A clogged milk duct is painful, and can led to infection or mastitis. Here is a natural, DIY treatment for a blocked milk duct that worked for me.
A blocked or “clogged milk duct” is painful, and can led to infection or mastitis.
Fortunately, there are a number of DIY, natural remedies that are very effective at treating a clogged milk duct.
Natural Treatment for a Clogged Milk Duct
1. Take a hot shower
Take a hot shower and massage breast tissue. Let the water stream flow over your breast, and use your fingertips to apply firm pressure over the clogged duct. You can also use a lactation massager to help dislodge stubborn clogs. Mamas are raving over these massagers because they are waterproof so you can use them in a warm shower:
2. Make a lavender tea tincture
Take 4 Lavender tea bags and put into 2 cups of hot water. Let sit covered for 10-15 minutes. Soak a wash cloth or paper towel in tea mixture and apply the wet cloth to breasts. (You can also apply the used tea bags to breast tissue.) Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have Lavender tea, you can use real aloe vera instead.
3. Apply coconut oil
Massage this coconut oil around the entire breast, up into the arm pit, with a special focus on the clogged duct area. You can also apply to any cracked nipples. When I did this, the tissue instantly softened a bit, but, more importantly, the pain let up.
4. Use potatoes
Apply coconut oil (see above) and then place thinly sliced organic potatoes to the breast with the clogged duct. Place them all around the breast, and put on a bra to hold the potato slices in place. (You can also “grate” the potatoes.) Place on breast and cover with a clean cloth. I know this sounds weird, but trust me on this one. Leave on for at least 1 hour. Replace with fresh potatoes as needed.
5. Nurse using this technique
Lay baby on a blanket on the floor or bed. Get on your hands and knees above baby (bridge pose), and gently drop to your elbows. Let her nurse with your breast hanging down directly into her mouth. This position has gravity working for you. Try to point baby’s chin to the clogged duct, as this has the greatest force.
6. Try sunflower lecithin
Consume sunflower lecithin, from a non-GMO source, as directed on the bottle. This can thin the milk and help prevent “stickiness” which can cause clogged ducts in the first place. Some moms continue to take this supplement as a preventative step. It’s good for brain function, which may help with mamas
7. Try phytolacca
Take phytolacca as directed on bottle. This homeopathic remedy stimulates the lymph system and can help to fight inflammation and infection.
8. Eat garlic
Eat 1 raw garlic clove mashed every two hours until pain is gone. I find it doesn’t taste as bad if I add a little raw honey and water and choke it down that way. This can help ward off mastitis.
9. Drink pineapple juice
Drink 1 cup of pineapple juice daily (not from concentrate). The bromelain in pineapple helps to reduce inflammation and the chance for clogged ducts. Kelsey, a reader below, swears by it!
10. Try gua sha
Studies suggest, when coupled with proper breastfeeding techniques, this ancient form of massage is more effective at reducing engorgement and discomfort in the immediate postpartum period than massage and hot packs.
11. Take probiotics
Research shows that probiotics, specifically L. fermentum or L. salivarius strains, are good alternatives to antibiotics to treat mastitis and may help prevent it as well. The study found that these strains of probiotics reduced bacterial count in mom’s breastmilk more efficiently than antibiotics did and reoccurrence of mastitis happened less in the probiotic groups than the antibiotic group.
12. Try homeopathic remedies
Joette Calabrese, a homeopathic master clinician, offers these homeopathic solutions for treating clogged ducts.
Here’s What Worked for Me
Once Paloma hit three and half months, she started waking up again in the middle of the night. Bummer.
But, she surprised me a few weeks back and gave me one glorious night of sleep. She didn’t wake up for nine hours straight. Glorious! I woke up very happy. But my boobs did not. They were engorged, hot, and hurting.
I nursed Paloma as soon as she woke, but my right breast would not soften no matter how many times I put her to it.
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I Checked Myself and Felt the Dreaded Clogged Milk Duct “Knot”
Although I hadn’t had one before, I knew it was a clogged duct. And I knew that I needed to act fast before the blocked breast duct led to infection or mastitis.
I Ran Up to the Bathroom and Took a Long, Hot Shower
I kept my breast under the stream of water and massaged it. No luck.
Then I Tried Breastfeeding Again
But I could tell my baby wasn’t getting much milk. She wasn’t able to get rid of the clogged milk duct.
I Started to Panic a Bit
My breast was starting to hurt and feel hot. Out of desperation, I started to massage the area with coconut oil. And that was the beginning of my DIY natural remedy for a blocked or clogged milk duct.
After trying 1 through 4, the clogged milk duct in my breast went away. The additional ideas will further prevent a clogged milk duct, and hopefully eliminate any potential for infection. If you develop a fever and chills, consult with your health care provider immediately. Infections can be serious for you and baby.
Have You Ever Had a Clogged Milk Duct?
How did you treat it? Share with us in the comments below so we can help other mamas who struggle with clogged ducts or mastitis.