Clogged milk duct is a common problem in many breastfeeding mothers. It may occur only once or become recurrent. This is a very painful condition and if left untreated it may cause inflammation of the breast tissue (mastitis) and additional problems. In order to prevent this condition each and every breastfeeding mother must be familiar with adequate breastfeeding techniques.
Why Do Milk Ducts Get Clogged?
Milk ducts get clogged as a result of insufficient draining of milk from the breasts. The milk should be completely removed from the breasts and this allows new milk to be synthesized. In case there is remnant milk in breasts the new milk cannot be sucked out, it remains inside the milk ducts and accumulates. Many mothers make a mistake and refuse to breastfeed their children if there is soreness caused by clogged milk duct. The child may effectively suck the milk out and prevent potential inflammation of breast tissue caused by remnant milk. If left untreated the breast becomes tender and the breast tissue is highly likely to become inflamed.
How to Deal with Clogged Milk Duct?
In initial stages clogged milk duct can be treated at home. Only if the problem leads to inflammation of the breast tissue and severe pain and inflammatory reaction a woman should consult her doctor.
In order to prevent clogged milk duct each and every woman must breastfeed her baby frequently. This way the milk ducts will be efficiently emptied and new milk will have no obstacle and may drain properly. After breastfeeding the remnant milk can be removed with the assistance of a breast pump. In case clogged milk duct develops a mother should not stop breastfeeding. On a contrary, she must continue with this activity and allow her child to suck the milk from the affected breast. In this case breastfeeding must always start from the affected breast.
Massage is one more method to unclog the affected breast. It should be firm and performed frequently. Additional help is obtained from warm compresses that are placed onto the breasts. Clogging can be prevented if a woman stops sleeping on her stomach since this position may affect draining of the milk and lead to clogging.
Only if the problem persists or there are lumps in the breasts that do not resolve and even if the breast becomes more tender and painful or there are signs of mastitis (painful breasts, redness of the skin and increased temperature of the affected breast) a woman should consult her doctor as soon as possible.