Breastfeeding Help: How to Avoid Infections Arising from Clogged Milk in Breast

By: - 10th May 2019
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Follow these instructions to avoid infections that could happen due to milk in the breasts getting clogged.

The first few days for any mum after giving birth is a very challenging period. Breastfeeding becomes a tedious task for many because of a lack of proper knowledge on how best to go about this. This could result in uncomfortable complications for the mum as well as the little baby. One such complication is milk clogging up in the breast.

After giving birth, many mum's tend to neglect the proper position they should maintain when feeding their little infant. This is one of the main reasons for clogging of breast milk. Other reasons include:

  • You're producing breast milk faster than it's getting expressed
  • Delayed breastfeeding
  • Improper latching of your baby to the breast
  • Infrequent breastfeeding
  • Shortening the time of feeding
Treatments to overcoming milk clogging

Removing the clogged milk inside your breast is absolutely essential. If this is not done, you could end up with infections, pus glands forming and a reduction in milk production. This is why you should try to breastfeed your little infant as frequently as possible. This is the best way to clear up milk that is produced in your breasts. In addition, make sure that you keep your child in a position where he or she can suckle from the nipple properly. Getting the assistance of other family members is also very beneficial as they can help build confidence of the mum to believe she can provide her little one with the milk they need.

Symptoms of clogged up ducts and breast inflammation.

When milk becomes clogged up in your breast, the milk ducts will get blocked resulting in your breasts becoming inflamed. The reason for the milk ducts becoming clogged up is that the milk is not cleared out. Once the parts that connect with the milk ducts become hardened, it will block the milk flow. A clogged duct can cause intense pain, resulting in reddening of the breasts. Normally, this will not end up in fever or other discomforts in your body. However, if the milk is not cleared up from the breast, this will result in inflammation in the breast tissues, a condition known as mastitis (breast inflammation). It can also be caused by a bacterial infection. This is a fast forming condition that requires medical advice.

The main causes of breast inflammation are:

  1. Weakening of milk production of the entire breast or part of it. This is due to infrequent feeding, poor success in feeding, the bra being too tight, pressing the breast with fingers while feeding, and increased size of the breast resulting in poor milk flow.
  2. Depression of being busy with work will have a direct impact on the number of times a mum might feed her baby. This can also lead to rushed feeding sessions.
  3. Damages caused to breast tissue.
  4. Injuries to the nipple, which could lead to bacterial infection.

Treatments for clogged up ducts

Do your best to increase the milk flow from your breast. If your little one is not latching properly, correct this behaviour. That will lessen the chances of wounds to your nipples. Also pay attention to the tightness of your dresses and clothes and avoid pressing your breast with your fingers. Increase the number of breastfeeding times, and make sure that you do not breastfeed if there is pus coming out. You could also use a warm cloth to message your nipples. Soak a cloth with warm water and let it rest on your breast.

If your little one is unable to drink from your breasts, you could use your hands or a breast milk pump to pump milk from your breasts. Sometimes using your hands to create the initial flow can soften your breasts making it easy for your little child to suck.

Instructions a mum should follow before breastfeeding or pumping milk that would help release oxytocin, which is a hormone that helps with breastfeeding.

  • Place a warm cloth on top of your breast.
  • Get a good neck or back rub.
  • Gently massage your breast.
  • Stimulate your breast and nipples.
  • Help mum be relaxed.
  • උWarm baths can help milk to flow from your breast, and soften the breast.

After feeding, place a clean cold cloth on the breast to help relieve pain and swelling and reduce inflammation. Further treatment is only necessary if the above symptoms are extreme, or if there are pains in the nipples even after increasing the milk flow, and conditions remain the same after 24 hours.

In this situation you could also take a paracetamol to reduce the pains and get sufficient rest. Depending on medical advice, antibiotics can be administered if needed. Do not avoid meeting a doctor out of feeling shame or fear, as this could lead to more severe complications.

An article by Krishanthi Ganga Kumara Hami a trained nurse (1st class) at Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Kurunegala Provincial Hospital.

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