Woofta, writing this post after we are officially out of ‘the thick of it’ has me feeling very grateful. Things have finally resolved and my milk supply has returned – YEY! If you’re reading this because you are having the same issues, first, I am so sorry mama, and second, you’ve got this! If you’re reading this to prepare for someday, I hope that it’s totally not needed, but if it is, I hope this serves you well! I am going to give you all of the tips and tricks that I discovered through lots of research, speaking with our doctor, and helpful mamas of the instagram world!
Below I am going to break down the two things that I experienced while nursing (and they often go hand in hand). But before we start, a little disclaimer: Please note that every body, mother and child is different, and you should always consult your doctor about any concerns you have and verify with them before taking or using any supplements or using any products. This blog post is personal to my own experience only and is not to be taken as medical advice.
Clogged Milk Duct Remedies
4 months into exclusively nursing and this was my first clogged duct, and let me just say… WOW. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I was super busy at a M+B Boutique pop up market and didn’t have time to pump so I missed one daytime feed. I never in a million years would have guessed it would have this type of repercussion, but now I know and I will not be making the same mistake twice. In the end, time and persistence really had to work together. I thankfully managed to get away without mastitis, which was the ultimate goal. About a month has past since then and we are still in the clear, so I am thankful and feeling good as we continue on our nursing journey!
HYDRATE: To help keep your supply in check, and to also keep things moving. This is also just important whether you are nursing or not – so grab a water bottle (with a staw, trust me it helps a ton) and get those ounces down!
MASSAGE: A helpful tip I read was massaging from the FRONT of the clog – think of it like a traffic jam – start at the front and then funnel the rest through. Otherwise have your husband / yourself massage the area often and persistently – combining with a warm compress, pumping and nursing to try to force the clog out. I also used a massage gun because vibration often helps to break up clogs I heard!
HEAT: Hot showers and baths will at the very least sooth your breast for a bit. But, it is also wildly known that this is one of the best things you can to do to help work the clog out. Massage the area well during and after heat. I also found it helpful to pump after this too.
GRAVITY/NURSING POSITION: Nursing on all fours is the farthest thing from glamorous, but it really did help. Lay your baby on their back and hover over them to nurse. The ‘football’ hold was also very helpful for me based on the poison of my clogged duct. Babies chin should point towards the clog!
ESSENTIAL OILS: This was a trick I didn’t come across anywhere on the internet and a sweet mama on instagram told me about it! I combined citrus fresh and lavender essential oils and put them just under my armpit before bed on the clogged side. I used nipple butter to dilute it before applying it to my skin and then made sure that I washed it off well and kept it covered when my baby had to get close to it. I honestly think this helped reduce the inflammation and keep the clog from returning again.
MANUAL PUMP: I read over and over that this was better than electric pumping when it came to clogs. I am not 100% sure if it made a difference for me personally, but it was worth a shot and didn’t hurt!
EPSOM SALT/HAAKAA TRICK: One of my sweet mom friends mailed me a haakaa when she heard I was struggling and I think the support and love I felt from that thoughtful gift was enough to help me a ton! Fill your haakaa with warm water and Epsom salt and suction to your breast. Your nipple should be fully immersed. I left it on for 10-15 minutes, and repeated it daily while I had the clog.
**If all else fails, your husband may need to take one for the team. If you know, you know.**
Low Milk Supply Remedies
I generally oversupply, so when my milk supply dropped after having the clogged milk duct, I honestly panicked. I love nursing, and I was really sad at the thought of it coming to an end, so I wanted to do everything in my power to help it increase. That being said, in my heart and mind I know that fed is always best, but this is something my daughter and I truly enjoy and I wasn’t going to give it up easily!
HYDRATE: Yes, this again! Water, coconut water and body armor are so valuable. Your body NEEDS to be fully hydrated to create breastmilk, and when you are trying to get your supply back up, increasing your fluid intake is so important.
NUTRIENTS: Fuel your body! Eat healthy, well rounded meals. Motherhood has a tendency to force us to go go go, and we often put our own needs on the back burner. It was also helpful to increase my vitamin C intake! I also eat oats like it is my job every morning and I truly think that has helped throughout my entire nursing journey.
POWER PUMPING: No one loves it, but it really is essential when rebuilding your supply. In the end, milk is 100% supply and demand so if you need your body to produce more, you need to tell it to produce more. Don’t get discouraged by the output of the pump – I truly got hardly anything while pumping and baby is much more efficient.
NURSE, NURSE, NURSE: Get your skin to skin on and spend a day or two (at least a few hours each) in bed with your little babe letting them nurse at any and all times. It’s honestly pretty relaxing and your little one will probably love the task too!
There you have it, mama! That’s what worked for me. I hope you never need it, but if you do just know that I am rooting for you and it is going to be okay!
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Please note that every body, mother and child is different, and you should always consult your doctor about any concerns you have and verify with them before taking or using any supplements or using any products. This blog post is personal to my own experience only and is not to be taken as medical advice.