If you are breast feeding, chances are there will come a point where you will end up with a clogged milk duct. How will you know, you might be asking yourself? Trust me. You will know. Clogged milk ducts are very uncomfortable, almost painful. It feels like little pebbles or marbles are stuck inside of your breasts. If you find yourself with a clogged milk duct, you are going to want to fix it ASAP. Here are the steps I take when I have a clogged milk duct.
Quick note- there are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase from one of them I will make a small commission at zero cost to you. Also- these are tips that have helped me personally. I am not a trained medical professional. This is not medical advice. It’s best to always consult your doctor if something is wrong.
You Need to Take Care of a Clogged Milk Duct
I know it’s not fair. You had to deal with stretch marks, weight gain, constant peeing and possibly hemorrhoids. You are getting used to sleeping in 90 minute increments and taking care of a fussy baby. But the impacts of baby-rearing on your body are not over. You are now facing clogged milk ducts. You need to take care of this situation NOW.
A clogged milk duct happens when the milk protein in your duct clots up and hardens. This causes painful, irritated breasts. And I mean painful.
Clogged milk ducts can actually lead to mastitis, which is essentially when bacteria grows inside your duct and you get an infection. This results in a very painful situation that will require antibiotics. Do not let this happen!
Luckily, if you realize early enough your milk duct is clogged, you can generally fix it on your own! Below are the steps I take to unclog/ prevent further clogging. Hopefully they work for you too!
Drink More Water to Help Prevent Milk Duct Clogs/ Remove Clogs
Yes, everyone knows you have to drink an insane amount of water when you are breastfeeding. I personally feel like it’s impossible to drink enough. But you have to try. Becoming dehydrated will sadly attribute to the clogs. Try your hardest to stay on top of hydration. Drink a glass of water every time you breastfeed. And in-between breast feeding sessions. Basically just constantly have a giant water bottle on your person at all times and be drinking and refilling it! Buy yourself a giant water bottle so you have to fill up less often and are therefore more likely to drink maximum amounts of water. I personally use a 30 oz yeti tumbler.
Wear the Right Bras, Or Pay the Price of Clogged Ducts
Yep. Your “nursing bra” could absolutely be the culprit! Invest in a few high quality nursing bras. Under no circumstance should your nursing bra have underwire. This causes the breast to become compressed and a sure fire way to clog your ducts up.
Avoid sports bras or built-in shelf bras that are tight and squish your boobs. These will also compress your breasts and cause all the milk proteins to bind together.
These are the bras that I finally settled on. They do not cause me to get clogged ducts. I also will honestly free-boob it and go braless as much as possible!
Start Taking Sunflower Lecithin to Treat Clogged Ducts
Sunflower lecithin is something my lactation consultant told me about. Of course I am not certified- so ask your OB, pediatrician, midwife or whoever looks after you if it’s OK. But if I feel clots forming I start popping these bad boys and generally within 24 hours the issue has resolved itself! It works to bust the clots apart and open your ducts back up. This is the brand I use and have had no issues!
Keep Feeding Your Baby to Unclog Your Milk Ducts
Make sure that you keep feeding your baby as much as possible on the clogged breast to help relieve the clot. When baby is eating try to gently massage the clot to break it up and help it pass through. Also try putting a warm compress on your breast before feeding to help loosen the clot. Baby’s little suckling motions are natural clot busters!
Use a Manual Breast Pump to Help Loosen the Clot
I personally find that the small little handheld manual breast pump is amazing. You can easily control the pressure and speed of the pump. I think it is much more effective at help to break the clot down than the giant electric pumps. Try taking a warm shower or using a heat compress to loosen the milk clot and then using the manual pump for a few minutes after to work the clot out. I am a huge fan of the Medela manual pump. I actually prefer this pump for The Willow pump which I paid $500 for, but that’s a story for another day!
Sonicate the Clogged Milk Duct with an Electric Toothbrush or-a Vibrator!
Yes that’s right. This was a tip from my lactation consultant and it absolutely helped. If you have a vibrator or toothbrush, gently roll the vibrating head or bristle around the clot. The vibrating should help to break the clot up and make it smaller. This will eventually help the clots to pass and give you relief! Purchasing a small little vibrator like the one linked here is a great investment for clog busting!
If All Else Fails- Call Your Doctor!
If your clogged duct is extremely painful or you have tried everything and your situation isn’t improving, do not hesitate to call your doctor. If you can’t get your breasts unclogged you could end up with mastitis. I have never personally had it but it seems like it would be horrible. Make sure to take care of yourself and stay hydrated.
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