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blocked duct | clogged duct | plugged duct

How do you clear a blocked duct?

What does massage mean when dealing with blocked ducts? Just unblock it with massage is all you read. You’ve all seen it before and even on our most trusted websites!

But can you imagine trying to work through your tissues with just that one line of advice? Recipe books gives you more guidance than that. One line of advice is not enough to help you clear out blocked ducts when we know you have so many questions.

So let’s break it down so we actually know what to do when you hear the word “massage”.

Where am I massaging a blocked duct? 

With blocked ducts you’ll be able to feel some areas of congestion in your breast. These spots might have some lumps that you can feel, or even just some resistance under your fingers. (Not sure? Have a feel and compare to your other breast) These spots of congestion are where you are going to massage from the side that’s closest to the nipple. Think about it as melting down

Why am I massaging the blockage?

Our aim in the gently break down and move any congestion that is preventing milk flow.

What direction am I massaging my breast?

We know that aim is to move milk with blocked ducts, so that means our massage will be directed toward the nipple.

How hard does the breast massage need to be?

Please be gentle! Breast tissue and muscle tissue are not the same. We are working with fluid that is quite close to the surface so our pressure can be light. Imagine you’re moving milk through a snap lock bag… that’s the pressure you need! We just need to move milk through the anatomy it’s designed to go through.  

If I massage a blocked duct harder, will it clear quicker?

No pain is NOT no gain, in fact it can actually bruise our breast tissue. This can bring in more swelling to the area, making things more painful than it needs to be. Be patient and gentle when you work through these tissues. 

How often do I need to do it?

Getting change through our breast tissue takes consistency and patience. We ask that you work through keeping your tissues moving around 4 times a day while you feel the congestion.

But why does this keep happening?

Many factors put the breast at an increased likelihood of developing congestion. Commonly it can be insufficient emptying of the breast but sometimes there’s other factors that contribute to reoccurring cases. This is when we start to look at the condition and mobility of the entire breast to investigate other areas of tension and underlying causes.

Are there other tissues I can be working on?

YES! Imagine you’re wearing a tight t-shirt or pair of jeans- you cant move very well in them can you? That goes the same with tight and restrictive chest tissue. We incorporate the entire chest wall into our hands on techniques to mobilise any tissue restriction that may be inhibiting milk flow.

What else can I try?

We recommend a number of options in clinic which include:

  • heat – to melt the blockage before massage
  • vibration device – jiggle the tissue
  • continue feeding off the breast, or pumping off the breast (especially straight away massage, vibration and/or heat)

Consider ‘priming the area’ where the blockage is before you feed or massage.

Read this post of a lady we treated in clinic “Does this blocked duct story sound like you?”

Can a blocked duct lead to mastitis?

Yes it can. When the milk stops flow due to the clog or plug in the duct, the pressure of fluid can build in the breast and seep into the surrounding breast tissue. This ‘seep’ of milk will result in an inflammatory reaction in the breast which is mastitis. So it is very important to clear the blockage but continue to treat the breast gently and frequently.

 

Our clinic is in Melbourne Australia where we treat women experiencing mastitis. You can book in via the button below or call 9859 5059.

However, if you are elsewhere in the world we have our online strategies in video Masterclasses on the website of our sister company Your Two Jugs. Click the logo to go straight to the Your Two Jugs website to check it out.

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