There are many reasons why the milk flow changes. One of the most common instances is a blocked milk duct. Through this article we will explore the causes, effects, and treatment of blocked milk ducts.
After the journey of pregnancy comes
the journey of motherhood.
Thankfully, over the past nine months, your body and
its hormones have been kicking into gear, making sure the natural instincts are
ready to handle the baby once it comes out into the real world.
One of the most natural reactions to
new motherhood is breastfeeding. This experience is different for all women and
there is no ‘right or wrong’ way to breastfeed a newborn. For some women it
happens within an hour after giving birth, others might need more time.
way, the milk has been brewing in the breasts in the final trimester and it is
ready to start being suckled out.
The first thing that you’re going to
notice about the breastfeeding chapter is that is it unpredictable. One day,
the flow might be long and steady with no issues. The next day, just a few
trickles will come out. So, what is going on here?
There are many reasons why the milk
One of the most common instances is a blocked milk duct!
this article we will explore the causes, effects, and treatment of blocked milk
ducts. Knowledge is power when it comes to the mystery of the female body so
being aware that these things can happen is the first step to empowering
yourself while breastfeeding.
Like with the causes of anything
going on in the body, these are plentiful.
The most common reason for the
blockage is excess milk production. This is when the milk simply isn’t moving
fast enough and is sitting in the tubes, waiting to come out. If it doesn’t
make it out, it can rest for too long and become blocked.
on the breasts
Another explanation is pressure on
the breasts. A tight bra, such as a sports bra, or anything else that restricts
the breasts, even carrying the baby around on the chest, can wreak havoc on the
milk ducts. To prevent these things from happening, it is important to give
your breasts time to breathe through the day. Avoiding sleeping on the breasts
is a good place to start. Also, after exercising, take off the sports bra and
let the breasts circulate freely. Giving them a light massage after tight bras
or restrictions have been on them is advisable.
Similar to drainage issues,
blockages can occur when pumping breast milk. If the pump isn’t strong enough,
it can affect the flow and production. Using a good quality pump is the best
thing to do for this.
Now, since it is the baby who needs
to the breast milk, it is crucial to make sure they are latching well. If the
baby isn’t latching strongly enough, the drainage won’t keep up with the flow
of production. If you and the baby are experiencing latching difficulties, it
is a good idea to see a lactation specialist and sort the problem out sooner
rather than later.
a baby too quickly
Furthermore, weaning a baby too
quickly can cause milk ducts to block. If there is still milk being produced
and flowing into the ducts, but not being drained, they are going to get
blocked. Even after weaning the baby, continue pumping and draining to make
sure all milk is getting out of the body and not sitting in the breasts.
Finally, there is stress. Any amount
of stress is going to cause problems during the breastfeeding stages. Of
course, some stress is inevitable due to the messed up sleeping routine and
extra pressure on the baby. However, self-care during this time is essential.
Make sure you have a break, put your feet up, and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea
to remove stress and let the body work its wonders naturally.
The most obvious symptom that you’re
going to find is that the milk isn’t
coming out as well as it should. This can be hard to tell at first when
still getting into a rhythm of breastfeeding. The best thing to do is trust
your instinct - if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Another noticeable warning sign is pain in the breasts. Some women first
notice a firm or bumpy area on the breast. This can be painful and
uncomfortable. If there is any swelling
or redness on the breast and something that feels like a small lump or
bruise, it is most likely a blocked milk duct. Also look out for areas of the
breast that are warm to touch as this is another sign.
A blocked milk duct isn’t the worst
thing that can happen during new motherhood. It doesn’t necessarily call for a
visit to the doctor unless it gets really severe. If things get too bad, it can
lead to mastitis, which is an infection in the breasts that will need
antibiotics. The time to see a doctor is when there is too much heat and
swelling in one area of the breasts and a fever starts.
The good news is that a blocked milk
duct can be sorted out in the comfort of home before it gets too severe.
the milk continue to flow
Although there is pain associated
with feeding or pumping when one of the milk ducts is blocked, keeping on is
the first thing to do. Letting the milk continue to flow is the first step to
Also, you should stay hydrated and
get plenty of water into the body. This helps to stimulate the breast milk,
giving it a lighter consistency to flow through the ducts. Hydration is also
important to any element of health and wellbeing so should never be overlooked.
hot or cold compress
A hot compress is another good
solution. This can relieve some of the pain of the site. Using a hot compress
in addition to a lanolin cream can help to calm the milk ducts down and
stimulate a good flow again. Similarly, taking a hot shower and spraying warm
water directly onto the nipple can relieve the discomfort.
Some women prefer cold relief to hot
which also works in this case. A cold compress or cold water sprayed directly
around the nipple can also be a good solution to ease things up.
a blocked milk duct last for a long time?
The first answer is that hopefully
it won’t! To ease and relieve a blocked milk duct, being proactive is the most
important thing. As soon as signs of trouble arise, start treating the breast
with heat and massage quickly. Also, be sure to check how the baby is latching.
Most of the time, a blocked milk
duct will resolve itself within a day or two, as long as you are caring for the
breasts well. If the pain and discomfort continues for more than two days,
getting an appointment at the doctor is recommended. This is the time when it
might develop into mastitis and need more serious treatment.
Staying healthy and stable is the
best prevention for anything going wrong with breastfeeding and new motherhood.
Taking care of yourself and looking after the body is important. As mentioned
earlier, staying away from excess stress and putting time and effort into
self-care helps a lot. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and
drinking plenty of water.
In terms of the breasts, giving them
regular massages and using a heat compress or warm water in the shower can help
to stimulate milk flow, preventing blockages from occurring. The main thing to
do is to take care of the breasts and understand how important they are during
Wearing appropriate clothing around
the breasts is also useful. Now is not the time to try out a super cute tight
top! Rather, go with loose and flowy clothes so that the breasts can breathe
nicely. Make sure to wear a proper, supportive bra that isn’t too tight.
Exercising is still important during
the first few months to help get the body back into shape. However, avoid
exercises that make the breasts bounce too much. A nice cycle, swim, or walk is
better than an intense run or jumping around a gym class.
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