Clogged milk duct???
Breastfeeding is undoubtedly a blissful part of having a baby. But, after the night long feeding sessions, engorgement, breast pumps and leaking, a mother’s breasts can get clogged and that can be painful and itchy. Clogged breast is the result of lump getting developed that swells and is painful which stops the supply of milk. Although it sounds a bit serious issues for breastfeeding mothers, it can be treated with home remedies.
Symptoms of a clogged milk duct
Plugged or clogged milk ducts might be the result of one of the breast no being emptied completely, if the baby skips the feed or due to stress. Clogged milk ducts can cause pain at a specific point on the breast along with a hard lump that will hurt if touched. It can also cause swelling, slower milk supply, and itching. The milk supply slows down due to clogging and a mother will also notice the milk becoming thick or it will look like strings or grains. The breast can get infectious due to lump which can, in turn, cause mild fever.
A big question is what causes plugged or clogged milk duct in the breast? Clogging happens in the women who are breastfeeding their newborns or to the ones who have stopped breastfeeding in recent times. Women who don’t drain the breast milk either while feeding or through breast pumps can result in milk deposition which blocks the ducts.
One of the other reasons could be too tight bra or infrequent feeding, some of the risk factors include a change in feeding patterns, not following the proper nursing session, skipped feeding, and wearing too tight clothes and bra.
Treating a clogged milk duct
The first thing to understand is that it is not a big deal and can be handled well. The clogged duct can be cured within 2-3days so don’t panic. The best and the most effective way to clear clogging is by feeding on a regular basis and making sure to empty all the milk after every session of breastfeeding.
An empty breast feels lighter and will produce no or little milk on squeezing. Other home remedies to follow are:
- Heating pad- Applying a heating pad will melt the lump and will set the breast free from clogging. It has proven to be very effective.
- Massage- Massage your breast with mild temperature oil especially while feeding or pumping.
- Offer the clogged breast- Make sure to serve your baby the breast that is clogged first, when they are super hungry. Since babies tend to suck the hardest when they are hungry.
- Change positions- Change feeding positions as clogging can sometimes be the reason for feeding the baby is the same position. So make sure you use all four positions while feeding your baby.
- Avoid tight clothing- Avoid wearing bras and start wearing loose fitted clothes.
Sometimes, a clogged duct can be extremely painful and highly swollen. In such intense cases, it needs to be consulted with a doctor. A clogged duct that does not resolve can lead to mastitis which is inflammation of the breast due to infection. So better not delay if you have a painful clogged breast for a long time.
What’s better than to prevent a problem before it appears. The best way to prevent clogging is to offer your breast alternately to your child and making him/her drain each breast completely during each breastfeeding session.
Be patient as a newborn takes 15-30 minutes to empty a breast completely. Other points to keep in mind to avoid clogging are:
- Wear loose-fitting clothes and always opt for a wire-free bra if you are a breastfeeding mother.
- Avoid positions that put a lot of weight or pressure on the breast.
- Always use a breast pump after every breastfeeding session to make sure your breast is completely empty.
It is important to pay close attention while breastfeeding. And if your breast has been clogged for a long time and is recurring, you must visit a doctor. Take care of yourself and your baby.