15 Expert Rated Ways To Clear A Clogged Milk Duct Fast

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Have you ever felt painful lumps in the breast while breastfeeding? It is quite uncomfortable to say the least and sometimes could arise due to a clogged milk duct.

In this article, I will be talking about how to clear a clogged milk duct and 15 ways you could try that could be of help. If you have been experiencing this, then this article is definitely for you so keep reading.


What Causes Clogged Milk Duct?

As is standard, before finding solutions to problems, we have to first understand what caused the problem to help with the solutions.

So, we’ll try to pinpoint some of the major causes of a clogged milk duct to help us better understand what should be done to fix it.

A clogged milk duct is a breastfeeding problem that occurs when the breast is not completely drained. Several factors can cause a clogged milk duct:

1.  The baby is not lactating well, probably because he is not latching properly

2.  Infrequent breastfeeding

3.  Improper pumping method or weak breast pump

4.  Wearing too-tight bras

5.  Replacing breastfeeding with pumping

6.  Too much milk supply

7.  Your diet

8.  Stress and exhaustion

9.  Abrupt weaning

10.  Excessive usage of a breast shield

11.  Sleeping facedown

12.  Change in feeding schedule

13.  Shorter breastfeeding time

14.  Irregular breastfeeding

15.  Smoking

16.  Eating an inadequate diet

17.  Cracked nipples


Symptoms Of Clogged Milk Duct

Clogged milk ducts, like every condition on the human body shows several symptoms that make you aware of the issue and the following are some of them

1.  Redness and soreness in a breast area

2.  Lump

3.  Blisters around the nipple area

4.  Engorged breast

5.  Reduced milk flow

6.  Reduction in breast discomfort after sucking

7.  Lump moves from one position to another. etc.

A clogged milk duct is usually not accompanied by fever, but If a clogged milk duct is left untreated, it could lead to infection.

This condition is called mastitis which is another breastfeeding problem that women face.


When To See A Doctor For Clogged Milk Ducts

How To Clear A Clogged Milk Duct

With most conditions, it is always advised to see a doctor before starting any treatment process. While a clogged milk duct can be fixed DIY, sometimes, symptoms persist.

Sometimes symptoms of a clogged milk duct are left untreated and it may lead to mastitis which shows in symptoms like

1.  Fever

2.  Body aches

3.  Increased thickness of breast lump

4.  Burning sensation in the breast

5.  Redness of the skin

If these symptoms persist, it may lead to the formation of an abscess, a condition where pus garters in the lump area and a surgical operation would be required to drain off the pus.

So, it is important to see a doctor when the symptoms of a clogged milk duct persist despite trying out different remedies you try.


Home Remedies For Clogged Milk Duct

Below are some home remedies you can try out how to clear a clogged milk duct.

1.  Place a warm cloth in the affected area for about 20 minutes

2.  In a small bowl, place water, add some scoops of Epsom salt. Soak in the breast for about 10 minutes.

3.  Alternate the breastfeeding position. While you do this, ensure that the baby’s face is facing the affected area. If the baby sucks from that place, it can help unclog the clogged milk duct

4.  Place the baby on the bed, tilt forward and bend over the baby. This is called “dangle feeding”. The gravity can help let down breast milk

5.  Massage the affected area mildly, moving from the affected area and ending at the nipple

6.  Do not wear too tight clothes

7.  Bath in a hot shower

8.  A tea therapy. Steep 1 or 2 lavender tea bags in hot water, allow it to steep for a few minutes. Soak in a towel and massage over the affected area.

9.  Use aloe Vera to massage the affected area

10.  Apply coconut oil in the affected area

11.  Take some slices of potatoes and apply a few drops of coconut oil. Then place it on the affected area. You will notice that the clogged tissue softens. This is a great remedy on  how to clear a clogged milk duct

12.  Sunflower lecithin can help thin breast milk. Many women have claimed it helped to unclog a clogged milk duct. So, you can try taking this supplement, every other time of the day.

13.  Take phytolacca. It is a supplement that can help stimulate the lymph system to fight against inflammation and infection

14.  Munch raw garlic every other day.

15.  Take a raw pineapple and juice it out. Drink a cup daily. Use fresh pineapple juice weather than concentrate because it is more effective

16.  Probiotics like L.fermentum and L.salivarius are antibodies and are good remedies to help treat clogged breast ducts and mastitis.

We’ll dig deeper in the next session.

15 Fool-Proof Ways To Clear A Clogged Milk Duct


1.  Keep Feeding

It could be super painful to put the baby on the breast and keep feeding when the breast is swollen and painful, but one tip on how to clear clogged milk duct is to keep feeding the baby in the affected breast.

This would help to empty the breast and relieve the pains and symptoms. If you leave the affected breast and give suck in the other breast, the breast would remain clogged.

Only emptying and draining the breast will help unclog the clogged milk duct. While feeding the baby with the breast, ensure that the baby sucks on the clogged breast for a while, so that he can completely drain off the breast.

Emptying the affected breast by regular sucking is how to clear a clogged milk duct because the strong sucking action of the baby can help dislodge the breast.


2.  Pumping It Out

Chances are that the baby may not completely drain out all the milk while sucking and the breast duct would still be clogged.

In this case, the next best tip on how to clear a clogged milk duct is to pump out the remaining milk until the breast is emptied and only drops of breast milk are comes out.

Clogged milk duct pumping will ensure that a stronger force helps to completely drain the milk off and clear the milk duct.

Since the baby may not suck so deeply when he is full, he may not completely drain out all the milk from the breast.

Pumping the breast is super easy once you have mastered the act. It should take 15 – 20 minutes to get it done.

Always try to pump the clogged breast after the baby has finished sucking. It helps a lot to empty the affected breast and unclog it.

To more about pumping and other breastfeeding techniques, check out the article here.


3.  Massage The Clogged Breast

To massage it, apply firm pressure in the affected area, starting from the outside of the breast above the lump to the nipple area.

Massaging helps to loosen up the clogged milk duct and reduce the pain and discomfort. To massage the breast, to help clear a clogged milk duct, you can use your hand or a massager.

Just place the hands above the lump and gently but firmly massage it towards the nipple you can rest for a while and continue later. Please do not do this too much as it may cause bruising.

You can also try massaging with an electric toothbrush to help unclog the duct or get a lactation massager. It is quite expensive, but it’s worth the buy.


4.  Unclog With A Warm Compress

Another way to clear a clogged milk duct is to massage it with a warm compress, to encourage milk flow.

To do this, get a towel soaked in warm water, squeeze it and apply the warm towel in the affected area. Soon, you will notice milk start trickling out.

Instead of a warm towel, you can use a hot water bottle. Pour hot water into a hot water bottle, wrap it in a towel and apply it on the affected breast to help unclog the milk duct.

Or, buy booby tubes. Some women may just prefer bathing in a warm shower to do the magic.


5.  Alternate Your Breastfeeding Position

You are probably used to the breastfeeding technique “the cradle hold” where women seat with the baby’s head resting on one arm and the other hand holding the baby firmly.

But, when looking for ways to clear clogged milk duct, you may have to alternate your breastfeeding position to stimulate more let down and completely clear out the milk from the breast.

Breastfeeding while facing forward a bit or breastfeeding on all fours, leaning over the baby can cause gravity that would help unclog the breast duct.

This is called “dangle feeding’’ – allowing the breast to dangle a bit while breastfeeding the baby. You may also try lying down while breastfeeding to stimulate let-down flow.


6.  Try Dangling The Breast A Bit While Pumping

Just like “dangle feeding” this is another way how to clear a clogged milk duct by pumping.

We have talked about the importance of dangling the breast a little while pumping for gravity which will stimulate more milk flow.

Dangle pumping involves dangling the breast a little while pumping. To do this you can lean forward a bit so that the nipples are facing downwards. It would help stimulate milk to let down and unclog the milk duct faster.


7.  Pump The Breast With Warm Water And Epsom Salt

You can do this with a hand pump. Take a tablespoon or 2 of Epsom salt and dump in a cup of warm water and stir. Pour the warm water into the breast pump halfway and attach the suction pump and breast shield over the nipple.

Give it several pumps to help relieve the clogged milk duct. The temperature from the water, the salt, and the squeezing action of the pump will all work to help unclog the breast. You can do this for 10-15 minutes.


8.  Use Electric Lactation Massager

Massagers are great tools to use to clear a clogged milk duct because the vibration from the massager helps to clear the clogged milk duct. As the massagers vibrate, it forces the blocked duct to pump milk out.

You can consider getting a massager if you always have a clogged milk duct. Or rather you may use an electric toothbrush. It also vibrates like a lactation massager.


9.  Massage With A Comb While In The Shower

Another tip on how to clear a clogged milk duct is to massage the breast with a comb while in the shower. It would help to stimulate the letdown of milk and help to clear a clogged milk duct.

Do this, while bathing in a warm shower. Take a wide-toothed comb apply some soap on it and gently use it to massage the clogged area, spreading it towards the nipple area.

Doing this every other time while in the shower will help to ease the clogged breast duct.


10.  Ibuprofen Would Help

Another way to clear a clogged milk duct is taking an ibuprofen tablet. It would help you relieve the pains of a clogged breast duct and the inflammation.

Taking ibuprofen is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding so you do not have to worry if you are taking the wrong drugs but it will still be wise to confirm with your doctor before you go ahead.


11.  Lecithin Supplement

Another tip on how to unclog milk ducts is to take Lecithin supplement. Lecithin is a fatty substance that is found in foods like soya beans and eggs. Lecithin helps to make milk thinner.

Taking lecithin supplements or foods containing lecithin can work to unclog the clogged milk duct.

To be sure that you are doing the right thing consult your doctor, for approval, if you are safe to take it during breastfeeding.


12.  See A Lactation Consultant

how to clear a clogged milk duct

If you feel that you have a serious case of clogged milk especially if the lump gets bigger, you should see a lactation specialist.

The doctor would be the best option to treat the clogged milk duct if you have tried other remedies over and over again.

A lactation specialist would know best how to treat the clogged milk duct so that it does not continue.


13.  Free Up

A very useful tip on how to clear a clogged milk duct is to free up the breast area by lessening the pressure in that area. Do not wear too thigh clothes, avoid wearing bras, wear loose and free tops to free up the breast area.

Avoid under-wire bras, which may compress your milk duct. If you have to wear bras, wear a soft padded bra that would make you comfortable.


14.  Quit Sleeping On Your Stomach

If you lie on your stomach, it could compress the milk duct more and cause blockage, so to avoid blocking the milk duct more, lie face up rather than on the stomach. It would also help reduce the pain if you are feeling any.


15.  Use DIY Remedies

There are a lot of DIY home remedies available that can help to unclog a clogged milk duct. For example, you can cut slices of potatoes, add some drops of coconut oil into it and use them to massage the affected area.

You can also take a lecithin supplement, massage with warm lavender tea, eat raw garlic or even drink a cup of pineapple juice daily.

These remedies are said to help unclog a clogged milk duct.


For You

If you enjoyed this article and it provided some insight for you, we have more information on breastfeeding techniques and you can access them through the link provided here.

Note that any remedy suggested above which you or your baby could be allergic to should be avoided at all costs. See your doctor if your clogged milk ducts persist. I hope you enjoyed this article.

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Author: Thriving Mum

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