Try this process we've been developing for removing plugged ducts using the silicone flanges:
1) Soak your nipple in a bowl warm salt water for 5-10 minutes.
2) With the nipple still in the water, use your thumb and forefinger to press at the base of the nipple and move toward the tip to press out any milk in ducts inside the nipple.
3) Next, remove your nipple from the water, dry it off thoroughly, and apply the silicone flange with our recommended method, setting the vacuum a bit higher than normal.
4) Cup your hand around the flared out part of the flange that's against your breast. Holding the flange against your breast so it doesn't come off, pull the flange gently away so that it stretches the nipple.
5) If it works, you might see a long goopy blob of milk come out. That's the plug. It's just clumped fat, so it's completely safe for your baby.
This method is still in development, so please let us know how this works for you and definitely share any ideas on how to do it better.
Reviewed by Diana West, IBCLC
June 10, 2021