Clogged milk ducts are blockages of the ducts that carry milk to the nipple while you breastfeed. They are hard, sensitive, and sometimes painful lumps that emerge in your breast and tend to cause redness on the skin of the breast. This results as a failure to remove milk from the duct and can be caused by infrequent breastfeeding, poor attachment, trauma to the breast, or even wearing tight clothing. To prevent this from arising, here are some steps you can follow:
- Ensure you are feeding or pumping often. This typically means 8 to 10 a day or even more often in the early days of breastfeeding.
- Massage your breast in between feeds to encourage drainage.
- Alter your breastfeeding positions to make sure suction is happening at all ducts.
- Avoid wearing any tight clothing or baby carriers that may put pressure on your breasts.
- Apply a warm compress on your breast before feeding and cool compress afterwards.
If you do identify a clogged milk duct, contact your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and begin to treat it at home. Massaging the breast is the most effective remedy but your healthcare provider will likely give you specific instructions to follow. If the symptoms worsen or are ongoing, it may develop into mastitis and at this point, it’s essential to visit your healthcare provider.