How to prevent clogged milk ducts?

Aletta - posted on 05/21/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have a 9 month old little girl and I am still breast feeding. Within the last two months, I have had numerous bouts of (what appears to be) clogged milk ducts in my left breast. It has not developed into mastitis (thank goodness) and I have managed to clear each bout within 12 hours each time. But it keeps coming back!!! There is a little white spot on the outside of my nipple, and the area around that (the upper and outside half of the breast) is always the area the gets clogged.



I have tried: warm compresses before nursing, massaging the area while nursing, using the breast pump if the breast is not empty after she's done, various nursing positions, always starting with the affected breast, etc. I'm getting frustrated of being sore and having our nursing time not as enjoyable as it used to be. I do have a doctor's appointment tomorrow (May 22) just in case an infection has set in. Any comments or tips would be most helpful!

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Sarah - posted on 05/21/2009

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I have had the EXACT problem. (still do on occasion) I ended up calling a lactation nurse and she told me the white spot is a milk blister. Basically a thickened strand of milk that has become "stuck" and causes the milk to not flow as well and become a blocked duct. The best treatments are to keep Lanolin on your nipple as much as possible, it keeps the area soft and helps with the blister, to keep saturated fat out of your diet as much as possible, it will cause your milk to become "sticky" and to take a supplement called Lecithin. It will help reduce the stickiness in the milk and prevent clogs and blisters. Oh, and go bra-less as much as you can. I know, hard to do in the summer when you can't hide in a big sweater! I followed these steps and I haven't had the problem for awhile now. It does come back though if I eat too much fast food or fried food! Good luck!

Anne - posted on 05/21/2009

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i dont think you should empty your breasts because the more milk you use the moer you make this will course your milk to clot and course you more pain all you can do is massage your breast but good luck i breast feed my kids till my yonngest was 4 thay are now 8 and 9 i was feeding mine at the same time i hope this is helpfull

Jen - posted on 05/21/2009

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It seems to me that you're doing everything right. The only thing I can think of that's been recommended to me is to change your daughter's position when she's nursing. From what I have read, wherever her chin is pointing is where the ducts are going to be most completely and thoroughly emptied. I have read that some moms will nurse laying down on their sides, and have the baby pointed so that the little one is "upside down" compared to mom so that the position is truly totally changed. Good luck!!

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Rhonda - posted on 05/22/2009

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I second the notion of the lecithin capsules - I have been taking them since I had a bout of mastitis a few months ago. I take a 1200mg capsule everyday and have not had any problems since!

Good luck!

Melanie - posted on 05/22/2009

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I am prone to blocked ducts and I swear by lecithin capsules. Since I started taking them (one a day) I have not had a single clogged duct. I also avoid underwire bras and don't over-pump (too much pumping can stimulate more milk, thus the vicious circle). I am also mindful of my sleeping position, as I noticed i was getting plugged up on the side that I sleep on. I also agree with changing up the nursing positions. Good luck!

Johanna M - posted on 05/21/2009

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You could also try a heating pad, it's worked for me in the past. If you have pain, redness or swelling... you probably have an infection. Antibiotics will be prescribed and are safe for baby too.

Stephanie - posted on 05/21/2009

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Try nursing while in the bath, sounds weird, but it worked for me with my first baby. Hot showers also help with gentle massaging to get your breasts flowing. I have a 7wk old and my ducts have gotten clogged a few times, but a hot shower works for me.

Sara - posted on 05/21/2009

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you may just be more prone? I know I had that white spot for a long time... maybe there are better foods to eat then others?

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I'm sure you have probably heard this too, but try not to wear a bra with underwire, or at all when your home.

That was my problem, I had plugged ducts a lot, and I slept in a really loose nursing bra and it helped.

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