Breastfeeding is a special experience, but it’s not without the good, bad, and sometimes painful. The experience may not always be rainbows and butterflies, so discussing some of the uncomfortable aspects is important. One of these aspects is a clogged milk duct. Read on to learn about clogged milk ducts, with helpful tips on how to identify and combat them.
Identifying a Clogged Milk Duct
Often, breastfeeding mothers don’t notice a clog until their breast is inflamed, sore to the touch, and possibly red. If you begin to feel slight discomfort through a marble-like bump or one specific area of breast tissue, you can start applying warm compresses and favoring this breast when nursing. If the discomfort progresses into a more pronounced clog, you must begin using some helpful tips to combat the clogged milk duct and bring relief.
Easing the Discomfort at Home
Fortunately, you can easily combat a clog at home. Use the following tips and stay consistent. Soon, you’ll have relief from your clogged milk duct.
Avoid Tightly Fitted Bras
When you have a clog, you should avoid tightly fitted bras. These can clamp down on your breast ducts and hinder adequate flow through the breast. Many women prefer a more comfortable nursing bra one size too large. You can also use nursing pads to fill additional space and avoid leaks.
Consider a Manual Breast Pump
A manual breast pump is an excellent and affordable member of must-have supplies to avoid breastfeeding discomfort because it solves various problems. It can resolve clogs and prevent engorgement and favoritism, which both can lead to clogged ducts.
For example, if your baby sleeps longer than expected or favors one breast over the other, milk may not have an opportunity to leave, leading to clogs. A manual breast pump is a convenient way to bring relief to yourself and move the milk out of the breast.
Monitor Your Baby’s Latch Techniques
Another common cause of a clogged milk duct is your baby’s latch technique. If they are nursing but not latching properly, you may notice an influx of clogs from an improper milk removal process. Address your baby’s latch if you have a clog, and pay close attention to their ability to fully wrap around the areola.
Apply Heat and Massage
Applying heat and massaging are some of the most basic but helpful tips for combating clogged milk ducts. These two practices can bring topical relief to the sore area and help the milk move its way through the duct.
Warm a soft cloth or a rice bag and apply it to the affected area for about 10 minutes. After heat, apply gentle but firm pressure to the clog to push it downward through the duct.