A blocked milk duct is a blockage of one or more ducts carrying milk to the nipple when breastfeeding an infant. Poor drainage of milk from the breast can cause a build up of pressure and discomfort in that area. Sometimes a lump may form. If the affected area becomes red this could be a sign that the breast has become engorged. Baby may be fussy when feeding from the affected breast, as the milk flow rate from the breast is reduced. Consultation with a lactation consultant or healthcare professional is a necessary first step.


Preventing Blocked Ducts

  • Feed your baby often.
  • Wear loose tops and avoid tight underwired bras to ease any pressure on your breasts.
  • Eat well and get plenty of rest.


Relieving Blocked Ducts

  • Feed from the blocked side as often as possible so as to empty the affected breast.
  • Get as much rest as you can. When relaxed your ‘let-down’ reflex works more efficiently.
  • Check baby is attached correctly and can get milk easily.
  • When baby is sucking vigorously feed from the affected breast first.
  • Attempt to use different feeding positions – this may help to clear the blockage.
  • During and after feeds gently massage the lump towards the nipple.
  • Express breast milk by hand, if needed,  before and after feeding.
  • After feeding you may choose to apply cold packs to help relieve any pain and inflammation.
  • Seek medical attention if you are unable to clear the lump within 12 hours.
  • If you have a fever and feel unwell seek medical assistance promptly as you may have mastitis.