Are you a mom suffering from a clogged duct that just doesn’t seem to want to clear? Or have you been suffering every few weeks with multiple clogs? Have you tried nursing or pumping and they just don’t seem to be going away?
You are in good company. About two thirds of moms get clogs and I have suffered from them too!
I almost cancelled Thanksgiving because of the excruciating pain. Clogged ducts can get so painful that you don’t even want to wear clothes (let alone a bra) or even move. And how are you expected to get anything else done, while also caring for your little bundle of joy?
Believe it or not, there is a way to help reduce and completely clear clogged milk ducts within 3 days or less. In this post, I’m going to share that method with you, plus a few essential tips that have dramatically helped as well.
- How to Double Your Milk Supply in 2 Days
- How to Avoid Nursing Neck Pain
- How to Have Amazing Sleep with a Breastfed Baby
Therapeutic Ultrasound for Clogged Ducts
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
You’re probably wondering why your OB/GYN hasn’t told you the magic secret yet. That’s because most don’t know it exists. This makes me very sad because it’s such a wonderful treatment for struggling nursing moms.
The big secret is a therapeutic ultrasound, which is a very safe and gentle way to deliver deep heat to a clogged milk duct and open up all the surrounding tissue so milk can flow.
To understand why the therapeutic ultrasound is so effective, let’s take a look at the cause of clogged milk ducts.
There are two thoughts on why clogs happen: One is that the breast tissue surrounding the duct gets inflamed and restricts the opening of that duct, preventing milk from coming through. The other is that the milk becomes sticky and coagulates, making it harder to get through the ducts.
While we don’t completely understand why either of these happen, I have put together a list of things that I tell my patients to try to help clear the clogged ducts along with therapeutic ultrasound.
As a perinatal chiropractor, here are my top 5 tips:
How to Clear a Clogged Milk Duct: 7 More Tips You Need to Know!
1 Warm Compresses
Maybe you have already tried warm compresses and vibration, but this is usually a good place to start when you feel a clog coming on.
Heating packs or warm compresses are great to get smaller clogs, or more superficial clogs, loosened up. Limit the time to 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
Vibration is great to help break up the clog and get things moving. Use the bottom end of your electric toothbrush, and while it is on, place it over the clog as long as you can stand.
Erin from Blunders in Babyland here. I love Dr. Elise’s suggestion here. The electric toothbrush works like a charm! Personally, I think the oscillating motion of this toothbrush is better than a circular motion.
3 Dangle feeding
Change up your nursing position. Place baby on the floor or on your bed, while you are on all fours and dangle your breast to feed or pump. The extra help with gravity can make a difference in effectiveness.
4 Water Baths/Pumping
Water baths are also a great way to soak your clogged breast. Fill up a container or the sink with hot water (as hot as you can stand it) and gently place your breast in to soak until the water is cold.
Follow that with a pump or nursing session.
5 Eat Sunflower Lecithin
Sunflower lecithin is a wonderful addition to help thin your breast milk and prevent any clumping during milk production. It does not decrease the nutritional value, it merely makes the milk less sticky, so clogs are less likely to form. Like I mentioned above, sticky milk can be a reason clogs develop.
For moms who are currently suffering from a clog, I always recommend increasing the dose of sunflower lecithin during an active clog and then returning to the recommended dose when the clog has cleared.
6 Therapeutic Ultrasound
We mentioned therapeutic ultrasounds before, but now let’s take a deeper look.
For those extra stubborn clogs, or the ones that are getting bigger, this is a fantastic way to get relief. Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to deliver deep heat to the source of the clog. It reaches deeper than any topical heat can. That heat is breaking the clog up, allowing the milk to flow again and keeping those tissues nice and happy.
Clogs typically clear within 48 hours or with 2-3 treatments. Your milk supply will not be changed or affected by the ultrasound. It is perfectly safe for you and baby.
It is important to nurse or pump as soon after a treatment as you can to help get things moving. Check out your local chiropractor or physical therapist to see if they offer this service.
We all know sleep is a magical thing, and while you are probably saying “yeah right, I can’t get sleep,” hear me out.
Sleep is the time your body is healing, and while you are dealing with lots of new mom struggles, your body is also trying to combat a clog and not let it turn into mastitis.
So, for one or two nights, I highly recommend you ask for help from your partner and get some sleep. Let your body use the tools it has, while all other functions get a rest, to focus on healing your breast.
The most common comment I receive after giving a mom an ultrasound treatment is that after a good night sleep they wake up with no clog. We want that for you too!
How to Clear a Clogged Milk Duct Quickly: Conclusion
Hopefully now you have a few more tips in your tool box to help you clear that clogged milk duct quickly, or to save for the next time. To the moms who are reading this now in desperation because nothing else has worked, I hope you find hope in knowing there is one more way to help your stubborn clog.
If you are not located in the Bay Area of California to get care from me, Dr. Elise Hamilton D.C., then send me an email so I can help you find one in your area.
A therapeutic ultrasound, while it is widely unknown to treat clogged ducts, is an extremely gentle, safe, and efficient way to clear your stubborn clogs! Your OB may not even know about it, so check with a lactation consultant, doula, or midwife, and of course you can always reach out to me!
Did these tips help you relieve a clogged milk duct? Let us know in the comments below!