breastfeeding: tips on relieving a plugged duct naturally

It's about to get real over here so get ready! These past few days I've been nursing a clogged duct. Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bond to share with your little. However, it's also very hard and sometimes painful. I have had plugged ducts before but after massaging they go away. This time was different because it was getting worse. It was so bad that the area was hard and inflamed I started to worry because I knew it was headed towards mastitis. Although I'm not against using antibiotics (do what you need to do!) I really wanted to try to relieve my symptoms naturally before calling my Dr. If my fever would have gone up above 100 I would've called right away because I do not want to deal with a massive infection that can be fixed rather quickly with meds. 

I reached out to my Snap Chat family and was immediately blown away with all of the amazing momma's who gave me some great tips and advice! So this post is really a collaboration! I figured it would be helpful for any of my breastfeeding reader's. If you're experiencing a clogged duct, I hope this list helps. As always consult your medical care provider with questions or concerns.

Tips on how to relieve a clogged duct naturally: 

How to know if you have a clogged duct? (The following info is directly from a great breastfeeding resource website,
"A plugged (or blocked) duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed. The nipple pore may be blocked (see Milk Blister), or the obstruction may be further back in the ductal system. A plugged duct usually comes on gradually and affects only one breast. Mom will usually notice a hard lump or wedge-shaped area of engorgement in the vicinity of the plug that may feel tender, hot, swollen or look reddened. Occasionally mom will only notice localized tenderness or pain, without an obvious lump or area of engorgement. The location of the plug may shift.A plugged duct will typically feel more painful before a feeding and less tender afterward, and the plugged area will usually feel less lumpy or smaller after nursing. Nursing on the affected side may be painful, particularly at letdown. There are usually no systemic symptoms for a plugged duct, but a low fever (less than 101.3°F / 38.5°C) may be present."

  1. Massage, massage, massage: This is going to hurt because your breast is likely already sore but you want to loosen up the clog. I start with a circular motion and move towards my nipple.
  2. Use warm packs: I had a genius idea from one of my followers who suggested making one with a sock and rice (this can be heated up in the microwave for 60 seconds). You can also make one by wetting a washcloth, squeezing the excess water and warming it up in your microwave for 60 seconds. Then place it on your breast. This provided some pain relief for me as well!
  3. Use a comb in the shower: Take a wide-tooth comb and comb the area of your breast where you have the plugged duct. This is going to be very uncomfortable but it works. Again you're trying to loosen up the plug. 
  4. Take a hot shower and hand express: Let the hot water pour on your breast and hand express as best as you can. This was ultimately the one that worked best for me. Although it was also painful it helped a lot. Don[t be alarmed if you breast milk is thicker, watery or string like. As this is your plugged duct getting loosened up!
  5.  Try to relax and drink some tea: I had the sweetest friend drop off some tea and coconut oil at my door and I was so teary-eyed with gratefulness! It takes a village! It was so comforting to drink some warm tea while I was already having a low-grade fever. 
  6. Pump and have your baby nurse from that side: This was harder for me because Lucia didn't want to nurse from that side. I've read that when you have a clogged duct the breast milk changes and it may become salty in taste which could explain why she was rejecting it. However, after I hand expressed and continued to offer it to her she started nursing more. Babies are really the best pumps!
If all of this fails I'd definitely recommend reaching out to your healthcare provider! I hope this helps out and gives you some relief if you're experience this. It's hard and I know how painful it can be!

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  1. I must of totally missed your snaps when you talked about this! Hope you're all better!! Xo

    1. thanks so much, Veronica!! I'm doing a lot better! I hope you and Lucas are doing well xo!