Once you start to breastfeed, you get in terms with all its eras, like breastfeeding benefits for the mother & the baby. Breastfeeding doesn’t come easy, it conjures you with engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, low milk supply, etc, etc.
Despite the fear in mothers, these symptoms and breastfeeding problems can be easily evaluated and resolved. To begin with, Clogged milk supply, for example, is often treated manually, it is also self-diagnosed and self-treated.
Questions like, What is Clogged Milk Duct? Or what are clogged milk ducts symptoms? Do I have clogged milk ducts? Or perhaps, what is multiple clogged milk ducts? What causes clogged milk ducts? How to clear clogged milk ducts? What are clogged milk ducts treatment? These questions though sound scary but can be easily answered and be nullified.
What are clogged milk ducts?
WHO suggests breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months. Exclusive breastfeeding has unending benefits for the mother and the baby but it also has complications and clogged milk among them can be noticed at a very early stage of breastfeeding.
Clogged Milk ducts in breasts surface where there’s an obstruction in the milk flow. These can be noticed as early as in the hospital. Clogged milk ducts are a result of an improper latch, breastfeeding positions, improper drainage, other causes that we will discuss forth.
Generally, whenever there is a blockage in the milk flow for a longer period, you will witness clogged milk ducts. The insufficiency of proper breast milk drainage that results in the accumulation of milk preventing a proper milk flow is considered blocked milk ducts or plugged milk ducts.
This accumulation of milk behind the blockage can discomfort you and disturb your peaceful breastfeeding session. Clogged milk ducts pain is hard to digest. You can especially notice swelling, inflammation, and itchiness.
Clogged Milk Ducts Symptoms
- Pain in specific areas of the breasts.
- Frequently, lumps are evident.
- Swelling & Inflammation
- Not a smooth milk flow.
- MIlk blebs or milk blisters on the nipple.
If you notice fever caused by these clogged milk ducts, it could be breasts infection, you should visit your doctor as a top priority.
What Causes Clogged Milk Ducts
These symptoms appear in mothers who recently started to breastfeed or have to stop breastfeeding recently.
- First, improper/insufficient drainage.
- Oversupply. Too much pumping can lead to oversupply.
- Weak Latch
- Improper Breastfeeding position
- A recent change in the feeding pattern
- An irregular breastfeeding schedule.
- Not breastfeeding on demand
- Tight Bras or clothes.
Clogged Milk Ducts Treatment
With or without treatment, clogged milk duct usually relieves away in a day or 2 but it’s not necessary to endure the pain. You can try these home remedies to free your clogged ducts.
- Pump your breasts to express the extra leftover milk. Often power pumping can stimulate your body to produce extra milk that is of no use unless you are building up milk stashes.
- Haakaa pump allows you to express the extra milk without emptying the complete breasts. It works on suction, you can just attach the pump on your breasts and will do the work for you.
- A warm shower or heating pad can release the tension buildup in your breasts. Use a warm compressor to restart the flow.
- Soak the breast in warm water and Epsom salt. You can either use a container or a Haakaa pump. Warm water and Epsom salt have anti-inflammatory qualities. They also help in reducing pain & swelling.
- Massaging the duct with gravity. Massage these ducts in the motion they flow. Start from shoulders, the breast, and then the nipples, in this manner.
- Use gravity to ease off the pain. Whenever feeding or pumping, position yourself so that the gravity works upon your shoulder.
If the pain and clogged ducts still persist, it might lead to breast infection or mastitis. There are no home remedies for mastitis. Visit your doctor ASAP.
How To Prevent Clogged Milk Ducts
Prevention is always better than cure because you would need to continue to breastfeed for a long time without a pause. Treating while still breastfeeding hurts. The most simple way to avoid clogged milk ducts is to always keep your breasts close to empty with proper drainage.
By the same token,
- Often take warm showers and massage your breasts once in a while.
- Wear loose clothes and nursing bras.
- Use a Haakaa pump to always express the leftover milk and never ignore a full breast for a longer time. If your baby is unable to empty your breasts completely, always express the extra milk.
- Provided that, check your latch. If your baby is full and has many dirty diapers a day, your latch is probably right but if your latch is not correct, it may lead to low milk supply, engorgement, and many other issues. Look for the signs of low milk supply to get a hint about your latch.
- Also, breastfeeding positions are also important. Check if your position allows you a good latch and comfort. You can always consult a lactational specialist and learn how to latch properly. An improper latch is evident in mothers new to breastfeeding. With time, you can master breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed on demand will also help you empty your breasts more often than a scheduled session. Avoid scheduling your breastfeeding session, at least for 6 months.
Some signs that your breast is empty are:
- Certainly, your Breast feels light.
- You don’t notice any extra let down or milk drops after squeezing the breast.
To emphasize, mothers with over milk supply are at greater risk of clogged ducts. You can use the extra milk to prepare milk stashes for when you start to wean or you always have the option to feed other babies in need of breastfeeding.