After 8 months of breastfeeding (and the hopes of 4 months to go), I have had two clogged ducts. While I am happy that I’ve only had to deal with it twice, they are incredibly painful, and you have to be persistent to get rid of them.
Here’s what I’ve done to get them GONE:
1. Put a hot compress on the spot for 5-10 minutes. I have used hot washcloths and those hand warmers that you put in your gloves, but the best thing that I found was a heating pad with a wet washcloth underneath it. Hot showers and hot tubs can also be good for this.
2. Massage the spot like crazy. It will hurt sooooo much, but you have to put pressure on it so that it works its way out. Put as much pressure on it as you can stand, keep that pressure steady, and then rub it. You will want to work it towards your nipple, as the end goal is for that milk to push its way out. When you feel like you can push harder, do it. I promise it will hurt, but you need to keep doing this.
3. If the baby is not available: pump. Really work on massaging the clog while you are pumping. OR
4. If you can nurse: lay the baby on the ground, get on all fours on top of him/her, positioning yourself so that his/her chin is pointing towards the clog, and nurse in this position. It’s not comfortable. You will be tired. You will be achy. The gravity REALLY helps everything work in the right direction.
For me, it usually takes at least a day of constantly using all of these before the clog finally goes away. It’s worth having a day of exhaustion in order to prevent mastitis.
While looking for other ways to help alleviate clogged ducts, here are some other things to try:
- more frequent nursing/pumping
- vary the nursing position
- ibuprofen to help inflammation and pain
- get some rest (HA!)
- mix 2 drops of lavender oil and 1 tsp of coconut oil and massage over breast
- apply thinly-sliced or shredded organic potatoes to breast and cover with a cloth for one hour
- eat one raw garlic clove mashed every 2 hours (until pain is gone)
- drink water
- wear loose-fitting clothes
- slip raw cabbage inside your bra