Being a mother is not that easy. You have to deal with so many things at the same time. Pacifying the crying baby this second is important, and the very next minute will bring some other challenge. Adding to the work, pain and unease hits a blocked milk duct.
My sympathy is with those mothers who suffer from this problem not once or twice during their motherhood, but many times. Yes, this might be the first time for you but ask other mommies who have had the episode of blocked milk duct any time in past. I am too a mother and I get blockages that wake me up in the pre-dawn hours.
It pains a lot, in fact, more than I can express with just a few words. You know it pains a lot and also milk supply is reduced when some of your milk ducts get blocked but are you aware of the consequences of repeated blockage in the milk duct?
You know everything about your baby. Of course you would take more than requires care for him or her, but still, would ask- are you a good mother? What type of question is this? A good mother is one who thinks about her own health as well because she knows very well that her baby is dependant on her.
Tackling with blocked milk duct is a common problem, but not all mothers have an idea of how to deal with it and an even lesser number is aware of the home remedies for blocked milk duct. Let us today see what is a blocked milk duct, what causes it and some excellent home remedies for blocked milk duct. Everything related to your baby is of utmost important for you, and this too is related to the tiny tot. So, we will make sure we leave no loopholes and provide you with the best information and most effective home remedies for blocked milk duct.
What is a blocked milk duct?
Blocked milk ducts are a common issue with all the mothers who breastfeed their infants. A small hard lump that obstructs the flow of milk is often what causes the milk ducts to get blocked. A blocked milk duct can lead to bouts of pain. The reason behind this blockage may be many. Have a look at some of the common reasons behind the blockage that make you cry for days.
What causes a milk duct to block?
Before talking about the home remedies for blocked milk duct, it is important to know the underlying reason. Every time you have this problem, try to figure out the underlying reason behind it. If you skip feedings or your child has stopped taking milk due to any reasons, you may have such problem again and again.
- This is common with working mothers who resume working after 6 months of delivery. For a long time, you do not feed the baby, and the milk is being produced continuously. This milk gets accumulated and some of the ducts may be blocked due to the accumulation of this milk.
- The key reason behind a blockage in the milk ducts is the obstruction in the flow of milk. If due to any reason milk stops flowing out of the nipple from any milk duct, a clot is formed inside. This clot will act as a barrier and will not allow milk to come out of that particular duct.
- Wearing extremely tight clothes that are putting pressure on a milk duct may also lead to its temporary blockage. This also is another way of blocking the flow of milk because by wearing extremely tight clothes, you block the way off milk, and hence a clot is formed.
- Apart from tight clothes, there is one more reason behind a blockage in the milk ducts. If you sleep on your stomach it will put extra pressure on the milk ducts leading to its closure. Otherwise, also it is not recommended to the new moms to sleep on their stomach.
- Some minor issues like cold, lack of sleep and stress may also be a reason behind blocked milk ducts. However, these reasons cannot be figured out immediately and also are rarely acting towards blockage of milk duct.
Whatever be the reason you need to get rid of the painful blockage as soon as possible. Firstly the pain won’t let you breathe even for a second. The second reason for urgency is you baby. He will not get complete feed and hence will cry due to staying hungry. Last but not the least is you. Your baby will cry and calm down after a few minutes, but not paying attention to temporary blockage in the milk duct may lead to permanent clots or even more serious breast problems. Infections may develop in your breast and it may the case that you would never be able to feed your baby.
For these many reasons, blocked milk duct requires as much attention as your baby does.
What problems will I face if my milk ducts get blocked due to any reason?
Apart from making the baby cry for milk, blocked milk ducts cause can several other discomforts for the feeding mother too. Some of these are:
- There could be redness around the area of the lump. Wherever on your breast, a clot is formed inside, you will either be able to feel it by touching or sometimes the redness will give you a hint. The redness is sometimes seen to extend to the chest wall. Redness of the skin will speak of the pain you are going through right now.
- Touching the skin over the clot will be a big deal. The area in which the clot is formed may become sore when touched and may cause pain and tenderness. Everyone will give their own advice of applying one thing or the other, but only you would feel the pain when you would think of touching those large and hard lumps.
- The milk supply will also reduce and your infants will not be able to feed properly. This will be a bigger challenge to deal with. Babies need a proper feed, nice sleep and what not. They can go on with anything else, but if you cut down their feed, they will not sit silently. Also whenever you will feed your baby, the pain will reach extreme heights.
- It is also noticed in many cases that the blocked milk duct leads to fever in many mothers. This will be tough. You have to take care of the baby, and also have to bear the pain, and you will have to do all this with a high body temperature. Only a mother can relate to what I mean to say.
- Infections may also make their way if you do not act on time to get rid of blocked milk ducts. In the case of infections, the doctors may also advise you to stop breastfeeding immediately.
Blocked milk duct and breast cancer
One of my friends had those lumps in her breast since she was pregnant. She thought of them as a normal change I the breast during pregnancy and waited for them to melt while she breastfed her first baby. I still remember the pain she had to suffer from while feeding her baby. Everyone including me thought of those lumps as blockages in the milk ducts and advised her that they will melt.
When she could not bear it anymore, she consulted her doctor and what she found was horrifying. She had breast cancer and those lumps were due to cancer only. Her baby was merely 4 months old and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It has bee 3 years now and thankfully she is living a perfectly normal life today.
This is a perfect example for all those mothers who do not take their health seriously or do not pay attention to minor things. Blocked milk ducts are common, but breast cancer can be one reason of lump formation in your breast. You should try resolving the issue with home remedies for blocked milk ducts, but make sure if the problem persists, you consult the doctor without delaying it much.
The doctor will either confirm that it is not breast cancer by physically examining our breasts, or by asking some questions he will make a judgment. In the case of something serious, he will prescribe you to go for proper diagnosis.
Why are antibiotics not for mothers?
Antibiotics are the one stop solution for every minor and major problem. Actually, they are not the real solutions but are perceived as solutions to all health problems. But for mothers it is different. You are feeding your baby and whatever you eat has an impact not only on your health but also on your baby’s health.
You also might have heard about some unlucky mothers who have to stop breastfeeding even before 6 months because they develop some health complications and have to take medicines for treatment. This is because medicines have several side effects. A human body can bear those side effects for some time, but your baby is too little for such torture.
Hence it is advised to all the mothers that they consult the doctor before eating any medicine.
For blocked milk duct you will have to take medicinal help if you develop some infection in your breast. And in this case, the doctor will recommend you to stop breastfeeding as well. Apart from this, you have some amazingly effective home remedies for blocked milk duct. These home remedies for blocked milk duct are the real lifesavers because they are the only source of relief in your pain and sufferings due to blocked milk duct. We have collected here some of the best home remedies for blocked milk duct to help you mommies instantly.
Unblocking the milk ducts with Home Remedies for Blocked Milk Duct
Gentle breast massage
A big lump is not formed all of a sudden. By proper self-examination, you can figure out the formation of blockage at an early stage. This early detection will help you take instant action and you will not have to bear much pain.
If you feel any kind of tenderness in your breast, self-examine for the presence of a small lump. and use the home remedies for blocked milk duct. Give a firm but gentle massage every time you feed. If you can do it with your own hands, well and good as you know where exactly the affected area is; but if you can’t take your partner’s help, a free of cost home remedy for blocked milk duct.
Handheld massagers are also available in the market these days and you can get the massager and use as one tool for home remedies for blocked milk duct. If you regularly or frequently have the problem of blocked milk duct in your breast, you can purchase a good one for you.
Apart from massaging, try to squeeze out milk from the blocked duct by pressing it gently. Don’t put much pressure and try to apply moisturizer to your hand in order to avoid scratching yourself. This was when you see any clot in your breast, but in general also every breastfeeding mother should spend some time massaging the breast gently. This way you can be sure of lump formation inside the breast, and regular massage reduces the likelihood of any clot formation in future. This is the best of all the home remedies for blocked milk duct because it is highly effective as well as preventive.
Cabbage warm compress
Cabbage warm compress is yet another effective home remedies for blocked milk duct. You might be fed up of applying heat to the tender skin of your breast, but trust me, nothing works like a hot compress. Giving your breast a warm compress is the best way to open up the blockage by raising the temperature of the surroundings, making it an effective home remedy for blocked milk duct. You can use a cotton towel or a cabbage leaf also. Taking cabbage leaf allows the heat to reach every corner since it has a shape that will cover the entire breast. If you are doing it with a towel, soak it in warm water and then rub it gently. If you choose cabbage leaf, microwave it for 30 seconds and then apply it on the breast for 2 minutes.
Apart from applying heat directly, you can also try showering in hot water. Make sure the water is not lukewarm but hot. Do it as many time as you can and you will see relief every time you bath in hot water. Soaking is warm water is another option to get the heat transferred to your breast. The key is that- hotter the water is, the sooner the lumps will melt. This surely is the key, but try to avoid using water hotter than what your skin can bear. You can use this along with other home remedies for blocked milk duct.
Lecithin to prevent future blockages
This is the most effective of all the home remedies for blocked milk duct. Lecithin works in curing blocked milk ducts by making the milk less sticky and easy flowing. Many women have found that lecithin supplements may help prevent recurrent plugged ducts. Lecithin is said to increases the amount of poly-unsaturated fatty acid in breast milk, which results in milk that is less sticky, and hence being a natural home remedy for blocked milk duct. If the milk becomes less sticky, it will not clog frequently. All you have to do is take the supplement in capsules form.
Like other home remedies for blocked milk duct, I will not recommend you to use it regularly. Because it is not completely natural, you must consult your doctor before using it. Once you have decided to take lecithin supplements, also make sure you use high-quality capsules and stick to the proper/ recommended dosage.
Vitamin C can heal the existing blocked milk duct and it may also prevent the problem from reoccurring acting as a natural home remedy for blocked milk duct. All the citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are the best way to reduce inflammation in any part of your body.
They are also said to boost the immunity so that you will not have the same problem again and again. It is also a great natural remedy for stress, which is a common cause of blocked milk ducts, and hence it is one of the indirect home remedies for blocked milk duct. You should increase your daily intake of foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, green peppers, and broccoli. This is one of the best home remedies for blocked milk duct as they are very refreshing and at the same time beneficial as well. Also, you can continue eating them as long as you want.
Potato cold compress
Many women have found that a cold potato as one of the home remedies for blocked milk duct, can help relieve the pain associated with a blocked milk duct, acting as a really effective of all the home remedies for blocked milk duct. Simply refrigerate a potato for a few hours, and then grate some of the potatoes. Apply the grated potato over the affected breast and cover with a clean washcloth or towel for 5 minutes while lying down. Repeat this every hour throughout the day using some freshly grated potato. The cold potato helps to reduce the heat from the inflammation, which may help to unplug the milk duct.
Change the way you feed your baby
Clogged milk ducts may result from wrong pattern and technique of breastfeeding. It is hence best to address the root cause and modify the way you feed your infant. Just by making a few adjustments you can treat the existing blocked ducts, and even prevent future blockages. This home remedy for blocked milk duct is the most natural one.
Try to change the angle at which the head of your baby is tilted while you feed. Do not give more gaps between two feeds; feed your child regularly in order to drain most of the milk. If your baby does not drink the entire milk due to any reason, use a breast pump to take out the extra milk.
You can get a manual breast pump for the health store near your house. Automatic breast pumps are also available but they are bit expensive. It depends on your choice, as both of then will do the same work. With manual breast pump, you have to press the pump with your hand and automatic breast pumps will be electricity operated.
Make sure you feed your baby even when the milk ducts are blocked. Until and unless the doctor tells you to do so, do not stop feeding. I know it will be painful, but temporary pain is worth bearing to avoid permanent consequences.
Make sure your baby is getting a good latch
It is often seen that clogged milk ducts are bothering you due to a poor latch. Because the milk may not be coming out evenly from the breast, that may have lead to blockage of one or more duct. Out of the list of all the home remedies for blocked milk duct, this is very important. If you are working and cannot feed the baby at regular intervals, do talk to your doctor about it. Also if your baby is not taking the proper feed, the problem may be in his or her health too.
Look at the problem from every possible angle and only then conclude anything. Consult your pediatrician immediately if you need further help. He or she may recommend you to drain the extra milk at regular intervals if you are not able to feed your baby or when he is not feeding properly.
Experiment with the position.
If you are already experiencing blocked milk duct issue despite feeding frequently, try to feed in a different position than the one you do in most of the time. This also is one of the home remedies for blocked milk duct. Your baby may get a hold on those ducts which are blocked, and once he/ she manages to get the milk out of it, pain and swelling will also vanish. A new position may also help to improve latching if you are experiencing latching problems, thus being an efficient home remedy for blocked milk duct. It is often said that if you position the baby so that the baby’s chin is pointing towards the blocked milk duct while breastfeeding, the blockage will clear its way for milk.
Blocking of milk duct is not a major issue, but if you leave it untreated it may develop some infection and rigorous inflammation. Your baby deserves your well being and this is possible only if you take instant actions for blocked milk ducts.
First of all, even before trying these remedies for blocked milk duct, you have to try to prevent the blockage of the milk ducts. Yes, it is possible and all you need to make it possible is awareness. In this article, we have discussed the causes of blocked milk duct and you simply have to work on the causes.
apart from using home remedies for blocked milk duct, by doing so you will kill the reason that is creating a blockage in the milk duct. For instance, you know lying on your stomach may cause blockage, and you have had this problem in past too, then simply avoid this sleeping posture. Apart from the physical actions, your mind is also believed to cause this problem. The stress you take for minor things is believed to cause a blockage. You have to kill this too because stress not only causes this problem but many others.
Indirectly, it affects your baby too. For a happy baby, a happy mother is the first ingredient. Minimize the pressure on your brain and try to fix the other issues too. Nothing is impossible for a mother and preventing blockage in the milk ducts also is not.
If you suffer from this problem even after trying everything to prevent it, your first priority should be to avoid infection or further blockage. In order to avoid all this, you should try to melt the milk that has been accumulated. The fast you will act, the sooner the matter will be resolved.
And for further precautions, add more nutritious food to your diet. Add more and more of colorful veggies and fruits to your diet. It will keep your mood light and will also bring more energy (which every new mommy starves for). A diet change will definitely be beneficial for both, you and your child.
Drink plenty of water to avoid dryness. These home remedies for blocked milk duct will definitely help in quick healing. In case of any infection also you can use nay of the home remedies for blocked milk duct as they are great at relieving pain. All of them are also a tool to prevent reoccurrences of the blockage. Some are also a part of good practices every breastfeeding mom must follow. Hence you can use them even when you have no problem off blocked milk duct.