Breast Feeding: Treating A Clogged Milk Duct

Red, painful lump on your breast? Could be a clogged milk duct. Find out tried and true tips for breastfeeding mothers.

Clogged milk ducts are a condition which can occur anytime while a mother is nursing. What occurs is that one or more of the milk ducts becomes blocked so that the milk cannot pass through it to baby's mouth.Typically clogged ducts manifest with a small to medium sized lump that is reddish. It will be painful to the touch. It's important to treat clogged milk ducts promptly or they can lead to more serious infections of the breast. Follow these tips to treat your clogged duct:

1. Wear a firm, but not constricting support bra. Nursing bras are ideal, as they commonly have these features built in already. A tight bra will press on ducts and could cause them to become clogged and painful.

2. After each feeding, pump and express and excess milk in case the baby has not emptied it fully. This will get as much milk out as possible and should solve the problem of build up at the clogged duct.

3. Offer breasts often, even increasing your regular breastfeeding schedule. This will help keep the breasts empty and can relieve some pain.

4. Change positions when you feed. By offering baby the breast at different angles each time, you are encouraging the baby to suck different areas of the breast. This will help prevent clogged ducts, and also will empty milk more fully. This round robin technique is one of the most effective ways to treat clogged ducts.

5. Offer the sore breast first. Baby will usually suck harder and faster at the beginning of a feeding and this will help empty the breast.

6. Don't stop nursing. Although it may be painful and unpleasant, continuing to breastfeed your baby is your best chance at relieving a clogged milk duct. If you simply stop feeding on the clogged side, your breast may become engorged or infected quickly.

7. Use moist heat. Applying warm compresses two to three times a day can help soften clogged ducts and ease milk flow. Hot tubs, showers and baths can also sometimes relieve a clogged milk duct.

8. If the lump remains more than three days, whether you are still having pain or not, you should consult your doctor. Although the lump is most likely from a clogged duct and only temporary, it may not be and any lumps should be reported and diagnosed.

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