There are a number of home remedies for your blocked milk ducts. These natural methods not only will give you pain relief but will also protect you from infection and potential risk of mastitis.
Blocked milk ducts can be very painful and you may not be able to properly nurse your child. Why should you and your infant unnecessarily suffer due to your blocked milk ducts.
What Causes Blocked Milk Ducts
When the milk produced by your breasts is more than the milk consumed by your baby, there is a high possibility of your milk ducts to get clocked. The excess milk may stay in the ducts causing swelling and inflammation in the surrounding tissues. This swelling presses the milk ducts causing a blockage.
The excess milk retention in the breast can happen due to one or more of the following reasons.
- You are not feeding your baby enough
- Your baby is not latching properly during feeding
- Pressure due to sleeping position or due to your nursing bra is blocking a duct
- You are producing more milk then baby’s capacity and your are not using a powerful enough pump to remove the excess milk.
- You may be suffering from cold and feeling weak to feed the baby
- You may be stressed. The stress reduces production of hormone oxytocin which regulates the mechanism for your breasts to release milk.
Symptoms of Blocked Milk Ducts
The main symptoms of a clogged or blocked milk ducts are
- Formation of a hard lump near areola or nipple in the breast.
- Pain when touching the lump
- Redness in the skin around the lump
It is important to unclog the milk ducts not only to reduce the pain but also to ensure that it doesn't get infected. Usually blocked milk ducts can be cleared by home remedies within a few days.
A longtime untreated blocked milk duct can lead to mastitis which is an infection that can spread in the wider area causing pus and more complications. If the home remedies do not clear your milk ducts then visit a doctor before it gets more complicated.
5 Effective Home Remedies for Blocked Milk Ducts
1. Change Feeding Habits to Clear Blocked Milk Ducts
The first natural common sense remedy for unclogging the clogged milk ducts is to look and correct the breastfeeding process.
- Feed you baby more often and
- use a bread pump to drain the milk if your baby feels full before the milk is completely drained from your breasts
- Make sure your baby has a good latch on your breasts. If not correct it otherwise your baby will remain hungry and your milk ducts may get blocked due to incomplete drainage
- Keep shifting baby’s position during the feeding, this will enable all the ducts in the breast to drain properly
2. Massage Your Breasts to Unblock a Milk Duct
Massage the sore area firmly and frequently by starting from outside the breast towards the nipple.
- Warm coconut oil
- Apply on both the affected breast and non affected breast
- Firmly massage by stroking from outside the breast towards the nipple for 5 minutes
- Wash the breast with warm water or even better take hot shower
3. Get Good Rest to Unclog Blocked Milk Ducts
Depending on your circumstances you may or may not have enough time to take rest, but, remember, it is very important to take extra rest and is as important as frequent breastfeeding. By taking a good quality rest you will reduce stress. The rest will produce sufficient oxytocin hormone that facilitates smooth drainage of milk from the ducts.
So take rest or small naps whenever you can, even if you are too busy with your other children or occupied with other work.
4. Eat Well and Drink Enough Fluids to prevent Blocked Milk Ducts
It is important to maintain good immunity during breastfeeding months. Good immunity efficiently runs body functioning. It protects you from simple illnesses such as common cold which can make you weak and lethargic to breastfeed your baby. This can lead to blockage of milk ducts.
5. Apply Potato Juice on Breast to Unclog Blocked Milk Ducts
Potato Juice helps soften swelling in tissues which reduces pressure on milk ducts and unblock them.
Cut thin slices of potatoes and place it on and around the blocked ducts on the affected breast. Place a clean cloth over it and wear your nursing bra to hold it. Leave it there for an hour and replace it with fresh thin potato slices. Wash the breast clean with warm water.
Now, the most important aspect of the blocked milk ducts is that you must nurse your baby with the affected breast. If the baby latches well, and in most cases the baby will, then the sucking pressure from the baby will help unclogging the blocked milk ducts. It may pain but the pain is well worth the effort
If all these remedies don’t unclog your blocked milk duct within the next 24-48 hours then visit a doctor.