3 tips to help you clear blocked milk ducts
Article by Cherlynn Ng
Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience, but it can also be a journey fraught with challenges and obstacles. It can be hard talking about these struggles, especially in this digital era where everything looks picture-perfect on social media and everyone else seems to have gotten a hang of things. But just because nobody seems to be talking about their problems, doesn’t mean these problems don’t exist.
Common issues encountered by breastfeeding mothers are a lack of milk supply, sore nipples, your baby refusing to latch and more. In this article, we will discuss blocked milk ducts and what you can do to alleviate this problem.
1. Pump milk once your breasts feel full
Are your breasts feeling full? That means they are filled with milk. Instead of waiting till your baby’s feeding time, start pumping out some milk first until you no longer feel the discomfort. This can help prevent your milk from clogging.
Make sure to store the breast milk properly until feeding time. Breast milk can last up to 4 hours after pumping at room temperature and up to 4 days in the fridge. Keep them in the freezer if you want them to last even longer. For optimal safety and sanitation, use breast milk storage bags as they are specially made for freezing human milk. Clean glass and hard BPA-free plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids are also good alternatives.
2. Hot compresses and breast massages
Women with larger breasts may experience clogging more often due to longer milk ducts that tend to bend.
A good solution is to use hot compresses as this can help soothe and soften the milk fat stuck in your ducts. Massaging your breasts will also boost blood circulation and right your milk ducts.
If you are experiencing blocked ducts, don’t just squeeze your breasts to pump milk. Instead, hold up your breast, slowly move it towards the nipple, then stretch the nipple and areola to remove milk fat that is stuck in the nipple. When all the fat is squeezed out, milk in your mammary glands can be discharged smoothly.
3. Use lecithin to break down your breast milk
Lecithin is a substance that can be naturally found in the tissues of your body. Made up of fatty acids, it works as an emulsifier that suspends fats and oils, thus keeping them from mixing with other substances.
Lecithin supplements have a wide range of uses, from treating cholesterol to acting as a breastfeeding aid. These supplements are usually derived from sunflower seeds, eggs or soybeans. They can help to break down your milk molecules. The finer the milk molecules are, the easier it is to discharge them.
Mothers who have problems with breastfeeding can consider consulting a lactation expert, who will advise you on suitable forms of lecithin to take.
As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Parenthood is a never-ending journey in which you are always discovering something new. Only by learning, do we progress and grow. And in order to learn, we need to be unafraid when it comes to asking for help.
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