Clogged Ducts/Mastitis Tips and Tricks for Comfortable Nursing and Pumping

5 minute read

Clogged ducts can really be a pain. These are some tips and tricks we've collected along the way. Please note this is NOT medical advice and it is important to alert a Dr. and/or LC of any clog issues.Product recommendations linked.


How to help AVOID Clogged Ducts and Mastitis

Overall Body/Mind

  • HYDRATION - You lose a lot of water while breast feeding/pumping

  • REST - it's tempting to do all the things, but your body is working so hard and needs time to rest

  • RELAXATION/SLEEP - there is such thing as stress induced mastitis. I know it's hard to relax in the early weeks, but be mindful. Recommending more sleep is a joke, but try to nap when you can.

  • DIET - make sure you're eating enough healthy fruits, veggies, proteins. PS a when I went to the Physical Therapist to help treat my mastitis she said t AVOID red meat because it can trigger inflammation. If that logic is used, I would say to avoid any inflammatory foods (caffeine, wine, red meat, etc)

  • SLEEP POSITION - try to avoid sleeping on one side too much as the gravity can restrict flow

  • Restrictive Bras or Baby Wearing - Watch out for anything the cuts off flow or circulation. I barely wore bras anyway haha but just keep an eye out



  • MASSAGE - before BF or Pumping make sure to massage your boobs! This helps stimulate milk flow and makes it easier to come out.

  • La Vie Boob Massager - I used this every time. The vibration keeps things moving and flowing

  • HEAT - another trick to help stimulate let down and help the milk flow is using heat packs BEFORE and DURING pumping.

  • Booby Tube Heat Packs

  • ICE - after pumping you can ice your boobs to help REDUCE engorgement. I literally just use a packet of old frozen breast milk, works fine. I DON'T recommend the Lansinoh Ice packs.

  • AVOID GETTING ENGORGED - when your boobs start to feel hard, you need to nurse or pump. Getting to the rock hard state is when the milk is overly full and leds to swelling and inflammation. If you are pumping, be VERY consistent. If you are nursing, make sure baby is draining your boob.

  • PROPER DRAINING - make sure baby is properly draining your boob. Watch for suck, suck, swallow. If the babies not swallowing, they could just be using your nipple as a pacifiier. You'll feel the difference though.

  • FLANGES AND FLANGE SIZE - check that your flanges are the right size. Don't just assume the ones you get are the right size. I switched to Pumpin Pal flanges and it helped.

  • Pumpin Pals - they conform more nicely to your boob and you can lean back as they angle down

  • Beaugen Cushions - I never got these but the Spectra consultant recommended as they fit into flanges 21mm-28mm and reduce flange size by 2mm

  • Horigen Chicture Pump - NEVER tried this but it looks cool, the silicone is supposed to mimic suck, squeeze, release - like a baby

  • ARM CIRCLES - Do arm circles every so often to avoid stagnation

You Have Clogged Ducts or Mastitis, Now What

These are some tricks I've gathered along the way

  • Legendairy Sunflower Lecithin Supplements - this supplement helps make fatty milk more slippery and able to flow through your ducts better. A friend told me to put some of your pumped milk in the fridge and check out the fat/water separation. The fattier the milk, the more clogged you may get. When I feel a clog I take 3-4 of these a day. It says on the bottle you can take 1 per day for maintenance but I only use them when I feel a clog.

  • Castor Oil Packs - I never ended up doing this, but a PT recommended this to me. You can make them at home and look up how

  • Hot Shower - Getting in a hot shower (warmth and moist is important) and massaging your boob starting from the nipple using circular motions and moving back is extremely helpful. After lots of massaging, hand express forward.

  • Wide Tooth Comb - You can try to COMB out the clog with a wide tooth comb. I recommend doing this in a hot shower and then hand expressing

  • Vibration - I used the La Vie Boob Massage but you can use an electric toothbrush or a vibrator. Same as above, vibrate around the clog to break it up and then hand express forward

  • Dangle Nursing - If you're nursing you can get down on all fours and nurse with your boob dangling into the babies mouth. The gravity helps get the milk flowing and clogs out

  • Dangle Pumping - Same, try leaning forward slightly to give the same effect as nursing. Also you can try to position pump to where clog is the get it out. I would use moist warm washcloth while pumping and massing.

  • HAAKA TRICK - THIS IS MY FAVORITE ONE AND TOTALLY WORKS - fill a haaka a little more than half way with warm water and 1 tablespoon epsom salt. Then apply like a regular haaka. This is hard to do and messy so get in the shower. Make sure your nipple is fully submerged then let drain for 5-10 minutes. You'll see the milk coming out. After that massage affected breast and hand express

  • Physical Therapy - After much googling I found that there are Physical Therapy services for mastitis. I went for a session before COVID and it was great. They used Ultrasound Technology to break up the clogs and then hand expressed for me. my boobs have never felt better. If they were still open I would go once a month!

  • In NYC, Pamela Morrison PT

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