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I’m so sorry you’re here, but I know a few things that can help you figure out how to clear a clogged milk duct! Breastfeeding might be easy for some, but a clogged milk duct (where the milk flow is obstructed and also known as a blocked or plugged duct) is not! I’ve had many myself! Below are a few tips to help you figure out how to clear a clogged milk duct. I’m not going to tell you a whole long story, let’s just get to the point here: help!
(This blog may contain affiliated links.)
-Yes, I know it sound super weird, but it’s worked very well for me and others! I usually wait until I know the baby is hungry then I lay the baby down on a bed or the floor and get on all fours (or stand and hold myself up with my hands if you’re using the bed method) and feed like that. The combination of suction and gravity can pull the clog like magic!
Nurse. Go nurse some more. And keep on nursing again!
-Nursing often is one of the best ways to remove a clog. The more they eat, the more likely they are to help the clog go away!
a. Hot shower
-Take a hot shower and let the hot water beat down on the clogged area. It’s like using heat and massaging at the same time. You should also massage the area with your hand during this, too. It’s recommended that right after this you feed the baby to encourage the clog to relieve you.
b. Heat Pack
-Use a warm compress on and off to help relieve the pain and encourage the duct to unclog itself. You can also nurse right after applying heat to the area OR while applying heat to the area. Of course, be mindful of heat near the baby. Here’s the best one for the job: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MR5PS9S/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
Start taking Sunflower Lecithin
-It’s a natural supplement that helps lubricate your milk duct, resulting in less clogs and preventing more in the future. Some women just take one 1200mg soft gel per day for prevention. You can buy some on Amazon for just $20, check it out: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKR77N6/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
Massage the area
-You can try to massage the area throughout the day. You can use your hand, a handheld massager or anything that vibrates like a vibrating toothbrush. Make sure you massage gently and don’t overdo it as you can cause more soreness, inflammation or damage if done too much or too rough. Try this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079HFSYKX/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
Epsom Salt Soak
-You can do this is a bathtub and just make sure you immerse your entire effected breast OR you can use a Haakaa for this. I personally would use the Haakaa since I’m not really a bath person. To use the Haakaa you fill it with warm water and Epsom salt and suction the area the clog is in! Many women have said it works amazing! Here’s a link to the Haakaa if you need one (which, you totally do; they can be used to catch the extra milk from the other side while you’re nursing!): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G43F123/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw AND here is the Epsom salt in case you need some of that, too: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NJPMVG9/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
-You can use the end of the toothbrush to apply vibration to the area to encourage the clog to break up. You can also use a massager or anything else you have that vibrates. Here’s the best massager I found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079HFSYKX/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
Don’t wear any loose clothing, including a bra
-If your clothes are too tight it may encourage clogs. Try to wear looser clothes or go braless when you can like during winter when you’re wearing sweaters and thicker clothes.
-If you’re only pumping (and even if you’re not) this is the perfect way to try and get rid of your clogged duct! The suction should encourage the duct to become unclogged. Sometimes people can see it come out, too. Yuck!
Use your baby
-One of the best ways to unclog your duct is by simply using your baby. Some people say if you point your baby’s chin or nose towards the clog while nursing will help clear the clog. I did try this a handful of times and it seemed to work. There is no science to back this claim up though.
Comb it out
-Yup, you read that right. Use the comb to gently go over the clogged area to hopefully “comb” the clog out. Here is the comb I recommend: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QSSB3CS/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
-You can try to hand express the clog out. I also recommend you use the Haakaa to catch that milk! Get your Haakaa here (seriously, it’s a lifesaver): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G43F123/?ref=idea_lv_dp_ov_mw
Consult your healthcare provider
-If nothing above works after a few days and the irritation continues or a fever comes, I do recommend seeking medical attention. If a clog is left alone it can turn into mastitis or an abscess. Mastitis is an infection!
Everyone recently has been swearing by having their husband suck it out. If you want to do this, you’ll have him do the obvious while you massage the area. I have never had to personally try this method.
I hope this blog helps you figure out how to clear a clogged milk duct and get that duct unclogged! Good luck, Mama. You’ve got this!
As a Cleveland Newborn Photographer and a breastfeeding mother x2 myself, I understand how painful and tiring clogs can be. On top of having a baby and running your very own small business – none are an easy task! I hope this blog helps you relieve some pressure and all your clogs (which hopefully are few and far between). Feel free to message me here if you ever have questions and I can help or if I can’t help, I can point you to someone who can!
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Are you a mother looking for local breastfeeding support in a local, uplifting community with mothers just like you AND breastfeeding professionals? Join my NE Ohio Breastfeeding Mothers Group on Facebook! Can’t wait to meet you!