Let me just say that you’re reading this because you have a blocked milk duct, I’m sorry. Please know they are short lived, and tomorrow will be a better day.
However, for those of you reading this because your starting your preliminary breastfeeding research, the let me tell you that blocked ducts are when your body rejects all your attempts to successfully empty every milk-producing gland, and therefore it angrily stops up like a clogged drain and becomes very painful and tender to the touch. Unfortunately, it’s a very common symptom of becoming a new mom.
You’ll know you have a blocked milk duct when you:
- Feel sore when feeding and it gradually worsens.
- Developed a hard lump in the breast.
- Wake up with a tender soreness in one area or all over one breast.
- Continually feel as though a breast is not emptying in its entirety.
There are plenty of ways to cure a blocked duct, but it’s important to know one important tip: Never attempt to pinch or “pop” a blocked duct.
Here’s some of my tricks and tips that have been proven to be effective time and time again.
Pumping & Nursing
By far the best thing you can do for yourself is nurse right through it. Hopefully, that isn’t something to cause you too much pain. If not, a pump works just fine. Sometimes these things just work themselves out naturally. And it’s a great chance to be thankful for the little gift that is the source of your
problems I mean joy.
An amazingly effective technique that works the best is massaging the problem area forward, toward the nipple, continuously and repetitively. It can be tender to touch, but if it’s not excruciating to do, try to persevere. Do this in conjunction with some of the other tips on this list, and it works nearly every time.
So many nursing moms have told me how well this works. The heat of the water and the moisture combined is great for loosening up the hardened milk. Try hand expressing, or try using that massaging technique to get that milk duct taken care of. A cautionary tip, I always had trouble keeping the blocked duct in one place while in the shower. It’s suggested that several showers throughout the day are needed to cure a blocked duct.
Warm Moist Compress
Similar to the hot shower – but much less time consuming – is the compress. This was my weapon of choice because with a new baby, who has time to shower once? Let alone several times??? Take a small cloth or towel and soak it in hot water, or microwave it in a plastic bag, like I did. Just be careful; microwaves can get a wet cloth scorching hot in under a minute. Let the towel sit on the affected area for 5-15 minutes. Make sure you massage, massage, massage. Personally, I found it less painful to do with the hot towel, but I can’t promise your experience will be the same,
Oooooh yes! Vibration is such an effective way to get even the most stubborn blocked ducts clear. I caution you that if you have severe pain, this might not be the solution for you. The vibrations will have to have a decent amount of kick to do some actual good. That means a personal vibrator might be the best available option. Don’t have one? Think about what you have around the house. An electric toothbrush? Your partner’s electric shaver? There are plenty of options lying around.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that your breast may be sore for a day or two after the block has been rectified. After all, there is still some inflammation that will gradually disappear over time.
So those are my five tips to curing a blocked duct. Have a fool proof method that works? Leave it in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to get more tips like this.