Ask any breastfeeding mom who has struggled with an oversupply, (or even some of us that haven’t, but are just unlucky), what thoughts race through her mind when she wakes up in the morning and realizes that her baby slept a few hours longer than usual…?
The first thought will be something along the lines of “Wow! I forgot how good it feels to get a few consecutive hours of sleep!”  That thought will quickly be followed by a frantic check of her breasts for the inevitable lump, or the first sign of a plugged duct. 
Plugged ducts, when left alone, become increasingly painful and can even turn into mastitis (an infection in the breast).
Mastitis diagram taken from Google image search

For the first few months after my son was born, I would wake up almost every morning with at least one plugged duct.  If I was lucky, I caught it when it was small enough that a nursing session and a quick massage would get rid of it.  Most days, however, were not lucky days and I spent hours dangle nursing, running warm water over my breasts, massaging, pumping, and using warm compresses on repeat.  It often seemed like just when I would clear a plugged duct on one breast, another would pop up on the other breast from being neglected all day!

Plugged duct diagram taken from Google image search
Plugged duct diagram taken from Google image search
This endless cycle, on top of caring for a newborn, was exhausting!  While I was lucky enough to never have any plugged ducts turn into mastitis, I still knew that I had to get the situation under control.  I began researching preventative measures and happened upon lecithin.  I followed the recommendations that I found on KellyMom, and began taking 4 capsules per day until I went two weeks without getting plugged ducts.  After those two weeks, I reduced my dosage to 3 capsules per day and so on until I now only take one capsule per day and have not had a plugged duct in months.
This is the lecithin I take (from Walgreens), but there are several brands to choose from!
This is the lecithin I take (from Walgreens), but there are several brands to choose from!
Lecithin has been a lifesaver for me.  And while I give taking lecithin pills credit for stopping my cycle of plugged ducts, there are other precautionary measures that I take:

Tips for Preventing Plugged Ducts while Breastfeeding

1. No underwire!  During the day my bras are loose fitting and at night I ditch the bra altogether!
2. I always sleep on my back to avoid putting extra pressure on my breasts.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had always been a stomach sleeper but those days are gone (at least for the duration of my breastfeeding journey).
3. Do quick breast checks throughout the day to catch the plugged ducts early.  When you catch the plugged duct before it gets too bad, you can often clear it with a nursing session and some light massaging.
4. Never skip the lecithin!  I haven’t had plugged ducts in months but I still take one capsule of lecithin every day.  Maybe I’m being paranoid but I would rather be safe than sorry!
We love to hear from you… Have you dealt with plugged ducts or mastitis?  What do you do to prevent them?
Disclaimer: Please make sure you check with your doctor before taking any medication. We have recommended the Lecithin from a personal experience but please remember that every body is different and reacts differently to a medication. 

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Amber Castro

Lifestyle Blogger at On Life & Leche
I'm currently a stay-at-home mom to my son who was born in January of 2015.I have my degree in Anthropology and spent the two years before my son was born teaching. After months of struggling with nursing, I was finally able to have the beautiful breastfeeding relationship I dreamed of.These struggles helped me find my passion for helping other mothers in their breastfeeding journeys and guided me to study to become a lactation counselor.

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