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Nobody told me about mastitis or clogged ducts

Nobody told me about mastitis or clogged ducts

I never read the baby books all the way through. I probably should have but I just never got around to it. I think I didn't want to accept or know what was coming at the end of the third trimester or after...

 

When I had my son (back in 2015), I didn't know what to expect when it came to breastfeeding (you can read my post about that here). Anyways, I remember one day having to go home from work because I had a really high fever. I had no clue that breastfeeding was part of the reason - I had mastitis. I was a teacher at the time and going back to work made it tricky to pump as often as Kalei ate and instead of pumping every 3-4 hours I pumped once a day at work and once on my way home. Engorgement led to a clogged duct which led to an infection. I had no clue what a clogged milk duct was or mastitis so you can imagine how surprised I was! Thankfully a round of antibiotics helped to clear it!

 

Here I am, baby #4 and I could feel it coming on. I had felt engorged for a few days (but I have a newborn and he was also going through a growth spurt - bring on the cluster feeding) and I didn't think much about the pain I felt in a particular spot - I thought it was caused by my bra being too tight. I ignored it and woke up one morning with body aches and feeling really tired but again, I have a newborn so must be the fact that I'm on #teamnosleep. But when the chills hit I put two and two together and realized that pain was probably the start of a clog and it was causing the other symptoms! I try to avoid Dr. Google (you can go down the rabbit hole real quick) so I did what I remembered, I tried to nurse the baby often (I exclusively breastfeed), massage my breast, wear looser clothing to avoid compression, and massage the sore area to try to break up the clog.

 

Fast forward, after asking on IG for other tips other mamas use to try to avoid taking antibiotics or preventing mastitis, I added heat therapy every couple of hours and taking a warm shower and hand expression. Thankfully I was able to break the clog up after a couple of days! 

 

I did get a bunch of helpful tips and I wanted to share them with you in the event you suffer the same pain at some point in your breastfeeding or weaning journey. 

 

Recommendations of Home Remedies for Clogged Ducts or Mastitis

*Mahalo to all of the responses from our community on Instagram.  The suggestions listed below is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

  • Hot shower while massaging, and icing in between.

  • I would put either warm or cold compress (I think warm but can’t remember exactly). Then when I pumped and I just try to squeeze, massage, push it out. Sometimes you could tell when pumping when it got unclogged.

  • I used a hand held pump and it took that clog right out!!!

  • It really does help, I used my (electric) toothbrush when I would get clogs. Try running hot water over breast with toothbrush vibration on the clog in circular motions

  • Heat and gravity. With (baby) I got on all 4s. I don't know if it worked but that's what I was told to try. Felt super weird.

  • Ouch! What always worked for me was to take a hot hot shower and squeeze as hard as I could stand at the sore spot to release the pressure. 100% made myself cry from the pain but it unclogged the duct…once it was clogged like that nursing wasn’t enough pressure to release it.

  • For mastitis, a helpful massage technique is to massage the outer sides of the breasts in long strokes up towards the lymph nodes in the axilla (arm pit) and massage the inner sides of the breasts toward the lymph nodes in the center of the chest.

  • Warm compress or run the warm shower over it while massaging. 

  • If you can soak your boobies in warm water but with multiple keiki I know it very difficult to find a moment to yourself but if u fill up socks with rice and then microwave them you can used them as little heating pads and stuff them in your bra

  • I had a clogged duct and thought it was the beginning of mastitis. I went to see a lactation consultant and they made mr put baby in football hold (clogged duct was in the inner side of my boob - middle of chest area) and while he was eating, I’d massage it out. He cleared it out quick! I currently have another clogged duct since yesterday and have been feeding my boy every two hours in football hold and putting warm compress while feeding him/before feeding him. It’s gotten better but needs more work. This is the part about breastfeeding that no one warned me about 😂 makes me want to give up, but I’m gonna keep going....My clogged duct is in the middle/under my left boob this time around. Football hold seems to be helping a bit. I also took like four showers yesterday in hot water and massaged it out as much as I could.

  • when it got really bad I pumped on all fours and it was almost instant relief

  • Feed on that side only and warm packs! Pumping helps too.

  • I had mastitis 3x this year. Made my own warm compress with a sock, uncooked rice, tie up sock by knotting at the end. Zap in microwave for 30 seconds. Press & massage on sore breast/lump as often as needed or until you feel lump is gone. Extra strength Tylenol for pain. My dr said only extra strength Tylenol while breastfeeding. Worked every single time. Never had to go on antibiotic.

  • Just gotta massage & press that lump out.

  • Massage sore side in shower w water running on it and try to get it to release. Massage has hard at tolerable trying to express milk

  • Warm compresses! And alternate the ibu with Tylenol if needed! If you still are achy/feverish - you may need antibiotics bu. I also found it better to pump on that side and massage cuz better suction app around! Totally no fun! 

  • Heat compress works wonders! I did massage in the shower cause was hot in there and the soap helped lubricate.

  • Try warm compress before feeding, or run hot water in shower before feeding and dangle feed hanging over baby

  • I went to a lactation specialist for Breast massage. I was a first time mom and I wish I didn’t wait till it hurt so much. I also used haakaa pump with warm salt water to try and bust the clog. I did all the home remedy stuff but massage helped me!

  • Try warm compress before feeding, or run hot water in shower before feeding and dangle feed hanging over baby

  • Hot showers (as hot as you can stand it) and my husband would help massage it out because the pain would make me hold back on actually pushing down hard enough to break it up.

  • When nursing make sure baby's chin is facing in the direction of the clog it will effectively break it up as well. Sometimes that can be awkward positioning but it works!

  • I’ve heard that if you lay baby on his back and get on all fours above him and nurse with your breast dangling above him that it could possibly help pull the clog out. I’ve never had mastitis so I’ve never tried it, but I heard it works. Worth a shot?

  • If u can manage, use either a breast pump or a device like a haakaa on the other breast while breastfeeding (on the opposite side) and massaging the clogged duct when u have ur let downs.  Use a warm compress/soak breast in warm water for a few minutes before feeding/pumping.

  • Hot compress directly on boob. Hot showers. Work w gravity..... Get on all fours and hand expel.

  • Warm washcloths over the duct to help loosen the clot.

 

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