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Fighting A Clogged Milk Duct & Mastitis

Updated: May 10

mom nursing a baby fighting a clogged milk duct

Fighting A Clogged Milk Duct & Mastitis

A clogged milk duct is not fun and mastitis is even worse. You don't have to fight alone. If you're breastfeeding a baby you'll most definitely find this information helpful, if not now eventually, so bookmark this page, email to yourself, or save it somewhere now before it strikes!

Why Me?

While there is usually a reason for clogged milk ducts or mastitis, unfortunately, some people are just more prone to them than others! You want to be sure that you aren't wearing tight bras and absolutely no underwire. In addition, it's paramount to measure your nipples to be sure you have the correct size flanges on your breast pump if you are pumping at all. Lastly, I will share a tidbit with you, it's a little controversial in the lactation world so do with it what you'd like. Sunflower lecithin is a nursing mama's best friend! There are several brands targeted towards nursing mothers and they work well, but honestly, most are created pretty equally in my opinion. Like with all supplements, you should do your own research and make sure your provider approves it for your safety.

Long Hot Showers

Sounds like a dream, right? Finding time to shower with a baby, especially a newborn is a struggle every mother knows, but fighting a clogged milk duct is another reason for long hot showers. Let the water make direct contact with your breasts, especially the breast with the clog.

Epsom Salt Basin Soak

You're basically soaking the affected breast(s) in a basin filled with the warmest water you can stand and Epsom salt. Before you start, think of your comfort. How can you achieve this in the most comfortable way possible? You'll need to soak the breast for 10-20 mins each time. Remove your bra and massage gently before, during, and after. also, be sure to rinse your breast thoroughly afterward.

Warm Compresses for Clogged Milk Duct

Warm compresses, as warm as you can handle without burning yourself or your baby will help with the discomfort and loosen up the duct making it easier for the clog to break up and pass. There are several products on the market, here's a budget-friendly one.

Start with the Affected Breast First for Clogged Milk Ducts

Most babies feed more aggressively and remove milk more thoroughly at the beginning of the feeding so start with the side you are having problems with. If it's too painful switch to the affected breast immediately after let-down.

Massage While Feeding Your Baby/Pumping

Get behind the clog, massaging gently but firmly towards the nipple as you nurse your baby. Think outside of the box, use your fingers, but also other items may be helpful such as an electric toothbrush, a vibrating toy (yes that kind), or a small massager.

If you have a clogged milk duct, in addition to massage and warm compress, try to aim your baby's chin or nose in the direction of the clog when nursing or pumping!

Some moms have reported a better result with this, but no studies can confirm or disprove it either way. You do you boo!

Nurse or Pump More Often Until the Clogged Milk Duct is Relieved

Engorgement or inadequate milk removal can cause clogged ducts and mastitis, so naturally, if you're facing this miserable situation removing the milk every two hours, completely will help some. Don't skip feedings and don't wear restrictive bras! if you're sleeping on your boobs, stop! Sorry, I know you were looking forward to belly sleeping after giving birth, but not all moms can get back right back to it.

Cold Immediately after Feeding, More Fluids, and You Guessed it, Rest

Dem boobies are sore! Give them some respite care with some ice packs or cool packs! Increase your fluid intake, and add more rest to your routine. Rest is something your body needs anyway! Not sure how you'll get more of that? We offer overnight care and daytime help for those needing more rest!

Dangle Nursing

I left this for last because it can be a tricky beast! If you can accomplish this and you desire to try some nursing gymnastics gravity can help you move the clogs down and out! How do you "dangle nurse"? Think "lean over baby". You can do this on a bed, or on your hands and knees on the floor, BUT whatever you do, do it safely!

Rest is Best

Just like any other ailment, when you are fighting mastitis or clogged milk ducts, you need rest. Your body can not function well without proper rest and healing. Reach out if you need assistance with this. We are here helping parents just like you get the sleep they need to function their best!

Here are a few helpful pieces to the clogged milk ducts and mastitis puzzle:

  1. It's more common with tongue ties and lip ties

  2. Probiotics are helpful when fighting mastitis

If your breast is warm to the touch or visibly red you need to see your provider right away as it could turn to mastitis quickly which is painful and dangerous if left untreated.

lady wearing glasses and rust colored dress swings in a chair hammock on porch

Authored by Elizabeth Luke

Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of The Jacksonville Baby Company. With certifications in Postpartum and Infant Care Support, Childbirth and Newborn Care Education, Lactation Support, and Infant Sleep, Elizabeth is a wealth of knowledge and has a heart for helping parents live their best lives while also ensuring their children are safe, happy, and leading the healthiest lives possible! Contact us today for day, night, and live-in support! 


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