Clogged milk ducts are painful and can make breastfeeding so much more challenging. Worst of all, a clogged duct can lead to mastitis if not properly treated. Unfortunately, clogged ducts are very common. Read on for a better understanding of what clogged ducts are, why they happen, and most importantly of all, how to prevent them from ever happening again. Your ducts are small tubes that carry milk from the tissues deep in your breast to your nipple, forming a network of branching passages that come together at the nipple itself.
Breast pain and breastfeeding
Blocked milk ducts | Medela
There are approximately 15 to 20 milk ducts located in your breast. When your baby is latched on properly and breastfeeding, the motions of your baby's jaw, gums, and tongue help to pull the milk through the ducts and out of your nipple into your baby's mouth. Your let-down reflex also helps your milk to flow through the milk ducts and out to your baby. The milk ducts play an important role in the delivery of breast milk to your child, but they can also be a source of breast problems. Other, less common issues can develop in the milk ducts, as well. Here are 7 breastfeeding problems that are related to the milk ducts. Plugged milk ducts feel like small, tender lumps in the breast tissue.
Treating and Preventing Plugged Milk Ducts
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that is most commonly caused by milk stasis obstruction of milk flow rather than infection. Non-infectious mastitis can usually be resolved without the use of antibiotics. If symptoms are not improving within hours or if the woman is acutely ill, antibiotics should be started. If a mom with mastitis has no obvious risk factors for infection as noted in the box below , it is likely that the mastitis is non-infectious and, if properly treated, will resolve without antibiotics.
A plugged duct is formed when some of the milk inside a duct dries up and stops the rest of the milk from flowing. It is mostly due to not thoroughly draining the breast; this usually happens in the early days of breastfeeding, when a mother is engorged. How to get rid of a clogged milk duct by massaging before, during and after a feedings. Before a feeding massage can soften a swollen, taut breast so that it is easy for baby to latch onto. During a feeding, movement and compression towards the nipple will help the baby remove as much milk as possible.