Working while breastfeeding can present a challenge for any mom.

How to Keep From Getting Clogged Milk Ducts While Working

by Kathryn Hatter

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding a child up to age 6 months – with continued breastfeeding along with other foods until at least age 2. If you return to work while still breastfeeding -- and you’re trying to juggle it all -- you may notice some issues with your milk supply. It’s common for clogs to occur in milk ducts if you’re suddenly not nursing as often as you were. Take steps to prevent clogged ducts to avoid health issues like mastitis, an inflammation of the breast tissue.

Choose your nursing bras carefully to make sure that you’re not inadvertently creating a situation that could lead to clogged ducts. It’s essential that your bras don’t compress or constrict your breasts because this pressure can cause clogged ducts.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach because this can compress your breasts with pressure.

Take care of your health to ensure that your immune system stays strong. A strong immune system will help you fight stress successfully and stay healthy. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and minimize stressful situations to protect your health.

Breastfeed your toddler on both breasts before you go to work and when you return from work. Make sure that your toddler empties both breasts effectively. If your toddler doesn’t empty both breasts, consider pumping to avoid having leftover milk remaining in the ducts.

Chug down water regularly throughout the day to make sure you stay well hydrated. Drinking fluids helps keep milk moving through milk ducts effectively.

Make arrangements to pump privately at work to express milk for your toddler. If necessary, talk to your supervisor about your need to pump while you’re at work. Ask for access to a private spot where you can kick back and feel comfortable. When you're breastfeeding a toddler, it’s probably realistic to need to pump once in an eight-hour shift. Doing this during your lunch hour in the middle of your workday is often ideal since it halfway between the last time you breastfed and the next time you'll breastfeed your toddler again.

Items you will need

  • Nursing bras


  • If you do experience the dreaded plugged milk duct, jump into action quickly to avoid full-blown mastitis. Apply warm compresses to the clogged duct or take a warm shower, directing water onto the clogged duct. You can also place a heating pad on the clogged duct. Take ibuprofen to reduce swelling, as well as control pain and a possible fever. Massage the clogged duct to loosen the clog. You should also breastfeed your toddler as often as possible to move milk through the ducts and work the clog out. If these efforts don’t do the trick and you develop a high fever and other flu-like symptoms, call your doctor to see if you need antibiotics.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

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