Clogged Milk Duct Treatment and Prevention

To unplug a clogged milk duct and prevent infection always remember the number one rule for preventing engorgement and infection and other problems: MOVE THE MILK!

The key to clogged milk duct treatment and prevention is to remove the milk by breastfeeding your baby frequently and according to feeding cues.

Clogged Milk Duct Treatment and Prevention

Nurse Frequently

Nurse frequently and long enough to make sure baby is removing enough milk.

Remove the milk by breastfeeding your baby on the affected side. If your baby has not emptied your breast, use a breast pump or hand express your milk.

Use Optimal Positioning Techniques

Make sure the baby is latched on well and try different breastfeeding positions.

Drain the breast better by nursing with baby's chin pointing towards the affected area.

Apply Heat and Massage

Rub and massage the area while in a warm shower or bath.

Apply moist hot packs to your breasts before feeding. The heat enables the milk ducts to open better and allows for better milk drainage.

You can make your own reusable heat pack.

Use massage and heat on the affected side while you breastfeed. After applying heat and your breast is still warm, massage from your armpit down to your nipple.

Avoid putting pressure on one area of the breast for an length of time and wear a comfortable and well fitted nursing bra.

Get enough rest (I know that one is easier said than done!).

Remove Milk Plugs

It is safe to squeeze out the milk plugs as long as it is done gently and hygienically. It is sometimes possible to massage the affected breast until a white head at the end appears at the end of a duct on your nipple. Apply moist heat and carefully pop the blister with a sterile needle. By gently squeezing you will unplug the nipple opening. Use an antibiotic ointment for a few days to prevent infection.

Don't overdo it in the gym with vigorous upper arm exercise if you are prone to clogged milk ducts.

Often women who are more prone to getting plugged or clogged milk ducts notice an improvement after 5 or 6 months of breastfeeding.

Signs for Concern

When a plugged duct persists and is accompanied by additional symptoms, it may be a sign of an infection that requires medical treatment.

Always consult with your doctor if you experience the following:

Fever for 24 hours

Sudden onset of chills

General feeling of being unwell