Breastfeeding isn’t always sunshine and flowers. One of the most common and painful issues is a blocked milk duct which left untreated could become infected and lead to Mastitis, which then requires a visit to the GP and possibly antibiotics.
Blocked milk ducts happen when a milk duct in your breast gets clogged or has poor drainage. It can occur if your breast isn’t completely emptied after a feed, if your baby skips a feed, or if you’re under stress — which can be common in new mums.
Symptoms can come on slowly and generally affect just one breast.
You may experience:
- a lump in one area of your breast
- engorgement around the lump
- pain or swelling near the lump
- discomfort that subsides after feeding/pumping
- pain during letdown
- milk plug/blister (bleb) on the nipple
It’s also common to see a temporary decrease in your supply when you have a clog.
What can you do?
Continue breastfeeding. The idea is to continue draining the breast frequently. Start the feed with the affected breast to ensure it’s fully drained.
Soak your breast in warm water, in the shower or bath, and try massaging the clog.
Vary breastfeeding positions. Sometimes moving around allows your baby’s suction during feeding to better reach the clog.
If you can’t seem to unblock this by yourself, here at The Osteopathic Centre we have a variety of treatment options including therapeutic ultrasound to ease the discomfort of blocked ducts. Why not speak to one of our experienced Osteopaths to see if we could help?
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your blocked ducts are accompanied by a fever, intense pain, and swollen, red breasts you should consult your Doctor immediately.
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