How to Unclog a Milk Duct



That title just draws you in, doesn't it? Who is ready for a kind of awkward post?

(Well, I don't think it is awkward, but people who have no exposure to breastfeeding and crazy clogged ducts might think it is and get their minds blown so that was just a little heads up to those who have none).

I just counted, and I have nursed for 26 months of the past 28 months. That really is not even that long considering my mother-in-law nursed for a good portion of the past 28 years.

Back when Ryan was six weeks old, my crying woke Chris up at three or so in the middle of the night. I already dreaded the first painful minute of every breastfeeding session which were spaced no more than every hour and a half even if he nursed for an hour. I rolled my eyes at every mention online that all breastfeeding hiccups and pain would cease after a few weeks, maybe a month. Lies. After blisters, raw skin and mastitis, I was ready to hit that smooth sailing, but it was nowhere in sight. On this particular night, I had the worst clogged duct I had ever had. Chris recognized how painful it was because he said, "You didn't even cry in childbirth." I was crying partly from the pain and partly from knowing that it would be recurring every hour and a half.

Hot showers, hot/cold showers warm compresses and massage while pumping didn't work. I was so engorged in the one duct that heat just didn't affect it, and my pump, as awesome as it is, just doesn't compare to a real, hungry baby's latch. I (stupidly) didn't want to call a lactation consultant. After perusing every dated mommy forum on the internet, I was convinced enough to bring up popping the milk blister with a needle to Chris since I read LuvMyBaby85 or whoever successfully did it. He shot that home remedy down for some reason. Back to the forums I went.

I searched every nook and cranny of every comment until I found something that did not involve sterilizing a needles The Parent Trap way (which I did once when I tried to pierce my best friend's ear freshman year ... how did it go? Well, she got them pierced professionally ... our senior year). Anyway, in between a comment calling for ricotta cheese and one for a grated potato (which very might well work!), I finally found a comment that lead me to my best weapon against clogged ducts in my nursing arsenal.

Nurse upside down.

It worked.

It works.

Oh, what sweet relief! I was so thankful the other day when, once again, it did the trick. 

If you need details, how to unclog a milk duct:

Place your baby on his or her back on a bed or on the floor. It helps to start out with this position when the baby is hungry and has an extra strong suck rather than switching to it in the middle of a feed. Position your baby so that when you are on all fours above the baby, his or her chin lines up to the clogged duct. Get on all fours and nurse. The gravity does wonders and the hungry baby's re-positioned and strong latch does the trick. 

How do you get rid of clogged ducts?