Thanks to Rachel’s Remedy for sponsoring today’s post.
First of all, I’m so sorry. I’ve been there. Clogged ducts are painful and they can make breastfeeding so challenging. Fortunately, we have some tried and true tips to help you treat that clogged duct and get back to normal.
Odds are, most breastfeeding moms will deal with clogged ducts at one point or another. After breastfeeding 6 babies I’ve had more than my share of clogged ducts and they were definitely the most painful part of breastfeeding for me.
Several times my clogged ducts turned into terrible cases of mastitis. After experiencing that, I made sure I was on top of treating a clogged duct as soon as I noticed it.
First, you have to recognize what a clogged duct feels like. A clogged duct is simply a milk duct that gets clogged and allows milk to back-up into the duct. They feel like a little lump under the skin in your breast.
On their own they are painful, but you really have to watch for signs of infection because they can easily turn into mastitis . . . and you don’t want to mess around with that.
What to Watch for when you have a clogged milk duct
You can treat a milk duct with various home remedies. We have some great ones to share with you that have worked wonders for me, but before we get into those I want you to know a few things you need to look out for when you have a clogged duct.
- Redness or swelling on the skin near the clogged duct
- The skin being warm to the touch
- Breast pain
If you have any of those symptoms with a clogged duct you could have mastitis and you need to be seen by your doctor right away. Mastitis can be very serious if not treated and I can tell you from personal experience, it can get bad quickly.
Treatments for a Clogged Duct
If you do not have signs of mastitis with your clogged duct. There are quite a few treatments you can try at home.
Keep breastfeeding. This is the most important thing you can do. You need to get the milk out of your clogged duct and breastfeeding is the most effective way to do that. Try nursing your baby in different positions to empty your breast completely.
Apply moist heat. Moist heat is so comforting when you have a clogged duct and it can work to let milk flow more freely. Applying moist heat before a feeding can be especially effective.
I used to heat up a wet washcloth in the microwave and apply it to my breast before nursing. It did the trick but I ended up soaking wet and it was awkward. A better solution is using a breastfeeding relief pack from Rachel’s Remedy.
They are the only FDA-cleared moist heat or cooling relief product available to help nursing moms prevent and relieve common breastfeeding problems including mastitis, clogged ducts, engorgement, blebs, general discomfort, low milk-flow and slow let-down.
The Packs slip right into any bra for easy, hands-free relief while keeping clothes dry.
The three part design allows you to apply moist heat where you need it while keeping your clothing dry. To use it, you remove the inner flaxseed pillow and heat it in the microwave (or freeze it if you want cooling relief) and put it back in the water resistant pouch.
The organic cotton moistening cloth can be rinsed, squeezed to get rid of excess water, then attached to the pouch. The relief pack can be slipped inside your bra to provide 20 minutes of moist heat while keeping your clothes dry.
I wish I had discovered Rachel’s Remedy while I was nursing.
I struggled with clogged ducts almost constantly while I was nursing my twins and several times they turned into mastitis because the moist heat treatment was just too time-intensive for me to keep up with.
Avoid underwire bras. I’m generally a fan of underwires but they are not your friend when you are nursing. The pressure from the underwire can make it easy for milk ducts to become clogged. Most of the clogged ducts I experienced were right where my underwire hit. Once I recognized that and switched to a nursing bra without an underwire I have fewer clogged ducts.
Don’t skip feedings. Letting your breasts get engorged is just asking for a clogged duct. If you have to be away from your baby, be sure you are pumping as often as you would normally be nursing. Don’t limit your baby’s time at the breast and make sure you are nursing often.
Get plenty of rest. When you are run down you are more likely to get sick. It’s not surprising that you are also more likely to develop clogged ducts. Getting enough sleep when you have a baby is definitely tricky, but do what you can. Sneak in a nap whenever possible. Try to go to bed as soon as your baby goes to sleep for the night. Get help from friends and family members when you need to catch up on sleep.
Sleep on your back. While we are on the subject of sleeping, be sure you aren’t putting any pressure on your breasts while you are sleeping. I’m a big side sleeper but I found that while nursing, I’d often end up laying too far over to the side and I’d end up with clogged ducts in the places where I was putting pressure. If you can, start sleeping on your back or use plenty of pillows to avoid any pressure points.
ENTER TO WIN
Want to win a great prize pack from Rachel’s Remedy including a double breastfeeding relief pack and a 12-pack of disposable moistening cloths?
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