How Much Baby Formula Does The Us Use Per Day Physical Therapy Tricks for Plugged/Blocked Milk Ducts

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Physical Therapy Tricks for Plugged/Blocked Milk Ducts

As a physical therapist (aka physical therapist) and an expectant mother, I find myself increasingly interested in the physical challenges new mothers and their babies face. The rapid growth of both mother and baby creates unique physical demands that are usually paralleled in normal daily life. These physical demands can cause a variety of disorders, from pelvic/sacral instability in mothers due to rapid weight gain and hormonal changes resulting in loose ligaments (also known as laxity) to stiff and crooked necks in infants (Torticollis). a child may be born or acquired in the following weeks.

Physiotherapists have an impressive toolbox for treating a variety of orthopedic conditions, including those mentioned above. One little-known indication for physical therapy that I have treated with great success is blocked milk ducts in nursing mothers. Although this problem is not one of the typical orthopedic conditions and sports injuries that have become synonymous with physical therapy, physical therapy techniques, including therapeutic ultrasound and massage techniques, can be extremely effective in clearing blocked ducts.

Blocked milk ducts can be painful and always excruciating. Symptoms include tender, red and warm areas of the breast, accompanied by a gradual loss of milk. Although the cause is not always clear, it is usually thought to be due to the accumulation of dried milk in the network of milk ducts. Risk factors for a blockage include incomplete or infrequent drainage due to short or infrequent feedings and prolonged pressure from straps, belts, or tight bras. In most cases, moms can treat blocked milk ducts on their own using a few simple strategies (as recommended by the Canadian Breastfeeding Association):

  1. Nurse your baby often day and night to completely empty the breast.
  2. Massage the breast to help unclog while breastfeeding.
  3. Wear non-restrictive clothing.
  4. Before each feeding, soak the breasts for 10 minutes in warm water with Epsom salts (a handful of salt in 2-4 liters).
  5. Try different feeding positions, including bending over your baby.
  6. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water.

If the condition persists for more than 2-3 days, physical therapy may be warranted. Using painless therapeutic ultrasound combined with manual massage techniques, blocked ducts are usually cleared within 1-2 sessions with a registered physical therapist. (You may want to make sure your physical therapist has experience treating this condition). Consult your physical therapist or family doctor before implementing the practices recommended in this article.

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