Lecithin for Recurrent Plugged Ducts

Plugged Duct Jan 05, 2021

How Does Lecithin Help Treat & Prevent Plugged Ducts?

Does lecithin help with clogged milk ducts? Yes, Lecithin has been used by breastfeeding mothers without any known contraindications and is often suggested for the treatment of recurrent plugged ducts.

Lecithin is a food additive, and it is found naturally in numerous foods.

As per Dr. Jack Newman’s explanation, “It may do this by decreasing the viscosity (stickiness) of the milk by increasing the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the milk. It is safe to take, relatively inexpensive and seems to work in at least some mothers."

The Dosage

The usual dosage for recurring plugged ducts is 3600 - 4800mg of Lecithin daily, or 1200mg 3 to 4 times per day. The dosage can then be reduced to 1200mg twice per day as soon as the blockages have subsided for two weeks. After four weeks of no blockages, the mother can reduce her dosage by another 1200mg. A mother may need to continue to take one or two dosages per day as a preventative measure.

The maximum safe dosage of Lecithin, is 50 grams per day, which makes the recommended amount for breastfeeding mothers less than 1/10 of the maximum dosage.

Lecithin is also found naturally in:

  • Soybeans
  • Whole grains
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kidney beans
  • Peanuts
  • Meat (especially in liver)
  • Milk (also in breast milk)

Lecithin is also found as an additive in foods such as oils, chocolates, cookies, and many others.

Things to Be Aware of

Persons who are prone to depression should be monitored by a physician when taking high doses of Choline or Lecithin.

Most times, blocked ducts will resolve themselves within a few days, however, you are at a higher risk of developing mastitis when you develop clogged ducts. If you experience any flu-like symptoms, or if the area is red or warm, see your doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms of mastitis discussed here.

  • If you often get plugged ducts, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about taking lecithin supplements. Also, try to see a lactation consultant who can assess your specific situation and give advice as to how you could maybe prevent plugged ducts in the future.
  • Always consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements while breastfeeding.

Soy vs. Sunflower Lecithin

Both soy and sunflower lecithin has been found effective at treating and preventing clogged ducts while breastfeeding. BUT, sunflower lecithin is usually made with less chemicals and is always cold pressed, it has 25% more Choline than soy, it is high in manganese, magnesium, Vitamin B1, B6, Folate, and vitamin E. So overall, Sunflower Lecithin is a better product.

Sunflower lecithin, sunflowers
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

How Long Will Lecithin Take to Treat Plugged Ducts?

Most women see results within 24 - 48 hours.

A Plugged Duct May Be Triggered by the Following:

  • Not draining the breast well during a feeding.
  • Dehydration. How much water should you be drinking?
  • Suck issues or tongue issues.
  • A blocked nipple pore.
  • Skipping feeds at night or waiting too long in-between feedings. Deviating from your pumping or feeding schedule and delaying a session can cause milk stasis. If you need to change your schedule, do so gradually and your body will adapt accordingly.
  • An oversupply of breast milk.
  • A low immune system.
  • A breast pump that does not drain the milk sufficiently.
  • Abrupt weaning or breast refusal.
  • Any pressure on the breast, such as tight bras or clothing, a tight seat belt or sleeping on your stomach.
  • Inflammation from an unresolved bout of mastitis can cause plugged ducts.

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Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!