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Remedies for Blocked Milk Ducts

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Lactating women often suffer from a condition called blocked milk ducts. This condition makes it difficult to excrete milk from the nipples. Clogged milk ducts can make the nipples and breasts tender and inflamed and makes it difficult and even painful for the mother breastfeed the baby.

Milk ducts can get blocked because of various reasons. Sometimes, wearing ill fitting undergarments and outfits can damage the nipples and block the ducts. Another reason for this condition is insufficient extraction of milk from the breasts. If milk is not extracted regularly, either through direct breastfeeding or mechanical breast pumps, the ducts can get clogged due to excessive pressure. However, improper use of breast pump may also be a cause of blocked milk ducts, along with malnutrition, infections and stress.

Here are some remedies that you can try to cure this problem:

1. Change in breastfeeding routine: Try to breastfeed your baby more frequently to ensure regular flow of milk from the ducts. You can also use a breast pump to drain excess milk after the baby is fed.

2. Vitamin C: This vitamin is the best remedy to prevent clogged milk ducts. Vitamin C improves the immune system and helps the body fight infections, inflammation, stress and common flu; all these factors contribute towards blocked milk ducts. Include citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruits, oranges etc. in your diet.

3. Better feeding position: Hold the baby close to the nipple and make sure that he latches it properly. Improper latching by the baby may cause uneven drainage from the ducts and blockage. Also, try to keep changing baby’s position while feeding to ensure that all the milk ducts are used.

4. Potato: Putting cold potato on the blocked milk duct can be helpful in relieving inflammation and pain. Put a raw potato in refrigerator for three to four hours and then grate it into a mash. This mash should be applied on the blocked milk ducts and left for 5-10 minutes, after which it can be cleaned with wet towel. This process can also be repeated after every few hours.

5. Cabbage Compress: Create a warm compress with fresh cabbage leaves. Put a cabbage leaf in the microwave for few seconds to warm it. Place it on the breast to relieve the blockage, as the heat from the leaves will open the clogged nipples. This compress can be repeated several times throughout the day.

6. Lecithin: Lecithin is a type of fat found in animal products and plant tissues. This is a good source of polyunsaturated fats in the breast milk, which ensures that milk doesn’t crystallize and ducts aren’t clogged. You can take 1200 mg of lecithin supplements thrice a day for about 15 days to ensure good results. Some women with recurring problem of blocked ducts are advised to take this supplement for as long as they breastfeed.

7. Breast Massage: Massage the breast every time you breastfeed the baby. Before breastfeeding, gently massage the nipples areolas and try to gently squeeze out the blockage. The same procedure should be repeated after breastfeeding.

Blocked milk ducts can be a very painful and confusing problem for women, especially for new mothers. If you are experiencing any such problems, then stop hiding it and take adequate measures, for the sake of yours and your baby’s health.