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Cure the clog: Clogged milk ducts

As most moms know, breastfeeding can be a challenge. When it doesn’t come easily, many assume they’ve done something wrong. But that’s not the case. They’ve just faced an obstacle. One of the most common? Frequently clogged milk ducts. A clogged milk duct happens when it doesn’t drain and becomes inflamed. And yes, it can be as unpleasant (and painful) as it sounds. After all, nobody wants to wake up feeling like they have a golf ball embedded in their chest. It’s no wonder many moms could be tempted to stop breastfeeding. Should they wean? Not so fast. Breastfeeding is the cornerstone for life-long good health for babies and moms, and the benefits are well-documented. Even so, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control found only one-third of mothers who plan on exclusively breastfeeding for three months actually meet their goal.


Heat, Massage, Rest, Empty Breast

The good news is, if you know what to do for a plugged milk duct, relief is right around the corner. If you’re sore or in pain, the last thing you may feel like doing is nursing. But that’s exactly one of the things experts say will help. Try heat, massage, and rest as often as possible. You’ll also want to deal with a plugged duct immediately, or it might become infected.

What Would You Do?

Many moms are concerned they’ll get plugged milk ducts and want to know how to avoid them. Our Facebook fans recently shared some ways to ease the pain and get their milk flowing again. Not surprisingly, the recurring theme? Keep nursing and pumping regularly, taking care not to go too long between feedings.

“Nurse, nurse, nurse.”

“A warm compress and constant massage helped me.”

“Try to empty the breast at every feeding either from the baby nursing or finishing with a breast pump.”

Did you experience clogged milk ducts during breastfeeding or pumping? How did you treat them?