Many mothers are blissfully unaware of the subtle but very real dangers lurking in their breast milk. They think that their happy little nurslings are just being cranky and refusing to drink, but the reality is that they might be suffering from something much nastier than a bad mood—like a blocked duct or mastitis. While these conditions may not seem connected on the surface, they are actually linked in several important ways. Some of which we’ll explore further below. If you’re not familiar with these terms, here’s a quick explainer:
Clogged Pumps – Clogged ducts or clogged milk ducts happen when excess mucus builds up in your breast, making it harder for the milk to flow out of your nipple and into your baby’s mouth. This causes your baby to be constantly frustrated and annoyed that he can never get enough milk whenever he sucks hard enough for it to come gushing out of his mouth like there’s no tomorrow. The same goes for you if you play an active role by not latching properly, cleaning your nipple well after each feeding, or doing other things that cause excess mucus build-up in your breasts.
Mastitis – Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands that happens when bacteria enter through broken skin on your nipples (or even through tiny holes called teat openings) and get trapped inside because there
What is Massage Therapy for Clogged Milk Ducts?
Massage therapy can unblock the milk ducts and help relieve breast engorgement (encouraging more frequent and better latching). This could help reduce the risk of clogged ducts, in which your breast refuses to let the milk out. Massage therapy can be done manually with the fingers or with a vibration device. Manual massage is performed one hand at a time. Start by pressing gently on the breast and moving around the ducts.
Next, move your hands around on your breast as though you were washing it with your fingers, carefully pressing on the ducts. This will help unblock the ducts and encourage the milk to flow more freely.
Benefits of Massaging After a Feeding
- Clears Blocked Milk Ducts
- Promotes Nursing
- Can Reduce Pain During Breastfeeding
- Helps Reduce the Risk of Overstimulation
- Helps Reduce the Risk of Postpartum Depression
- Boosts Baby’s Immune System
- Helps Prevent the Baby from becoming constipated
- Helps Relieve Painful Seizures
- Improves Baby’s Digestion
- Lowers the Risk of Early Weaning
Causes of Mastitis and its Symptoms
Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands that can happen during any time of the year, but it’s more common in summer months when the hormone estrogen levels are higher in the body. Breastfeeding is one of the most common causes of mastitis, so we suggest you try it. It’s equally possible for you to get mastitis if you have already given birth to a baby or have given birth to your next baby on the way. The most common symptoms of mastitis are redness and pain in your breasts, followed by swelling or a feeling of fullness. You might also experience a feeling of nausea, itching, or fever. You should see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, as it could be a sign of something much more serious.
Ways to Prevent Clogged Milk Ducts
- Make sure that you clean your nipple thoroughly after each feeding.
- Don’t let your nipples get too dry. Keep them moisturized, but don’t apply too much moisturizer.
- Don’t let your baby feed too often—every 4 hours is ideal, not every hour.
- Don’t let your baby suck on the same breast too much.
- Don’t play with your baby while he’s feeding.
- Don’t get overexcited while feeding.
Mastitis is a very serious condition that can damage your breast milk supply. It can cause inflammation, infection, and even scarring in the breast tissue, which means you can’t produce as much milk as you normally would. Luckily, most cases of mastitis are preventable. The best way to prevent mastitis is by making sure you always wash your nipple well after each feeding. Also, don’t let your nipples get dry, feed your baby frequently, don’t let your baby suck on the same breast too much, and don’t get overexcited while feeding.
Finally, if your breastmilk supply is starting to decrease, you should visit your doctor. If a blocked milk duct is to blame, you can treat it with massage therapy.