Have you ever had a clogged milk duct? Chances are, if you have breastfeeding, you have. Here are some tips on how to massage a clogged milk duct.
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Clogged milk ducts are a common problem for breastfeeding mothers. Fortunately, there is a simple and effective way to clear them using massage.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Apply a warm compress to the affected area for five minutes. This will help to loosen the blockage.
Using your fingertips, massage the breast in a circular motion, working from the outside towards the nipple. Be sure to apply firm pressure. You should feel the blockage begin to loosen after a minute or two of massage.
Remove your clothing so that you have easy access to the affected breast. It may also be helpful to place a towel under you to protect your clothing from any wetness.
##Heading:Step Five ##Expansion: Using both hands, cup the breast and compress it as you massage in a firm, circular motion as before. You can also try moving your hands in an up-and-down “milking” motion. Repeat this for two minutes or until the blockage is cleared.
##Heading:Step Six ##Expansion : Gently express some milk from the breast to ensure that the duct is clear and no more blockage remains. If you are still experiencing pain or see blood in your milk, please consult a healthcare professional as there may be an underlying infection present.
What is a clogged milk duct?
A clogged milk duct is a blockage in one of the milk ducts that carry milk from your breast to your nipple. Clogged milk ducts are also called blocked, plugged, or obstructed milk ducts.
Milk ducts can become blocked when they are not drained well during breastfeeding or pumping, when you have an infection in your breast, or when you have a injury to your breast. A clogged milk duct can feel like a hard lump in your breast and might be sore.
Causes of a clogged milk duct
There are many things that can cause a clogged milk duct:
-Not emptying the breast frequently enough
-An injury to the breast
-Babies who have a strong suck and/or poor latch
-Feeding from only one side
Symptoms of a clogged milk duct
The most common symptom of a clogged milk duct is a pain or tenderness in your breast. This may feel like a dull ache or a sharper pain, and it may be constant or come and go. You may also notice:
-Swollen lymph nodes under your arm
How to massage a clogged milk duct
A clogged milk duct can be very painful, but there are ways to massage it and get the milk flowing again. You will need to know where the clog is and how to massage it correctly.
How to do a breast self-massage
First, wash your hands thoroughly. It’s important to avoid introducing any bacteria to your breast. Next, support your breast with one hand and use the other hand to massage in a circular motion from the outside of your breast towards the nipple. You can also try massaging in a vertical or horizontal direction. Be sure to massage the entire area around the clogged duct, not just the area that is painful.
If you’re having trouble reaching all areas of your breast, try using a small, soft towel or a washcloth to help apply pressure. You can also try using a warm compress on the area for 10-15 minutes before massaging. The heat can help loosen the blockage.
If you’re still having difficulty, call your doctor or a lactation consultant for assistance.
How to do a hand express massage
Hand express massage is a low-tech way to unclog a clogged duct. It can be done with or without clothing on, so it’s convenient to do anywhere. All you need is your hand and about 5 minutes.
To do a hand express massage:
1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.
2. Apply lube to your nipple and areola (the dark area around the nipple). You can use your own body lotion, coconut oil, olive oil, or even expressed breast milk.
3. Using your thumb and first 2 fingers, gently squeeze and release the breast tissue around the clogged duct until you feel the blockage release. Start from the outside of the breast and work your way in towards the nipple.
4. Apply lube to your other hand and repeat on the other side if needed.
When to see a doctor
If you are unsure whether you have a clogged duct or mastitis, or if your symptoms are severe, speak to a doctor. If you have a fever over 101°F (38.3°C), see a doctor immediately.severe, speak to a doctor