Breastfeeding is no joke. It is not an easy task for moms. It is like opening a whole new world for them. There are moments of joy and there is inevitable pain. While on breastfeeding, there are quite a few problems that moms can come across. One of the problems is not a low milk supply, but some have experienced a problem when the milk ducts got clogged. For moms who are having this trouble, here are some explanations that we hope can help you and figure out ways to treat plugged or clogged milk ducts.
What is clogged or plugged milk ducts?
The ducts in a mother’s breast have a vital part in the breastfeeding process. They help deliver the milk form the alveolar cells which are located deep in the breasts and straight to the nipple. A clogged or plugged milk duct means that there is a certain part of the breast that the milk can’t flow really well. This builds up an obstacle for the following portion of milk from passing through. This triggers the breast tissue to tighten. Mothers can recognize when there is a clogged milk duct when they can feel a hot, red, and painful patch on the breast. This is when mothers experience fever.
Now, here are the main causes and reasons why plugged or clogged milk ducts build up.
Causes for having plugged milk ducts:
- Oversupply of milk or engorgement
- Poor drainage of the milk gland due to narrow milk ducts or clogging
Causes for having clogged milk ducts:
- This usually happens right after the delivery when there is a big difference in the size in the active glandular tissue that produces milk and the diameter of the milk ducts.
- There is poor milk drainage that can lead to a clogged duct.
- Breastfeeding becomes difficult when there is a cracked or flat nipple.
- Clogged milk ducts can also be a result when you don’t change your nursing position.
- When you skip a feeding session and didn’t pump any milk, this abrupt change in schedule can result in a clogged milk duct due to oversupply.
- Stress can also lead to clogged milk ducts because it can cause spasms in the ducts thus blocking the milk from passing through.
- Wearing a tight bra can also cause you to give continuous pressure on your breasts. It can cause an impeded milk flow that can turn into a clog later on. Do not sleep on your belly as well, as it can cause clogged milk ducts as well.
- Abrupt weaning can also cause clogged milk ducts. Make sure to take it slowly and smoothly to prevent clogging.
- If the breasts have sagged, it would be difficult to have an outflow of milk from the lower part of large breasts and can cause clogging.
- If you got really cold or hypothermia, it can narrow your milk ducts and can cause clogging.
7 easy and effective ways to treat plugged or clogged milk ducts:
1. Check the latch
Your milk ducts can get clogged from oversupply and a poor latch means that your breasts can’t empty the milk effectively. So it is important to check if you have this problem to prevent clogging later on.
2. Nurse on demand
In order to deal with a blocked milk duct, you need to nurse more frequently than you used to. Change your breastfeeding positions as well. Put your baby to the affected side of your breast in order to promote better drainage.
3. Massage your breast
To help release the clog, it is important to massage your breasts. You can do this in the hot shower. Then try breastfeeding or pumping after the massage.
4. Apply a warm compress to the affected area of your breast
You can take a hot shower and let the hot water beat against the blocked duct. This may hurt so much but it is very effective. You can also use breastfeeding relief packs. These are very effective and convenient because it is comfortable and your clothes won’t get wet. It soothes and relieves the pain of a clogged duct.
5. Cut down on hot fluids
This is very important. When you have a clogged duct and your baby doesn’t nurse that much, cut on fluids and some calories. Don’t starve yourself, just cut some of your intakes.
6. Try on an old wives’ remedy.
Try using this old but gold remedy. Get a cabbage leaf and cool it down in the fridge. Squeeze it with your hands so you can get some juice in it and put it into your bra. Apply another one every two or three hours and you will be relieved.
7. Use a special nursing position.
Lay your baby on the bed and drop your knees and elbows above the baby and nurse while your breast is hanging down towards the baby’s mouth. The gravity does the trick. It can help when your milk duct just got clogged recently. It will help because the milk wasn’t build up yet.
The 7 easy and effective ways to treat plugged or clogged milk ducts listed above are really effective ways that you can treat the painful and bothersome feeling of the clogged and plugged milk ducts. We hope that you have learned why clogged milk ducts happen, how you can prevent it and what you can do to treat it when you already have it.
Moms are heroes when it comes to treating their babies in the best way they can. That’s why it’s very hard when they suffer as well. These tips are tested and proven to help and treat clogged and plugged milk ducts for many moms around the world. We hope that this article can help moms and it can prevent serious complications that come with it if not treated well.