Breastfeeding is a wonderful tool we have as mothers, to feed our children and provide all the sustenance they need in their early months of life. However, breastfeeding, as beautiful as it is, can also be challenging. Many women struggle with breastfeeding problems along their journey which can be painful and become more problematic if left and not managed correctly.
What problems can occur?
Blocked milk ducts
Blocked ducts can occur from breast engorgement which is when your breasts get too full of milk. This can happen during the early days of breastfeeding when you and your baby are still getting used to breastfeeding, it can also happen when your baby is getting older and not feeding as frequently. If engorgement continues, it can lead to a blocked milk duct which may feel like a small lump in your breast.
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast and it can become swollen, hot and painful. This can happen when a blocked milk duct is not relieved and you could also feel unwell with fever and flu-like symptoms.
What can we do to help?
Support around breastfeeding is invaluable and should not be overlooked. At reCentre, we now provide some of that support. We are now able to offer treatment with a Physiotherapist to help relieve the painful symptoms of blocked ducts and mastitis, working closely with a team of lovely IBCLC trained lactation consultants in the local area.
This ultrasound is different to the type you are probably most familiar with. When we hear ultrasound we think of baby or diagnostic scans where an image is produced. Therapeutic ultrasound is a different tool often used by Physiotherapists which uses mechanical vibration, ultrasound waves and heat to penetrate the body’s tissues and promote healing processes but no digital image is created. It is commonly used for treatment of chronic pain but by using a higher frequency of ultrasound wave, our specialist physiotherapist is able to use this on the affected area of the breast to assist in moving the blockage out.
The experience is much the same as other ultrasounds with a gel applied to the area and the head of the ultrasound machine used to slowly work in small circular movements. Depending on your symptoms, your Physiotherapist will have set the ultrasound machine to a particular frequency and time. Therapeutic ultrasound is pain free and you may only feel a heating or tingling sensation in the area.
This treatment helps to encourage the circulation around the area, to move the blockage. This technique, used alongside effective massage techniques and consistent breastfeeding on the affected side, can be a very effective way of managing the problem without the need for antibiotics.
What happens during your appointment?
Your appointment will include:
- An assessment to discover the likely cause behind the blockage and advice on how to manage them further
- Therapeutic ultrasound and massage treatment to assist in moving the blockage
- If we feel you need further assistance (provided you aren’t already being seen) around your latch, we will refer you to a IBCLC trained lactation consultant we work closely with. We strongly encourage accessing the support of a registered IBCLC breastfeeding clinic or private lactation consultant if you are struggling with your breastfeeding journey or for a bit of extra support
So if you are suffering from the painful symptoms mastitis and blocked ducts can cause, know that we are here to help support you on your breastfeeding journey.
How to book
You can book your initial appointment online with our specialist Physiotherapist, Shauna Tweedie.
Click here to book and select Lactation Physiotherapy Assessment to find the first available appointment