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What is a clogged milk duct?

Clogged ducts can occur for a few reasons so have a read.

Most of the time, women can breastfeed with ease. But some women may need to overcome roadblocks before they breastfeed successfully.

Clogged ducts is one of those roadblocks. What does a blocked duct feel like though?

The breast has ducts that radiate around the areola. These ducts carry milk from the lobes (milk production site) to the nipple. Sometimes, these ducts become blocked, and lumps form behind them from the build up of milk.

Your breasts may become firm and engorged in this area. You may feel very tender and sore. You might see some redness over the area.

How do clogged ducts happen?

Every breastfeeding experience is different and sometimes there is no clear reason as to why milk ducts clog, but here’ a few reasons:

  • tight clothing over the breast
  • too long between feeds
  • tight breast tissue not allowing for good milk flow

We have more detailed info over on our Blocked Ducts page.

picture of clogged milk duct | clogged milk duct | blocked milk duct

How can I help a clogged duct?

  • Place a heat pack on the breast for a couple of minutes or have a warm shower to help soften the blockage and increase milk flow, then GENTLY massage your breast
  • A cold pack after feeding may help you with any pain and inflammation
  • Avoid restrictive clothing and bras during this time
  • If needed, paracetamol may be taken for pain relief. Follow the instructions on the packet

Want professional hands-on help with clogged ducts?

Sometimes you need another approach when your breast has clogged ducts. Skilled practitioners can help you to move the lumps and drain the region of breast congestion. Ultrasound treatment and hands-on massage skills to assist your recovery, by Osteopaths with years of experience treating mastitis and other breastfeeding conditions (engorgement, blebs, blocked ducts). We can do that for you.

Take a look at our Blocked Duct Treatment Page.

Want help online instead? We have an answer.

It’s called Your Two Jugs.

We’ve developed online video masterclasses to teach women like you HOW to massage their breast when they get an issue.  These videos demonstrate what we teach women in clinic as well as the background anatomy of the breast so you understand your body better.  Head over to our sister-company…

Mastitis | breast pain | blocked duct

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    Disclaimer: This information is general in nature. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.