Can't seem to unclog plugged breastmilk ducts? Try these simple but often overlooked at-home remedies!
Any mom who has had difficulties breastfeeding will tell you that one of the most difficult problems is having plugged ducts. This is what happens when breastmilk gets stuck because of a variety of reasons. The most common reason is that you may have changed the frequency of feeding or pumping milk. It could also be possible that your baby didn't consume enough milk during a feeding.
A minor plug can unclog on its own after a few more feedings or pumping. It could also be remedied through a change in nursing position, like dangle nursing for instance, where the mom gets on all fours while breastfeeding to let gravity naturally unclog milk ducts while aiding the process through a gentle massage.
However, there are cases where the breast is extremely backed up. This can cause redness, inflammation, engorgement, and intense pain. Extremely plugged ducts can also lead to a bacterial infection known as mastitis, which results in flu-like symptoms, on top of the breast pain and discomfort.
If you have tried practically everything, but your plugged milk ducts just won't unclog, perhaps you could consider more unconventional home remedies.
1. Use vibrations to loosen stuck milk
Make use of an electric toothbrush or vibrating phone to shake out stuck milk from the clogged areas. One mom even used a vibrator to help with her plugged ducts.
2. Perform a therapeutic breast massage
While a regular massage can work wonders, going for a therapeutic breast massage can be even more effective. To do this, simply alternate between breast massage techniques and hand expression. Refer to this video to find out more.
3. Apply Castor oil compress
Before trying this method, make sure to consult your doctor about the proper way to prepare this compress at home. Castor oil has been known to ease pain, reduce inflammation, and help unclog ducts.
It is very important to make sure you clean your breast thoroughly before breastfeeding to avoid your baby from ingesting the oil.
4. Take a hot shower
This simple remedy is often taken for granted, but it is an effective way to unclog ducts. Take a long, hot shower while massaging your breast, in the therapeutic way mentioned above. Make sure to target the clogged areas, applying direct (not too intense) water pressure on it using your shower nozzle.
5. Switch your nursing bra
Sometimes the way to loosen clogged ducts is to simply do away with your tight bras. Steer clear of underwire, and go for loose fitting nursing bras made of breathable fabric.
Though these are effective ways that will surely relieve the discomfort that comes with plugged ducts, you should always consult your doctor or a trusted lactation consultant to further lessen the likelihood of plugged ducts from developing in the future.