Clogs and 5 Tips to Get Rid of Them

You’re nursing.. you feel that bump in your breast, or that fullness that won’t go away as the baby eats.

Or your at work, and feel an aching in the side or center of your chest.  You move your hand to the area, frightened to what you might find.

You feel it.

It’s tender.

It’s hard.

It might be.. RED..

You can tell…

You have a dreaded, no good, very bad CLOG…

But, not to worry!  Below are five tips and tricks that will help it get gone fast, and BELIEVE me, you do NOT want that puppy sitting there!

5 Tips to Evacuate a Clog, and FAST!

1.  Massage

First, tip is to massage the area right away when you first feel it.  You’re probably touching it anyway when you discover it, so just keep touching it.  Harder, and deeper into the tissue starting from the outside of your breast leading to the nipple going over the clog.  Stay firm for a second when you reach the clog and then go over it, again and again.  If you start to leak, that’s a good thing.  Get a bottle if you have one on hand or just a tissue for the moment until you can get to your baby or a pump to really get busy working it out.

2.  Hot Shower

Get into a hot shower and let it heat your back and your breast where the clog resides.  Then massage it at the same time starting from the outside working your way toward the nipple.  Then hand express until you feel comfortable, and there isn’t a lump anymore.

3.  Bowl of Hot Water

Not lukewarm water, HOT.  As hot as you can stand it.  Then get a stool so you can stand over the bowl and submerge your breast (a comical sight for any bystanders).  Massage and hand express until you feel it release or start to feel smooth again.

When I’ve had a really stubborn clog this was a go-to for me.  Always worked like a charm.

4.  Boob Tubes

These Boob Tubes have done wonders for me and I’ve even kept one in my briefcase in case I feel a clog coming on at work.  I’ve kept it in a sock just to keep it clean and I’ll warm it up and put it in my bra against the clog.  I’ll leave it there and go about my business until it starts to feel cool.  Then I’ll massage it, nurse or pump to release the clog.  Heating the clog beforehand helps it melt before trying to move it.

5.  Dangle Nursing

Place your baby on the floor or bed and get on all fours and let the baby nurse while your breast dangles.  Gravity helps and will assist in the release of the clog while the baby nurses.

Additional Thoughts

Dangle Nursing Cautions:

Some things to keep in mind though for dangle nursing.  If you’re a momma with very large breasts, be careful and I don’t recommend this for babies that cannot move their heads yet, or have neck control.

Pumping… Maybe

If you are looking to wean and are trying to purposefully reduce your supply, its very possible that you’ll get a clog.  If you are one of those moms, don’t do this.  The goal is to reduce your supply, and you only want to hand express to comfort, NOT empty your breast, thereby ordering your supply to INCREASE.

BUT if you are a nursing mom and you’ve simply skipped or are late for your pumping session, pump and massage while you’re pumping so you can break loose the clog and empty your breast as you would have normally.

Distracted Baby

Perhaps you have a clog because your little one is distracted all the time and they just haven’t been interested in nursing because, “OMG there’s a light over there!! Do you see it, Mom, do you see it!?  Nurse? HECK NO, there’s a LIGHT!!!”

Distracted babies will sometimes do this and while it’s oh, so cute, we are sitting here like, “Dude, I’m full of milk, just DRINK it, would you!?” And then they don’t and then you’re sitting there with a clog.

Try to find a dark room and nurse to lessen distractions or if they’re just NOT having it, pump or hand express for comfort.

Residual Pain

Even after you’ve released your clog it is completely normal for it to feel bruised for about 3-4 day’s. So don’t worry too much if after you’re done getting the clog out you feel sore for a few days. You should feel back to normal soon.

Prevention is Key

Believe me, I know a clog can come out of no where, as I’ve had my fair share.  But here are some things that can help prevent them, hopefully..

Daily Check-In

At the end of each day, regardless if you think you have a clog, just give each breast a massage in the shower.  Deep in the tissue all around your breast.  This should be done for everyone women at least monthly for breast cancer prevention as well, but for us nursing moms its a good idea to do it daily.  Just a quick feel to see if there are any bumps and if there are, massage them out.  If you haven’t noticed them, it’s likely they’ll be very easy to release quickly.

No Underwire Bras.. EVER

At least for me these were a guarantee that I’d get a clog right where the underwire sat in my armpit and at the end of the wire in the center of my chest.

Loose Fitting Clothes

Especially in the early days before regulation (around 4 months) you’ll benefit from always wearing loose fitting clothing and going bra-less if you can.  I know sometimes you’ll need nursing pads for leakage and that’s fine.  I recommend the loosest bras you can find to keep them in place.  Some other nursing fashion tips can be found here.

Get to the Root of the Problem

If you are struggling with clogs on the regular, you need to figure out what exactly is going on.  Read this if you’re having chronic clogs and get to see a lactation consultant right away.

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