I'm always singing the praises of breastfeeding and encouraging every mom I meet to give it a shot. The benefits for mom and baby cannot be denied, but I admit that it does come with challenges sometimes.
A blocked milk duct is one of those challenges. As one of the most common causes of lactational mastitis, it’s a real pain in the boob! A blocked duct develops fairly suddenly in one breast and is typically accompanied by pain, redness, swelling or lumpiness, and heat. You may feel flu-like symptoms as well, including fever. Luckily, lactational mastitis is not usually serious and tends to resolve, but can exhaust both you and your wee one.
First off, if you experience those symptoms, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to make sure nothing else could be going on and that there’s no spreading infection. Chances are you’d be prescribed an antibiotic, which usually takes care of the problem. However, if you’re like me and are not a fan of taking antibiotics especially while breastfeeding, there are some natural ways to help your body resolve the congestion.
5 Natural Ways To Deal With Blocked Breast Ducts
Continue nursing: As painful and uncomfortable as it may feel, with gentle but firm massaging, the continued flow of milk will start clearing up the blockage and promoting circulation. Do it frequently to prevent stagnation.
Drink a lot of water: Dehydration can play a role in clogged ducts, so make sure to keep well hydrated to help prevent mastitis, and to help clear it.
Avoid wearing a bra: While the inflammation is active, avoid restricting the flow of blood and lymph in and out of the breast tissue
Castor oil: A warm castor oil massage of the breast after feedings can sooth the tissues and encourage circulation and detoxification of the breast tissue. Mix the castor oil with Calendula oil and a few drops of oregano oil as well to give the massage an infection fighting edge.
Hot/cold compress: Apply a hot pack to the breast for 5 minutes, followed by a cold pack for 1 minute. Do at least 3 cycles. The alternating temperatures will draw more blood and lymph circulation, thereby boosting the immune function in the area.
Be sure to go and see your doctor if you don’t see any progress within a few days, or if it seems to be getting worse.