Since you've started nursing, you've had to worry about things like getting the perfect latch, producing enough milk, and finding the best way to nurse inconspicuously at your favorite restaurant. But now, you've found that painful lumps in your breasts make nursing almost completely unbearable. If your sore, painful breasts are making it difficult for you to nurse, you should know some hacks for cleaning a clogged milk duct.
According to Baby Center, clogged milk ducts often occur when your breasts are producing milk faster than you are emptying them. The backup can cause a hard lump to form in the breast, along with swelling, redness, and tenderness. In addition to being extremely painful, a clogged milk duct can lead to an infection, as Mama Natural pointed out.
But there are some simple things you can do to soothe your discomfort. A warm shower, a hot compress, and even changing the type of bra you wear can help unclog your ducts and get your milk flowing normally again. Most importantly, you should continue to nurse or pump as normal. Emptying your breasts is the best way to give yourself some much-needed relief.
Before you get ready to throw in the towel with nursing, give some of these natural hacks to relieve clogs a try. If you don't find relief or believe you have a more serious infection, be sure to check with your doctor.
1. Take A Shower
If you can get a few moments to yourself, taking a hot shower can help relieve your discomfort. As Babble mentioned, letting the warm shower hit your breasts before nursing or pumping can help unclog your milk ducts. A shower can also be a great way to relax when you're stressed.
2. Keep Nursing
As painful as it sounds, one of the best things you can do when you have a clogged duct is to continue nursing. Place your baby on the breast with the clogged duct first, as Baby Center mentioned. Their sucking will be more intense on the first side and can help clear the clog.
3. Change Positions
Changing your nursing position can also help provide some relief for clogged ducts. For example, try placing your baby on the floor and lean over her to nurse. The pull of gravity should help the milk to start flowing normally, as Mothering suggested.
4. Get Some Rest
If you're experiencing clogged milk ducts, your body may just need a little break. As Mommyhood 101 pointed out, allowing yourself time to rest can help clear clogged milk ducts. Even if it doesn't provide immediate relief, it's a great excuse to put off cleaning out your refrigerator.
5. Take Off Your Bra
If you've been pumping and nursing regularly and still have issues, the problem may be with your nursing bra. Wearing a bra that is too tight may be contributing to your clogged ducts, as La Leche League International (LLLI) mentioned.
6. Apply A Warm Compress
LLLI recommended applying a warm compress to the affected area can help relieve the discomfort. If you don't have any heated nursing pads on hand, a hot water bottle or warm cloth can do the trick.
Babble suggested massaging the breast tissue to relieve the clog and get your milk flowing normally again. Start at the outside of the breast and work your way towards the nipple.