Do you experience pain in one particular area of the breast while nursing your baby? Have you noticed a lump in your breast that moves frequently? Do you have a milk blister or bleb at the tip of your nipple? If yes, these are some signs of clogged milk ducts. Many nursing moms are prone to clogged milk ducts. But don’t panic, you may usually quickly clear the clogs at home and return to your regular routine. Keep reading to understand more about clogged ducts as well as some tips and strategies to prevent it.
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What are Clogged milk ducts?
When a woman is nursing, a network of ducts in her breasts transports milk from her mammary glands to her nipples. A clogged duct typically occurs when a mother misses emptying her breasts for an extended period of time. Or, if not enough milk is taken out during nursing. A clogged duct may be extremely painful, swollen, and itchy. A study reported that 4.5% of 117 breastfeeding mothers had clogged ducts. If the clogged ducts remain untreated for a long time, it can lead to inflammation of breast tissue which is called mastitis.
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Symptoms of clogged milk ducts
The majority of the time, just one breast is often affected by the symptoms. Here are the common symptoms of clogged milk duct:
- Pain in one particular area of the breast
- Bumps in breast
- Swelling of breast
- Milk bleb or blister in the tip of the nipple
- Decreased milk supply
- Pain while feeding or pumping
It’s normal to notice a brief drop in your supply when you have a clogged duct. When the clog is cleared, You might even notice fatty or thicker milk that looks like strings or granules.
When to see a doctor?
The clog won’t likely clear itself if you don’t do anything. It may irritate the breast tissues and develop into mastitis, an infection. You might have an infection if you have soreness and also other symptoms like fever, chills ,redness or burning sensation as well.
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Causes of clogged ducts
If a nursing mother does not completely empty the breast, milk may build up and clog the duct. Women who are having other problems related to nursing, such as production of excess milk, poor latching, or pain that prevents frequent nursing, are more susceptible to plugged ducts. Unfortunately, a clogged duct can happen to anyone who is nursing. Here are some other causes:
- A sudden shift in the baby’s eating habits
- Inconsistent nursing schedule
- Tight clothing
- Inconvenient nursing posture
- Nipple cracks
- Improper nutrition
- Stress or anxiety
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Things to do when you have clogged milk ducts
Here are some tips that can help to get rid of clogged milk ducts.
- Maintain a consistent nursing schedule that includes feedings every 1.5 to 3 hours or more.
- Allow your infant to breastfeed for up to 20 minutes
- Massage your breasts to encourage complete discharge during nursing or pumping.
- Apply warm compresses on the bumps for 10-15 minutes.
- Change the nursing positions for your child
- Massage your breast while bathing and slightly push the lumps towards the nipple
- Soak your clogged nipple in warm water
- Increase the amount of fluids you consume
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Here are some strategies to prevent clogged milk ducts:
- By minimising constrictive or tight apparel, you can alleviate any stress on your breasts.
- Make sure your child is latching correctly
- Warm compress your breasts before nursing and cold compress after feeding
- Changing your nursing position occasionally to assure that suction is achieved by all ducts.
- Keeping your breasts dry and clean to prevent infection.
- Maintain a healthy and nutritious diet
- Get more sleep
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Foods that help to manage the symptoms of clogged milk ducts
It is a natural fat emulsifier that can aid to lessen the “thickness and stickiness” of milk. It may also help release existing fatty blockages, boosting milk flow and quantity of milk supply.
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It’s chocolate, but it’s healthy!!! It gives a slew of additional health advantages to a new mother. Cocoa solids are rich in antioxidants and help to reduce the inflammation.
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Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, which helps in strengthening the digestive tract and also promotes gut health. It is high in protein, calcium, vitamins and also probiotics. It can enhance the good bacteria in the gut thereby boosting the immune system to fight against infections.
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Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt. It is made from kefir grains. It is rich in good bacteria. The process of making is similar to yogurt, but the fermentation process in Kefir is for 24 hours. The result is not a sour curd, but rather a tasty one. You can also load it up with nuts, seeds and also berries to make a shake high in antioxidants, probiotics and prebiotics. This can also help to build a strong immune system.
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Cheese is good for gut health. There are many kinds of cheese which are prepared by fermentation, but all do not contain probiotics. Only soft cheeses made up of unpasteurized milk, such as cheddar, mozzarella and also Swiss are rich in probiotics. The longer the cheese ages the more beneficial bacteria develops in it for your gut health and also immunity.
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Kanji is a popular Indian fermented drink. It contains lots of gut friendly bacteria (probiotics) which aids in digestion and also reduces bloating, gas and also promotes a healthy gut as well as immunity to fight against bacterial infections like mastitis. It has a tangy, spice and also tart flavor. In India, it is used as a detox drink after festival binge eating, which helps in gastrointestinal issues. However, there are many ways of making kanji, the most popular is carrot kanji. It is made by fermenting carrots along with salt, mustard seeds and asafoetida (heeng).
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