Hey there, Super Mom! You know that being a parent is like being a superhero in disguise. You’re juggling diapers, feedings, and countless other tasks, all while trying to remember where you left your phone for the gazillionth time. But even superheroes have their kryptonite, and for nursing moms, one common villain is MASTITIS. Aka, a clogged milk duct that becomes infected – OUCH! It’s that unexpected enemy that can leave you feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. Let’s chat about how to relieve a clogged milk duct.
I’ve experienced mastitis once when my now-toddler, Sage, was a newborn, and it has happened three times (I feel like I need a trophy for that??) with my newborn, Daisy. All four times, my breast began to ache, I started getting the chills, and I had a 102-degree fever. After the last time, I was able to treat the clog and deter it from developing into mastitis. WOO!
So, grab your superhero cape because today we’re going to talk about how to prevent and relieve a clogged milk duct naturally, helping you stay on top of your game and enjoy your time with your little one to the fullest!
So first, prevention is KEY!
Water is your trusty sidekick in this battle. Staying well-hydrated is key to maintaining healthy milk production and preventing mastitis. So, grab your favorite water bottle (I love my Yeti!!) and keep it filled and within arm’s reach. I also pop in a liquid IV for added hydration!
Keep the girls drained
Think of your breasts as milk factories. The more they’re in operation, the less likely they are to experience a backlog. So, encourage your little one to feed often. It’s a win-win: baby gets nourishment, and you get a lower risk of mastitis. Plus, those extra cuddles are pretty sweet, too!
This is a natural fat emulsifier and one of the best supplements to naturally relieve a clogged milk duct. It can help loosen up fatty clogs. I pop one 1-2x a day now for prevention!
Comfy feeding positions (switch it up!)
Using pillows or a nursing pillow (we have and love the boppy!) can help you and your baby find that sweet spot, where you’re well-supported and your baby can latch easily. A comfy position ensures that milk flows smoothly, preventing clogs.
A good bra (or no bra)
Your trusty bra is like your very own superhero costume. Invest in a good, supportive nursing bra that fits perfectly. A well-fitted bra not only keeps things comfy but also helps prevent clogs and inflammation.
Sleep on your back
When you sleep on your back, you allow your breasts to be in a neutral position, reducing the risk of breast tissue compression and potential milk duct blockages. This comfortable sleeping position promotes healthy milk flow and can be a simple yet effective step in your mastitis prevention strategy!
Relaxation + Rest
Stress + lack of sleep weakens your defenses and makes you more susceptible to mastitis. So, embrace the power of stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or a bubble bath. These small moments of relaxation can work wonders for your overall well-being. Then whenever you can, catch some z’s. Sleep is your secret weapon! Whether it’s a power nap or a full night’s sleep, it’s a key element to prevent a clogged milk duct and potential mastitis.
Check for sore spots + clogs!
Become your own breast detective. If you sense a sore spot or lump, don’t ignore it. Investigate the scene and use gentle massage toward the nipple during feedings, ensuring milk flows freely!
AHHHH, you feel a dreaded clog, now what?!
This is what I do! (in order)
1. Nurse, nurse, nurse
Nurse as MUCH as possible on the side of the clog! It may hurt, and your nipple may be tender, but it’s so important to try to get and keep the milk flowing. If you do experience sore nipples, in-between feeds use Silverettes.
2. Pop your Sunflower Lechitin
I ramp these up and will pop 2 at a time every 4-5 hours.
A mixture of herbs for tried and true lactation support. I just squirted it right under my tongue every hour, and use a juice for a chaser (it’s not the best tasting, but works like a charm!!). You can also mix it into a drink, but I didn’t have time for all of that.
“It’s fast-acting, and stimulates lymphatic function in nursing mothers breastfeeding, nursing, and pumping. Customers call Happy Ducts Lactation Support Liquid Gold because of its rapid effect.”
4. Heat Therapy
First, I get in a hot shower. If you do experience a fever and crazy chills, this feels HEAVENLY. Then I hand express as much as I can in the shower. You want to do this extremely GENTLY as to not further inflame the area where the clog is. When I get out I use either a hot pack, or a heating pad (I LOVE this one) and I’ll lay that right across my breast in-between massaging. Heat therapy can help reduce pain and encourage milk flow.
5. Essential Oils
When I get out of the shower, after I dry completely off and my pores are closed (wait 15-20min) I lather my breast up with essential oils! My go-to mixture is: Thieves, Oregano, Melrose, Geranium, and Tangerine. Grab them here! I’ll put 2-3 drops of each in my palm, add some coconut oil, and will massage it into the area. Make sure that you nurse again BEFORE you do this, because baby won’t latch if you get any on your nipple (I know this from personal experience.)
Another oil that I grab is Peppermint. I’ll rub a few drops up and down my spine, and on the bottoms of my feet to help cool my body heat down. Consistency is KEY when using these!
You can continue to GENTLY massage and hand-express your breast. Pro tip: Catch the milk into a Haakaa! It’s STILL good milk. Don’t let that liquid gold go to waste!
7. Cold Therapy
Once the clog is broken up, icing the breast helps to reduce inflammation and just feels so so good! I’ll do this for 10-15 min every hour.
Get PLENTY of rest to allow your body to heal and recover. Your boob will most likely feel bruised and extremely sore for days after. Minimize physical exertion and stress during this time!
Water, water, water – especially if you have a fever. I wake up totally soaked with sweat when mine breaks and need tons of water to rehydrate!
Some other things to consider:
Do NOT wear a bra during this time. I usually just lay shirtless in bed to minimize anything rubbing against and further irritating the breast.
Ask your spouse – to suck it out. Sounds weird, but it works! And no, this is not comfortable at ALL, but it’s much better than mastitis.
Buy cabbage leaves! My clogs were remedied before I needed to use these, and all of my clogs have happened late at night – but I’ve had so many friends say to grab them, and to stick a leaf in your bra! Apparently they have properties to help minimize inflammation, and feel SO good cold! So, why not!
Try a Haakaa with warm epsom salt water! Put the warm water and epsom salts into the haakaa, then hold your nipple in it for 5minutes. Repeat as needed!
And there you have it, fellow supermoms!
Now you know everything to relieve a clogged milk duct naturally. Each time I did have mastitis, my fever broke before I woke up in the morning, and I was able to avoid antibiotics, thank goodness! I do want to say that while all of this worked for me, if your symptoms worsen, consult a healthcare provider. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection.
I am confident though, that mastitis doesn’t stand a chance against your newfound arsenal of natural prevention strategies. You’ve got the hydration, the nourishing supplements, and the support you need to keep those pesky clogs at bay. So, keep rocking that nursing cape, stay hydrated, and embrace the superhero within you. You’ve got this, and you’re ready to enjoy every moment with your little one without the threat of mastitis lurking in the background. Here’s to happy, healthy, and mastitis-free breastfeeding days ahead! Cheers to you!