clog is when you are nursing. This is intended to help work it out. Use a good amount of pressure, as much as you can tolerate. This will not feel pleasant, but this step is the key to pushing that milk through and loosening the clog.
4. Repeat until the clog becomes unblocked (you will know when it comes unblocked because the milk will come out fast, and spray like a garden hose. Your baby will probably pop off because the milk flow is too fast. That is perfectly okay, just let the milk flow out into a burb cloth or towel).
How to PREVENT Clogged Ducts from Recurring
Once you have experienced a clogged milk duct, I’m sure you'll want to avoid them at all costs. Well, I have great news for you, IT IS POSSIBLE. Hallelujah!!!
The key to putting an end to this common problem is to incorporate Sunflower Lecithin into your daily regimen. It wasn’t until I found this LIFESAVER that I stopped getting recurrent clogged ducts! I take this exact product every day, 3 times a day and I have not had a clogged duct since.
Sunflower Lecithin works by acting as an emulsifier so that the milk stays thin and liquidy and doesn’t get backed up in your milk ducts.
Soy Lecithin, which you might recognize because it is added to a lot of foods, is often recommended as a solution for the same problem by many people. If you have PCOS or any type of hormonal issues, you will want to avoid soy. That is why I prefer to take the sunflower lecithin. However, if you don’t have problems with your hormones you can certainly use the soy lecithin instead. It is up to you.
If you take sunflower or soy lecithin regularly you won’t have to worry about getting any more clogs. Trust me, it works. Proud to be clog free!!! Now if I could just get more sleep...
CAUTION: If you do not feel better in a day or two, you should contact your doctor. If you begin to run a temperature, get the chills, and/or notice a red splotchy patch on your breast, you have progressed to mastitis and should consult your doctor immediately.
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