In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I decided this might be a good time to post this. ☺️
I wrote this almost a year ago but somehow it got lost in my drafts. Here’s the deal:
Up until my son was just over a year old, I got clogged milk ducts at least once a month.
Now that I’m 2 1/2 years in– yes, you read that right!– they never really happen (Praise God!) but if I really wanted one, I could easily just ignore at least one of the things I’ve learned along the way.
Okay, I’m poking fun at this situation, (you kind of have to!) but if you’re curious, (or still figuring out why you’re getting them,)
Here are 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Get a Clogged Milk Duct:
1. Wear a tight fitting bra or tank top.
If you want to get a clogged milk duct it is imperative that you restrict that milk flow. Take special care to tighten the area just under your armpit where all that thick and fatty milk resides and/or across your Décolletage (just above your boobies and below your neck). It’s possible to clog both areas at the same time, so if you’re feeling really ambitious then have at it! A nice tight tube top or sports bra is great for this. In no time at all you’ll be accumulating milk that is so backed up you’ll wonder if you forgot that you were smuggling golfballs in your armpits and breasts.
2. Don’t drink water
In fact don’t drink anything! (Except coffee) Try not to hydrate yourself for as long as possible. This shouldn’t be hard as a mom since everyone always wants to drink what you’re having, leaving not even a trace of backwash– and that cup you left alone as you were tending to something else in the household will inevitably be empty, thanks to your husband, as soon as you go back for it. Just say screw it and swallow your own spit really hard a couple of times to try to appease that feeling of thirst. I’ve gotten really good at this one!
3. Prolong or skip feedings.
I know your breasts feel full. Or maybe not even so bad right now–Go ahead and skip that feeding cold turkey. After all, the baby is napping out of schedule and you don’t really feel like it, mommy time sounds a lot better. Or you’re on a ROADTRIP and the baby is sleeping so no sense in waking him. Make sure you don’t hand express or pump either. You want your milk ducts to get nice and full with milk and then have no where to go. When you do nurse your child, make sure you do it at a time when you need to rush so you have to cut the session short. If you want a really nice one, don’t switch sides either so one boob doesn’t waste any milk at all.
4. Sleep too far on your side to restrict flow.
Or go balls-to-the wall and sleep on your stomach. That milk won’t be going anywhere as you produce more and more and you’ll be waking up with knots galore, probably even a low-grade fever and aches.
5. Have your husband lovingly hug you too tightly.
–Or your kid throw a toy too hard directly at your boob causing damage somewhere and creating some sort of dam deep within your breasts stopping the milk from passing through.
6. Wear a diaper bag on your shoulder.
One that’s jam packed and heavy to ensure uneven distribution of weight on your body, causing distress to one of those finicky breast ducts. There’s always at least one.
7. Wear an underwire bra that somehow pisses off a milk duct.
This is especially helpful if you’re wearing a regular bra, without the nursing clips and you just pull your boob out to feed , while leaving unnoticeable pressure underneath your breast as you nurse. Your baby will get plenty to eat….but somehow milk will feel left out and left behind resulting in a tantrum inside your boobs later. If you’re good like me, you can get away with not wearing a bra at all but still clog a milk duct by pulling your boob out of a tank top or shirt that’s too tight, resulting in that same blockage underneath your boob as you nurse.
I think that’s it! If you want to ruin your entire day or week, go ahead and follow these steps. Make sure you don’t find a way to get the milk out so you can get mastitis too!
Real talk and all jokes aside:
I also noticed birth control contributed and had a significant drop in occurrences when I took a week off a couple times and then quit altogether. I know hormonal fluctuations can be a contributor because I am prone to them around the time of my menstrual cycle as well.
*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse, or licensed practitioner. This is based on my own personal experience. Always, always do what’s best for you and your family after doing your own research and/or speaking with your doctor. The information on this website is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before beginning any type of herbal, diet, or exercise regimen.
FTC: The following post includes affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase using my link, I may make a commission directly from the company at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, I only recommend products that I have personally bought, used, and loved. They will always be pure, natural, effective, and in alignment with a holistic lifestyle.
Here are some remedies that helped me tremendously:
🌿Constant hydration with a limit on caffeine.
I know, this sounds like a bad joke as a mom. Trust me, I know. This is probably the number one reason I got them in the beginning when I rarely even wore a bra. I wasn’t drinking enough water to keep myself hydrated and way too much coffee. I imagine my milk got too thick and would literally get stuck inside.
I don’t take anything soy, I’ve read too many things about how soy actually is pretty bad for you, but Sunflower Lecithin has a lot of amazing benefits. It helps relieve inflammation and even helps prevent Alzheimer’s. When I have a clog or know that I have to prolong a feeding, for instance during a long car ride, I will take one of these in the morning and before bed. This really gave me relief and I could feel the difference–it thinned out my milk enough that the flow could pick up enough to eventually shoot out the clog. You can get it at any health food store.
When that boob is clogged, the only thing that worked the best for me is nursing as often as possible. The pump wouldn’t do anything for me. Don’t neglect the breast that isn’t affected because then you’ll clog that one too, always alternate but try to start on the affected breast first. Dangle feed if your baby will do it (hover above them as they’re laying down and have them suckle) as gravity will help to pull it down and out.
🌿Hot, wet compresses.
Either stand in the shower and use a wash cloth or stand at the sink. Raise your hand (the one that is connected to the affected breast) and with the other hand, massage those babies. Start at the armpit. I usually can find a lump hiding somewhere around there, but even if the lump is lower, you want to push the milk that’s behind it as leverage to push the clog out. The hot water opens up your pores and ducts to encourage the flow. Push the milk downward toward your nipple. I massage using my fingers, as if I were playing piano keys, towards my nipple. I also just smooth my skin in a swiping motion to encourage that flow. Sometimes this works quickly, sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes it takes days. It will come out.
🌿Take Holy Basil and Oil of Oregano to ward off infection.
I’m not a huge fan of antibiotics. They usually cause more damage than good in my personal experience. Although they do kill the bad bacteria, they also wipe clean all of the good bacteria in your system, which is why thrush and yeast infections are so common after the use of antibiotics as well as the susceptibility of catching other illnesses soon after (I.e. Colds or flu) Holy Basil and Oil of Oregano will kill the bad bacteria but won’t harm the good and will boost your immune system as well. Take with a full stomach, just like you would penicillin. I’ve gotten chills and a fever and streaks on my breast before (mastitis) a couple of times and didn’t use traditional antibiotics to fix it. Ever.
🌿Take echinacea as an immune booster.
Echinacea helps to naturally and safely stimulate the immune system. I use it in capsule form and also tea form by Traditional Medicinals. It’s a staple in our “medicine” cabinet, as we’ll as the other supplements above.
🌿Examine your nipples for any milk blebs.
Blebs are what we call the hard milk that calcified (solidified) causing the blockage. It’s like a little white stone. When you feel the lump moving down your breast close to your nipple, you think you’re out of the woods. But not so. I’ve had a bleb get stuck in my nipple for days. Stubborn little boogers. I’ve learned to get a little rough with my nipples and hand express milk while squeezing the nipple in creative ways in order to push that thing out. This is when water is so important and lecithin. You want that milk to come flying out with full force to wiggle that bleb out. Hand express after every nursing session to see if it’s free. If it is out, you’ll know because milk will shoot out of that one spot in a single, forceful stream. I continue to hand express until the stream stops and the lump is gone. Sometimes thick yellow milk will shoot out in random spurts that literally looks like boogers. GET ALL OF IT OUT. If you don’t, that will solidify also as well as run the risk of causing infection. (My son usually nurses and has been know to get the bleb out or almost out but won’t drink the remainder….as your body tries to fight the infection it will cause your milk to taste salty which deters bacteria but also deters your baby from drinking it)
NOTE: It’s normal for your breast to feel sore for a day or two after getting the clog out and it’s also normal for you to get plagued with a clog in the same area a few times if the duct got so clogged that it was damaged.
It’s not a death sentence, it is a royal pain in the butt, but it doesn’t last forever and if you choose to, you can push through it 🙂
La Leche League – get breastfeeding support here.
I really hope this helps someone!!
Please let me know if you have ever experienced this, have any other advice for Momma’s, or just want to talk breastmilk LOL I hold this topic very near and dear to my heart because it was such an uphill battle for so long! Some women are prone to them (my oldest sister got them the first 6 months, my other sister never got them once, and then there was me lol!) Being transparent is the best way to help each other out in order to create awareness. Although breastfeeding IS rewarding, special and a blessing, it isn’t always. And that’s okay. 😊💛✨
If you think someone could benefit from this, feel free to share it!