Have you observed a painful, red lump on your breast while feeding your newborn? This could be due to the presence of painful and agonizing clogged milk ducts.
Blockage in the milk ducts is a breastfeeding challenge faced by many nursing women. Left untreated this problem can aggravate and result in mastitis, a form of breast infection.
Clogged milk ducts are the result of the improper drainage of milk from the breasts. This condition results in the inflammation of the breasts and extreme pain for the mother. Moreover the area of the breast where there is a blockage, a small hard lump develops.
Incomplete or skipping feedings, an inadequate breast pump, a constricting bra that places pressure on the ducts or sleeping on the stomach for long periods of time can result in plugged milk ducts. Increased stress or a cold or flu can also result in a blockage and soreness of the breasts.
Along with painful lump on the breasts and pain while breastfeeding, blockage of the milk ducts can also result in the mother feeling feverish and achy for long periods of time. Nausea, a sudden onset of chills and feeling of being unwell are some of the common symptoms of this problem.
Treatment of this problem is essential as the plugged milk ducts can soon become infected and result in breast infection. It is easy to treat this problem at home itself.
Frequent breastfeeding is one of the best ways of removing the blockage. Although it might be painful but frequently feeding your baby ensures that the breasts empty well and the blocked milk ducts do not become engorged or infected. Try to avoid long stretches between the feedings and ensure that the baby suckles the milk for as long as he or she can.
Using a breast pump also helps in relieving the blockage and draining out the excess milk. A warm shower and the application of heat pad can also help in relieving the pain and enabling milk drainage. Massaging the area from the armpit to the areola can also provide some relief from the pain.
Varying the nursing position can also help in ensuring that the baby is latched on well and drains the milk properly. Pointing the chin towards the affected are, using the cradle position or nursing while lying down helps in the healing. Avoid sleeping on the stomach or wearing constricting bras.
If you are weaning your baby, then do so gradually. In case the lump is persistent or if the pain increases then consult a doctor.