How Often Should A 4 1 2 Month Old Nurse Physical Therapy Tricks for Plugged/Blocked Milk Ducts

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Physical Therapy Tricks for Plugged/Blocked Milk Ducts

As a physiotherapist (aka Physical Therapist) and mother, I am increasingly interested in the physical challenges of new mothers and their babies. The rapid growth that occurs in both mother and baby creates unique physical demands that typically parallel normal everyday life. These physical stresses can lead to a variety of disorders, from pelvic/skeletal instability in mothers to rapid weight gain and hormonal changes resulting in loose ligaments (aka laxity) to stiff and crooked necks (Torticollis) in babies. the baby may or may not be born in the next few weeks.

Physiotherapists have impressive techniques to treat a wide range of orthopedic conditions, including those mentioned above. One of the little-known indications for physiotherapy, which I have treated with great success, is blockage of the milk ducts of lactating mothers. Although this problem is clearly not one of the typical assortment of orthopedic conditions and sports injuries that have become synonymous with physical therapy, physical therapy methods, including therapeutic ultrasound and massage techniques, can be extremely effective in clearing blocked ducts.

Blocked milk ducts can be painful and always a concern. Symptoms include a tender, red and warm area of ​​the breast with gradual loss of milk. Although the cause is not always clear, it is generally thought to be caused by dried milk accumulating in the network of milk ducts. Risk factors for developing an obstruction include incomplete or infrequent drainage due to short or infrequent feedings, and sustained pressure from harnesses, seat belts, or tight bras. In most cases, mothers can treat blocked milk ducts themselves using a few simple strategies (as recommended by the Canadian Breastfeeding Association):

  1. Breastfeed your baby often around the clock to completely empty the breast.
  2. Massage the breast to release congestion during breastfeeding.
  3. Wear non-restrictive clothing.
  4. Before each feeding, soak your breasts in warm water with Epsom salts for 10 minutes (a handful of salt in 2-4 liters).
  5. Try different feeding positions, including leaning over the baby.
  6. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water.

If the condition persists for more than 2-3 days, physiotherapy may be warranted. With the use of painless therapeutic ultrasound supplemented with manual massage techniques, the blocked channels are typically relieved in 1-2 sessions at the registered physiotherapist. (Make sure your physiotherapist has experience treating this condition). Please consult your physical therapist or family doctor before performing the exercises recommended in this article.

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