Dealing with Clogged Milk Ducts during Breastfeeding

One of the more frustrating experiences that can come along with breastfeeding is that of clogged milk ducts. Clogged milk ducts are especially common during those early days of breastfeeding, although they can happen at any time. Understanding what causes clogged milk ducts and, more importantly, knowing how to go about dealing with clogged milk ducts can help relieve some of the pain, discomfort, and stress of breastfeeding.

During those early weeks of breastfeeding, it’s not entirely uncommon for your breasts to become engorged. When this happens, your nipples will often become cracked. In addition, your milk ducts are likely to become clogged. This can be painful, and it can also make further breastfeeding somewhat difficult, to say the least.

When you have clogged milk ducts, you have a number of different options. Here are some of the ways that women tend to address the situation:

  • Lotions. There are a number of different types of herbal-based butters, creams, and ointments meant for giving comfort during breastfeeding. These are designed to help you with your clogged milk ducts. Most often, they’ll include ingredients such as calendula, marshmallow root, and plantain.
  • Herbal compresses. Some women may experience relief from clogged milk ducts via herbal compresses. These may be made of tea leaves or cabbage leaves. In fact, women have used compresses made from cabbage leaves or tea leaves for centuries to provide relief and comfort when breastfeeding. In addition, breast compresses may contain some of those herbs that you’re likely to find in the herbal lotions mentioned previously. Some compresses are meant for warm use and others for cold use, but the ones meant for warm use seem to give the best results in terms of clogged milk ducts.
  • Gel compresses. A nursing mother can also use a gel breast compress to give some relief when she has clogged milk duct. There are gel-like compresses that are actually all natural and use flax seed, rather than gel materials.

If you have pain or severely cracked nipples, or if you have signs of infection, you should most certainly speak with your doctor about the problem.