For mommies, choosing to exclusively breastfeed your baby is both a magical – and a tough choice too! It takes a lot of hard work, patience, sleepless nights, and also pain just to feed your baby with your liquid gold.
Yes, it is true that breastfeeding can be painful, especially for first time mothers. There are certain conditions that you might experience like sore nipples and clogged milk ducts.
Clogged milk ducts happen when your breasts become too filled with milk, and the milk gets trapped inside. So, if ever you are reading this article, you might be looking for answers on how to clear milk ducts fast.
Don’t worry, mommy! I am here to help you learn more about clogged milk ducts and how to treat them right away – the fast and easy way!
What you need to know
What is a Clogged Milk Duct?
When a milk duct is clogged, milk is trapped inside the breasts and it cannot come out easily due to some obstruction. We will be going through the reasons why this happens, and what are the best ways to resolve this problem without any worries and complications.
Causes of Clogged Milk Duct
There are a lot of factors as to why a milk duct can be clogged, and we will be listing down all the possible details to help you out.
Skipped Feeding or Pumping Schedule
Making sure that you are on the right track on your nursing and pumping schedule is necessary to keep your ducts empty at all times. Skipping and irregular feeding sessions can make the milk accumulate inside your breasts – leading to clogged ducts.
Some mommies tend to have an oversupply of milk, which means that you are producing liquid gold more than your baby needs. So, if ever you are experiencing oversupply, it is highly recommended to always empty your breasts to prevent any clogging of your milk ducts.
There are some cases wherein a baby can’t latch on a mommy’s nipple properly. This can happen when a baby’s nursing position might not be comfortable for him, or the mother did not latch the baby’s mouth properly on her nipples. Poor latching can lead to insufficient milk sucking from your little one, so the milk is not emptied out on your breasts.
Pressure on Breasts
Wearing tight underwear can also be one of the reasons for clogged duct discomfort. For nursing mommies, it is highly recommended not to wear tight fitting clothes and bras with underwires.
Home Remedies for Clogged Milk Ducts
Most of the time, treating clogged milk ducts is easy to do and it usually takes only 1 to 2 days for the discomfort to alleviate. Here are some of the effective ways to clear your milk ducts fast:
Empty Breasts Completely
When you are nursing or pumping, you always have to make sure that your breasts are completely emptied out of milk. A mommy would usually notice that her breasts feel lighter after feeding. You can also check if the breasts are emptied out by squeezing it to see if no more milk is coming out.
After nursing your little sunshine, you can also follow up with pumping to ensure that no milk will be stuck inside your breasts. This will ensure that no obstruction can occur while new milk is forming inside your milk ducts.
Heating pads or a warm cloth can help alleviate swollen milk ducts. All you need to do is apply some hot compress on your breasts for 20 minutes. Having a warm shower can also be beneficial to pained moms.
Check out our top pick for a breastfeeding heating pack:
Magic Gel Luxury Breast Therapy Pack
The Magic Gel Luxury Breast Therapy Pack allows mommies to apply hot and cold compresses on their breasts. This therapy pack can help alleviate sore nipples, mastitis, swelling, and inflammation of the breasts without taking any medication. It provides fast and easy comfort for nursing moms.
It is also very easy to use, you can put the pack inside a microwave for 15 seconds to heat it up. You can also put the pack inside the freezer to chill it up. This breast pack is suitable for most breast pump kits like Philips, Medela, Lansinoh, and Therapearl.
- Can be used for up to 300 times
- Suitable for most breast pumps
- Decreases engorgement
Try a Lactation Massage
Having a massage around your breasts and your back can help lessen the swelling and inflammation of your milk ducts. You can apply some of your favorite essential oils for added aromatherapy too!
LaVie Lactation Massager for Breastfeeding
One of my favorite tools for relieving my engorged breasts whenever I wake up after a long sleep overnight. The vibration coming from this tool breaks the clogs on the milk ducts of a nursing mama. Aside from the relief and comfort it provides, this lactation massager also gives you better milk flow so your baby can extract more milk.
It also has an ergonomic design that suits all breast size and shape, so you don’t need to worry about using this tool! The wide scoop that it has can effectively pull the milk outwards to relive the stubborn clogs. This tool is super easy to use, and the massage vibration gives a tired mama a break from nursing.
- Made from medical-grade silicone
- 100% BPA-free
Take Some Ibuprofen
There might be times when the pain is unbearable, and that’s completely normal. If the swelling pains you too much, you can try taking some ibuprofen for some relief. Clogged ducts can also lead to body pains and even headaches, and ibuprofen can help you with that.
Ibuprofen is considered safe while nursing, but if you are taking other medications and maintenance medicines, you might have to talk to your doctor first.
You can also try feeding your baby in an all-fours position to help gravity do its job. While your baby is lying down on the bed, position over your baby on all fours so your nipples are pointing down on the floor. This can help with relieving and removing the blockage on your milk ducts.
You might think that pinching the clogged duct on your breasts might help, but this can just lead to more pain. “Popping” the clog might lead to more inflammation and pain.
Change Breastfeeding Position
If you have been used to one or two breastfeeding positions, you might want to change into a position that leads your baby’s mouth towards the clog. While your baby is feeding, more suction will be applied on the affected area, so the blockage can be pulled out.
There have been a lot of comments and suggestions that putting 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom salt on a Haakaa pump (a manual pump) can effectively remove milk blockage. You also have to put some hot water (about half full) inside the pump and let the pump suck up the clogged milk inside.
Make sure that your nipples are submerged into the hot water, and keep them submerged for 5 to 10 minutes.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
Since we have talked about using a Haakaa Pump earlier, I want to take some time in talking more about it. I personally used this pump and bought it even before I gave birth to my son. This breast pump doesn’t require you to manually pump your breastmilk out, you just have to let the powerful suction coming from the pump do its job.
It doesn’t require any electricity, so you would be saving tons of money for the electric bill rather than using an electric pump. This pump is commonly used when nursing your child because you can stick the pump on your other breast to catch the breast milk coming out.
Lastly, I love that it’s very easy to use and wash, there are no complicated cleaning procedures needed to be done just to keep it clean.
- Easy to clean
- Made from food grade silicone
- Free from BPA, PVC, phthalates, and lead
What happens if you can’t unclog a milk duct?
If you leave your clogged milk ducts unresolved, this can lead to a more serious problem which is called mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the breasts and it can often lead to taking up antibiotics for up to 10 days.
Clogged milk ducts can be a bit of a hassle to deal with, and it surely is painful! But with the recommendations that we have talked about, you don’t need to worry about it anymore. Enjoy a wonderful breastfeeding experience with your baby, and never ever let clogged milk ducts hinder you from providing your baby with your nutritious liquid gold!