Various methods are discussed in the state of the art for removal and management of the clogged milk ducts. Breast pumping is one of the methods through which a milk duct clog can be removed and prevented from recurrence.
Will Pumping Help Unclog Milk Duct?
To unclog the milk ducts, pumping is one of the most effective methods which can be done through simple techniques. The effective breast pumping depends upon the following factors:
High Quality Breast Pump: The breast pump along with the collector should be of high quality so that the maximum amount of milk can be drained with minimum efforts.
Sufficient Time: The women should have patience as for the initial few minutes the milk will not flow down. Further, the pumping should be done for suitable time to ensure the complete milk removal.
The position of pumping kit attached to the breast should be such that the nipples should be pointed towards the floor. This will help in maximizing the milk flow. The breast pumping should be done through massaging and compression simultaneously. The steps of breast pumping consist of the following steps:
- Apply a little quantity of oil such as olive oil on the fingers and massage the breasts in a circular motion.
- Massaging and compression should be done simultaneously.
- As the milk flow increases, the frequency of compression should be increased as compared to massaging.
- For complete removal of the clog, compression can be done from the breasts towards the armpit or from the breasts towards the middle of the chest.
Reasons For Milk Duct Clogging
There are various reasons associated with milk duct clogging. The clothing is developed in the milk ducts when the milk does not properly flow from the alveoli to the nipples and get stuck in the milk ducts. The clogged milk ducts should be removed as early as possible to prevent the development of mastitis, a type of breast infection, and breast abscess. Following are the reasons for clogging of milk ducts:
- Weaning: Weaning is the process through which the baby gets shifted from the only-milk diet to the solid diet. This leads to the mismatch in demand and supply i.e. the milk produced in the breast does not flow through the nipples leading to breast engorgement, which may develop into clogging of milk ducts.
- Change In Feeding Schedule: When the baby changes the feeding schedule, the milk so produced in the alveoli remains in the ducts for a longer period which may lead to clogging of ducts. Thus, either the breast pump should be used, or the feeding should be rescheduled according to milk synthesis.
- Feeding In The Same Position: There are various milk ducts present in the breasts which supplies the milk from the alveoli to the nipples for breastfeeding. Storage of milk in any of the milk duct may lead to clogging of ducts. Thus, the feeding position should be frequently changed to remove milk from all the ducts.
- Tight Fitting Clothes: The tight fitting clothes compress the milk ducts of the breasts and reduce the flow of milk. Thus, tight fitting clothes should be avoided to maintain the flow of milk through the milk ducts.
- Breast Trauma: Sometimes the breast is compressed to provide the baby with sufficient air. This may lead to breast trauma and increase the risk of developing a clog.
- Insufficient Application Of Breast Pump: Breast pump are generally used to remove the excess milk from the breast. Application with improper technique and insufficient time may lead to the development of clog.
- Fatigue And Stress: The milk is ejected from the alveoli to the nipples through milk ducts with the help of muscular contraction. Fatigue reduces the contractile power of the muscles which reduces the flow of milk and may lead to the development of clothing.
It is possible to remove the clogged milk duct with the help of breast pumping provided a proper technique and high quality breast pump is used along with sufficient time for pumping.