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Clogged duct vs. Mastitis:

This is very common while breastfeeding and it is important to know the difference between clogged ducts and mastitis.⠀⠀
Breasts have a pipe-like system of milk ducts. If a duct gets blocked, milk can have trouble going through and a clog can form. This can cause a lump in your breast and it can be tender and possibly red. ⠀⠀
Causes of clogged ducts are usually from not emptying the breast entirely. A few reasons for this may be:⠀⠀
-Skipping feedings/pump sessions ⠀⠀
-Poor latch/suck⠀⠀
-Nipple damage/trauma⠀⠀
-Wearing restricting clothing or a bra that’s too tight (restricts milk flow).⠀
It usually feels more painful before a feeding and there is relief (and lump is usually smaller) after a feeding/pump. ⠀⠀
Clogged duct vs. Mastitis: ⠀⠀
If your clogged duct isn’t treated properly, it can lead to mastitis. Check out the chart I made above. Mastitis can cause systemic symptoms such as flu-like symptoms, fever, body aches, fatigue. The whole breast is red, tender, and swollen. Mastitis is not only caused my milk stasis but it can also be caused by pathogenic bacteria being introduced through a nipple wound. ⠀⠀
Supply may decrease after both of these but it can come back with frequent nursing and pumping sessions. ⠀⠀
If you’re pumping, you may notice stringy or big blobs of milk coming out. ⠀⠀
The area may feel bruised for a while even after it’s resolved. ⠀⠀
-Nurse or pump as much as possible, at least every 2 hours. Use breast compressions while nursing/pumping and massage from the clog to the nipple.⠀⠀
-If you’re directly latching, try different nursing positions (to stimulate all of the milk ducts) and have the baby nurse on the affected side first. Drain that side before switching sides. ⠀⠀
-If your baby isn’t draining that side, then pump after a feeding to drain it. ⠀⠀
-Heat and massage⠀⠀
-SUNFLOWER LECITHIN!! This has changed the game for me big time.⠀⠀
-Loose bra/clothing⠀⠀
Contact your doctor if you suspect mastitis. If symptoms are worsening, you’ll likely need antibiotics for 10-14 days.

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