Clogged milk ducts are a massive pain in the boob, literally and figuratively. They wreak utter havoc on nursing moms who already have enough havoc in their lives. If you are currently experiencing this misery, fear not. We have many resources to help you unclog your milk duct. Today we want to talk about a slightly unconventional method: having your husband unclog your milk duct. Yes, you read that right. Please keep reading, dear mama.
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Signs of a Clogged Milk Duct
If you have read our articles on 12 Methods to Treat a Clogged Milk Duct Fast, Compress & Massage for Clogged Milk Ducts, or Clogged Milk Duct Popping: Advice from Real Moms, you know the signs and symptoms of this ailment:
- Tender, hard lump
- Pain when nursing
- Redness at the site of the clog
- Breast may be warm to the touch
Causes of a Clogged Milk Duct
Plugged milk ducts can occur for a number of different reasons. Most of these are very normal parts of life for nursing mothers:
- Not emptying the breast during a breastfeeding or pump session
- Incorrect or inefficient latch
- Overproduction of milk
- Waiting too long to express milk
- Bra or clothing that is too tight on the breast
- Sleeping on stomach or side
- Incorrect flange size when pumping
- Backpack, purse, seat belt, or anything that causes compression on the breast
- Incorrect positioning from wearing baby in a carrier
- Weaning baby from breastfeeding
Most clogged milk ducts will resolve on their own within 24-48 hours if you continue to breastfeed and/or pump like normal. However, some clogs do need help being cleared. It’s important to address these clogs before they turn into mastitis, a breast infection that requires antibiotics.
Related article: Everything You Need to Know When Breastfeeding While Sick
Can My Husband Unclog My Milk Duct?
While there are several ways to treat a clogged milk duct, one of the lesser mentioned ways is having your husband or partner provide stronger suction. In most cases, your baby’s normal suction is enough to release a clogged milk duct. But when it’s not enough, and you have tried other methods like massage and warm compress, you can have your husband help out.
The best method to have your husband unclog your milk duct is to simulate dangle feeding:
- Have your husband lie on your bed or the ground.
- Place yourself on all fours and dangle your breast into his mouth.
- Have him suck on your breast while you massage near and around the clogged milk duct.
- Instruct your husband to start sucking softly and gradually increase the intensity and frequency until the suction is slightly stronger than your breast pump (or baby).
- Do this for 1 minute on, 1 minute off. Repeat 3 times.
You may notice an immediate release of the clogged milk duct. However, you may not notice a change until later. Your husband may have unclogged the milk duct partially. This means it may take a few hours to fully resolve.
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Other Treatment Options
You can also combine this method of your husband unclogging a milk duct with other tried and true approaches. Try doing the below approaches simultaneously as having your husband help:
- Hold a warm compress over your breast.
- Use a massager around the clogged milk duct. We like this lactation massager.
- If your shower head is detachable, stand in the shower and press the shower head against the clogged milk duct.
- Read plenty of more tips we have gathered over the years in this article.
If you do incorporate massage while having your husband help unclog a milk duct, make sure to always massage toward your nipple. You want to encourage the backed up milk to flow out of your body. Use your thumb to massage around the clogged milk duct in small circles while moving toward your nipple.
If you’re still having pain after trying this, check out our article on the 10 Most Common Reasons (& Remedies) for Breastfeeding Pain. There might be another issue causing your pain.
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If you are experiencing plugged milk ducts frequently, you may also consider taking sunflower lecithin. Sunflower lecithin can help emulsify the fat in your breast milk. This will make it easier for milk to flow out of your breasts–not get clogged in transit!
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