Pumping, while also breastfeeding full-time, can feel cumbersome. Sometimes pumping mamas (who are also breastfeeding full-time) have to pump multiple times to get enough milk for one feeding. Knowing facts like this can help set expectations for yourself so that you’re able to feel empowered rather than frustrated.[Read more…] about 7 Tips to Pump More Milk
Every new mom with a brand new breast pump has this same experience. Imagine it: you’re opening your new pump for the first time. You’re excited and ready to give it a whirl. But wait. There are multiple sizes of flange! And what is a flange?!
A flange is a funnel-like piece that attaches your breast to the pump; sometimes, it is referred to as a breast shield. Your breast pump may come with one or two sizes of flanges for you to use. But how do you know which one to use, or if those are even the correct size for you? And does it matter what size flange you use?
Yes, it matters. Here is why.[Read more…] about Pumping: Are You Using the Right Flange Size?
You’re going to get mixed opinions on pumping milk, but I’m here to guide you through to make pumping the best possible experience. Whether you’re exclusively pumping or pumping to supplement meals here and there while you’re out, pumping is a great option. This post covers the why, when, and how often of pumping.[Read more…] about Pumping and Breastfeeding: Why, When, & How Often
Many women go back to work or school once maternity leave is over. Just because you’re going back to work doesn’t mean that you have to stop breastfeeding, though many do. In fact, 80% of mothers who return to work full-time wean before the end of the first month back to work. That said, you don’t need to stop if you don’t want to. This post will help you figure out how you can keep breastfeeding even after returning to work or school.[Read more…] about Breastfeeding and Returning to Work or School
Your breast has ducts, or ‘pipes,’ that carry breastmilk from the alveoli, grape-like structures that produce and store breastmilk, to your nipples during breastfeeding. It is common to experience a plugged milk duct during breastfeeding, especially if your breastfeeding technique needs improvement.
I’m going to walk you through the ins and outs of plugged milk ducts to help you know if you have a plugged milk duct, manage the pain of a plugged milk duct, and prevent future plugged ducts.
What are plugged milk ducts?
A plugged duct occurs when milk builds up within your milk duct. Plugged ducts happen because your breastmilk didn’t drain properly, and breastmilk began building up and created a blockage.
Other causes of plugged ducts can be wearing a tight-fitting bra or other tight clothing, a sudden decrease in breastfeeding, and engorgement. The most common cause of a plugged milk duct is a poor feeding technique where you do not empty your breast during a breastfeeding session, the baby doesn’t latch properly, or the baby’s position to your breast isn’t optimal.
Plugged milk ducts are common and also very preventable. Consulting with a lactation consultant or taking my Online Breastfeeding Basics Course will help you master your breastfeeding technique to manage and prevent plugged milk ducts.
How to tell if you have a plugged duct while breastfeeding
You might have a plugged duct from breastfeeding if you feel a painful area or lump in your breast. You may also see a white spot or obstruction on your nipple, a milk bleb. Most of the time, plugged milk ducts are not associated with a fever or other flu-like symptoms. If you have a fever, you may have Mastitis. Click here to read more about Mastitis.
How to manage plugged ducts while breastfeeding
Plugged milk ducts can be extremely painful, and you may want to slow or stop breastfeeding, but that is the last thing you should do. If you stop or slow breastfeeding, your breasts may become engorged, which will be more painful. The best way to get rid of a plugged milk duct is to remove the blockage and thoroughly drain the breast.
There are many ways to accomplish removing the blockage and draining your breast.
Use warm compresses or warm showers and massage your breast to remove the blockage. Massage your breast starting at the nipple and working your way toward the painful area (always massaging toward the nipple). This will help remove the blockage and drain your breast.
Vary your positions during a breastfeeding session, and try to position your baby’s chin near your breast’s most painful part. Doing these things will help remove the blockage and get breastmilk flowing again in that milk duct.
If you are able, hand expressing or pumping breastmilk after breastfeeding will help drain your breast and help manage your plugged milk duct.
Consult with your doctor about taking mild pain medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen to manage the pain if you have a plugged milk duct.
A plugged duct should usually only last about 48 hours. If you’re still experiencing pain after 48 hours, please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How to prevent plugged ducts
The best way to prevent a plugged milk duct is to work with a lactation specialist on your breastfeeding technique. In my Breastfeeding Basics Online Course, I cover different breastfeeding positions and latch techniques to help you breastfeed with confidence. Take the class today and start your breastfeeding journey on the right track.
If you find that you get plugged milk ducts frequently, then taking a supplement called Sunflower Lecithin can help prevent future plugged ducts. Sunflower Lecithin can help decrease the “stickiness” of the fat in your milk and help so that it does not stick to your milk ducts’. Start by taking 3600-4800 mg of Sunflower Lecithin daily, or 1 capsule 3-4 times a day. After 2 weeks of no plugged milk ducts, you can decrease the dosage by one capsule daily. Repeat this process until you are taking one capsule daily to prevent plugged milk ducts.
If you have any questions or concerns about plugged ducts, mastitis, or breastfeeding, schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with me today.
Breastfeeding is not always all snuggles and full bellies – sometimes, there are difficulties and complications. Mastitis is one of the possible complications of breastfeeding. Mastitis occurs in about 2-10% of breastfeeding women but is no cause for alarm. If you have mastitis, you are not alone! Let’s go over what mastitis is, how to manage mastitis, and how to prevent mastitis!
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast, most commonly referred to as an infection of the breast. Symptoms of mastitis include the following:
- Breast pain
- Body aches
It’s important to note that mastitis can happen at any point during your breastfeeding journey, but most of the time, mastitis occurs during the 6 weeks after you deliver your baby.
What Causes Mastitis?
The following problems can cause mastitis:
- Oversupply of breastmilk
- Damaged nipples
- Infrequent feedings
- Rapid weaning
- Shallow latch
- Illness in baby or mom
- Plugged milk duct
- Pressure on the breast (tight bra and/or clothing or seatbelt)
Many of these problems are caused by breast engorgement for too long or ineffective milk removal.
I want to take a moment and remind you that getting mastitis is perfectly normal – you didn’t do anything wrong if you get mastitis. There are great ways to manage your pain, heal your body, and prevent mastitis from happening in the future.
How to Manage Mastitis Pain
You might have mastitis if you have a fever over 101 ̊F, your breasts are firm, red, and tender, and if you have muscle aches and pains similar to flu-symptoms.
Please see your doctor immediately if you start showing these symptoms. They can provide a specific treatment plan for you. Most often, this will include treatment with an antibiotic.
At-home remedies for mastitis are available! You can take mild pain relievers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen after consulting your doctor.
The most important thing to do to manage mastitis pain is to keep breastfeeding and help your breasts drain the breastmilk properly. Apply a hot compress and do breast massage before breastfeeding or pumping. You can then apply cold compresses after feeding or pumping to reduce inflammation. Be sure to consult with a lactation consultant if you feel your feeding techniques need more attention.
How to Prevent Mastitis
Studies have shown that taking a probiotic during the late stages of pregnancy may lower the chance of getting mastitis. Another simple way to prevent mastitis is to work on your breastfeeding technique to drain your breastmilk each feeding session. Contact an IBCLC for an assessment of your mastitis. They can help you discover your mastitis cause, give ideas of things to fix those problems, and work with you and your healthcare provider to help you recover quickly from mastitis.
Schedule an Online Consultation
If you’re concerned about mastitis, sign up for an online consultation with me. I can help you 1:1 go over breastfeeding techniques that will help you prevent mastitis pain.
As an RN, an IBCLC, and a mama of 3, I’ve been where you are. I’ll be your new “breast” friend!