What are Clogged Milk Ducts?

What are Clogged Milk Ducts?

Text/Photo: Dr Blue, Founder of J&J Baby, Educational Psychology, Lactation Counselor, Former Chemist

Clogged milk ducts are the result of hard lumps of concentrated breast milk that have blocked off the milk ducts in your breast. They can end up restricting the flow of breastmilk and make your job of nursing your baby much harder than it needs to be. Some common problems that can arise as a result of clogged ducts are swelling, redness and pain around your breast area. Definitely not the sensations you want to be dealing with on a long term basis, so allow us to help guide you in alleviating these problems.

Understanding the Causes

Before we can work on preventing clogged milk ducts, we need to first understand what are the causes of one to begin with. The most basic premise is that milk is not fully drawn out from your breast, causing it to solidify and block out the thin duct leading up to the nipples. This can happen from a variety of factors such as incorrect feeding, leftovers, and even breast pressure such as through the likes of vigorous exercise.

Preventing Clogged Ducts

Breastfeed Frequently:

One of the most basic but effective ways of preventing a buildup of milk in your breast is to make sure you are feeding your baby frequently. Try not to skip out on nursing sessions and keep a constant schedule that is not too far apart. Doing so will provide a constant flow of breast milk preventing older milk from drying up and becoming stuck.

Change Feeding Positions:

Yet another great way to prevent buildup is to ensure that every area of the breast is properly drained. Change nursing positions frequently between sessions so that no area is left without proper flow. Consistently practicing this will stop different areas from building up and end up clogged.

Avoid Wearing Restrictive Clothes:

Long term pressure on your breasts can cause backing up of milk fluids. This backed up milk can eventually cause a clog. You should avoid wearing restrictive clothing and sleeping on your chest area to keep pressure on your chest region as low as possible

Using Breast Pumps:

Aside from pumping milk out for storage when you are not nursing your baby, breast pumps are also a great tool to use in order to ensure your breast milk is properly drained after each session. You should use them after feeding your baby to get the last bits of milk out, making sure that there are no leftovers to cause a clog.

We hope that with all these tips, you will be able to avoid getting clogged milk ducts throughout the nursing period of your baby. imani Malaysia wishes you a comfortable and relaxing journey as you watch your baby grow and we are with you every step of the way!