Clogged milk ducts
Breastfeeding is one of the natural interactions given by the mother to her baby. However, the experience of each mother in breastfeeding her baby is not always the same. Some people provide breastmilk smoothly. Conversely, there are also those who experience problems inhibiting the process of breastfeeding. One of the general cases is the milk canal is blocked. It feels very uncomfortable and very disturbing. The blocked breast milk can occur if the milk is produced faster than the baby’s ability to suckle. Another factor is the mother tends to be too late to milk the breastmilk. As a result, breast milk accumulates in the milk ducts in the breast, so that the tissue around the ducts becomes swollen, inflamed and clogs the flow of milk.
Why can the breastmilk be blocked?
Clogged milk ducts usually occur in one breast. However, some nursing mothers experience both breasts at once. This condition is often referred to as a blocked duct or plugged duct.
Several factors can cause it, including:
- The production of breastmilk is far more than the amount of milk that the baby sucks
- Do not breastfeed the baby regularly
- Blister milk or white spots that clog the nipple holes
- Breastfeeding positions that do not vary
- Excessive pressure on the breast, for example, when milking breast milk, bras that are too tight, improper sleeping positions, etc.
- Stress, fatigue, weak immune system, and anemia
- Underwent surgery, such as a breast biopsy. The area that is dissected can interfere with the drying of the milk and cause the glands to clog.
Some of the symptoms usually experienced by nursing mothers when the ducts are blocked, they are:
- Pain in the breast
- When pressed, there are hard parts such as clots or large plates in the breast
- Reddish breasts
- The flow of ASI is not as smooth as usual, so the baby suddenly refuses to suckle in the breast
- Clogged breast milk channels are not accompanied by fever. But if there is a fever, you need to be careful with mastitis, which is a similar condition that is accompanied by an infection in the breast canal.
What should be done if the milk canal is blocked?
If breast milk accumulates in one part of the breast (the blocked duct due to not being released immediately), it will cause the breast to start swelling (breast milk stasis). If these conditions continue, consuming breast milk stasis can cause inflammation of the breast tissue. This interference is known as mastitis.
Some of the ways that you can neglect if you experience a blocked breast milk duct are:
1) Compress with warm water
The main step that can be done is compressing swollen breasts with warm water. By compressing the breast which has blocked breast milk, it will help milk flow. But be careful that the water used to, to avoid the irritation of the skin breast. You can also take a bath with warm water or stand under a warm shower. Let the warm water flow through the breasts that experience blockages. Also, moms can also insert clogged breasts, into a container that has been filled with warm water. Then soak the breast in a few seconds. This will help facilitate the flow of breast milk in the breast.
Tip: To make the heat feel longer, use a disposable diaper that is still clean to compress. Compared to the cloth or small towels, this method is more practical and feels more comfortable.
2) Gentle massage
After compressing the breast, do gentle massage with a circular motion in the breast both before and during breastfeeding. This method can help loosen the milk blockage. Do a massage also on the hard part towards the nipple, to encourage clogged milk. Tips: do not forget to use massage oil or baby oil to avoid feeling sore when massaging clogged breasts.
3) Continue to keep, with the baby’s chin pointing towards the blocked area
Continue to breastfeed with frequent frequency. This is very important so that the milk is completely emptied from the breast, to reduce swelling. Try to position the baby’s chin while feeding, which is part of the blockage, although moms should try a few different breastfeeding positions that have never been done before. Continue to keep the breastmilk channel back smoothly.
If the ducts are blocked the breast must be emptied. After breastfeeding, milk or pump the remaining milk inside the breast. Sometimes when using an electric or manual breast pump, it can cause swollen breasts to feel sore and uncomfortable because of their suction power.
5) Soaking with hot water
In addition to compressing the breast, you can soak it with hot/warm water. Use a basin or similar container and fill it with hot/warm water. Be careful toward the temperature of the water, keep it not to overheat.
6) Eat and drink water.
Focus on eating nutritious foods to improve the immune system, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
7) Take a break
In addition to blushing, another important thing is rest. Do not forget to rest, because the swelling of the breast will affect the immune system. Rest is very important for the healing process.
8) Selection of the right bra
Often breast milk blockages in the breast are exacerbated by external pressure, such as an inappropriate bra size or a too-tight shirt. Therefore, make sure breastfeeding mothers use nursing bras that are truly sized. Also use a loose top, giving space to the breast. Make sure the breastfeeding mother feels comfortable with what she uses, both the bra and the clothes worn.
Take ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation. But consult a lactation doctor or consultant before taking any medication while breastfeeding.
10) Positive Thinking
Whatever problems occur, still think positively will always find a way out. Moms must remain confident and positive, think calmly that all these problems can be resolved properly. However, if for 24 hours this home treatment has not been successful. Immediately go to a doctor or lactation clinic, the possibility of infection has occurred and requires further treatment.
Sometimes the flow of milk in the affected area is slower than usual and can make a baby fussy during feeding. Although the baby will not feel pain when feeding on a blocked breast swollen. Because the anti-bacterial content in breast milk will keep the baby safe from bacteria, even when you have an infection. If it is severe enough the blocked breast milk can be difficult to cure just by doing home remedies. Immediately consult with your doctor about problems that are being experienced during the breastfeeding period.