A lot of women experience a clogged milk duct. This happens if the milk dries up in the duct and it stops the rest of the milk from flowing. In the majority of the cases the problem is caused by the fact that the mothers don’t drain the ducts properly. The problem mostly appears during the early stages of breastfeeding.
Symptoms of a milk duct that is clogged
Usually the problem appears progressively and it appears in only one breast at a time. In some cases women feel like there is a hard lump in their breast that could feel tender or hot. Women say that it normally feels worse before feeding when the breast is still full and it gets better after breastfeeding.
If you have plugged milk ducts it is possible that you will experience some level of pain during breastfeeding. Normally women shouldn’t experience fever. However if you do have fever you should talk to your doctor because it is possible that you are affected by a mastitis infection.
In case of a blocked milk duct the milk supply that you have could temporarily decrease. The characteristics of milk could also change; it could become thick and grainy. After the lump disappears you could feel some bruising in the area where the lump used to be.
How to make milk ducts that are plugged better?
In this case it is a very good idea to breastfeed and pump often, and make sure that the breasts are emptied. However it is best to breastfeed according to the demands of the baby. If breastfeeding is too painful, you should opt for an electronic pump to empty the breast.
If the milk duct is blocked you should use a moist and warm compress to help the milk flow better. You should apply the compress before breastfeeding or pumping. It is also useful to soak the breasts in warm water with a little Epsom salt added. After soaking you have to make sure that you rinse the breasts.
In order to take care of the clogged milk duct you should have a warm shower. During showering you should massage and hand express the milk. Start massaging at the top and towards the nipple. Make sure that you don’t wear tight bras because they make the situation even worse.
It is possible that the plugged milk duct was caused by the tight milk duct in the first place. You should massage the breasts to make the milk loose to make breastfeeding easier. It may be a good idea to start breastfeeding with the sore breast first.
If the blocked milk ducts are too painful during nursing you should hand express some milk. It is a good idea to try ‘dangle feeding’. This way gravitation could help you unclog the blocked ducts.
As you can see having a blocked milk duct isn’t the end of the world; in fact it is quite common and there are a lot of things that you could do about it.