Plugged or clogged milk ducts happen when one of the milk ducts, or localized area in the breast, becomes blocked causing an obstructed flow of milk. Symptoms include tenderness in a localized area accompanied with a firm or hard lump. The area usually is hot to the touch, swollen with possible redness. Plugged or clogged milk ducts do not cause a fever. Plugged ducts tend to come on gradually and usually only effect one breast. The clog may appear at the very tip of your nipple, known as a “Milk Bleb” which is clogged pore, or the clog could be further back in the ductile system. Either way, it isn’t a very pleasant experience. Some mothers may notice that the lump feels more painful before feeding, tender during “let down” and less severe post feed.
Plugged ducts can be caused by:
- Inability to adequately empty the breast
- Lip or tongue tie in infant making it difficult to empty the breast
- Skipped feedings
- Inflammation due to breast infection, or candida (yeast)
- Continuous added pressure on a specific duct restricting complete milk flow (Most Common Reason) This can be caused by wearing a tight underwire bra, constantly holding the breast with your hand and fingers while feeding, or from placing a finger between the breast and the infants nose.
Some mothers fear their baby can’t breath being that close to the breast. So, they follow their instincts, using their finger as a barrier to push the breast tissue away from the infants nose. However, babies are obligatory nose breathers and do not have the same amount of cartilage in their noses like we adults do. Because of this most babies can breath side ways. All that to say that if your baby can’t breath he/she will come off the breast. By placing your finger in between, it not only will cause for a more shallow latch that can lead to un-needed nipple soreness, but it will also increase your chances of developing a plugged duct in that specific spot.
So what do you do if you develop these pesky little plugs? First and fore most, keep breastfeeding! One of the best ways to remove the clog, is to have your baby feed through it. Be sure to get plenty of rest, and drink tons of fluids! The more you increase your fluids, the better your chances are for moving that clog out. If a clog is left untreated it can lead to mastitis, a breast infection which requires medical attention. Here are some recommended steps to help you.
- Just prior to feeding, apply a moist heat to the affected area either with a moist warm towel or by taking a shower
- Soak the breast is a bowl of warm water and 2 tbls of epsom salts for 10 min prior to feeding, gently massage the area.
- If you have a “Bleb” or clogged pore on the nipple, then after soaking the breast in warm water, take a cotton ball saturated with olive oil and apply to the tip of the nipple. This will soften the blockage and allow it to unclog. Soak the nipple using a haaka filled with epsom salts and hot water, suction on, and let it soak for 10 min. NEVER use a needle to try and unclog the bleb. This can lead to increased damage and risk of infection.
- Massage the area before and during the feeding. Stroke the breast in a downward motion from chest towards the nipple during the feeding.
- Frequent feedings ensuring adequate emptying of the breast. It is really important that you are able to remove as much milk as possible from the effected breast.
- Start feeding on the effected side, and if possible nurse a few minutes longer.
- Avoid adding constant pressure with your finger or hand as mentioned above.
- Position the baby so that his/her lower jaw is in alignment with the clogged duct. The baby’s chin should be facing toward the plugged duct to allow the suction to be maximized toward the blocked area. Change positions to allow for adequate drainage of all ducts.
- Have someone massage you between the shoulder blades to help aid in relaxation resulting in better milk flow.
- As mentioned above: Take care of you! Drink plenty of fluids, rest, and if possible decrease your stress levels…which I know is easier said then done.
- Avoid tight restrictive clothing, bras especially with under wire.
***SPECIAL NOTE*** If the clogged duct does not go away and you begin to develop flu-like symptoms including chills and fever, call your doctor. You could be developing a breast infection known as mastitis.
If you have recurring plugged ducts, you may need to change your diet. Sometimes what we ingest makes our milk almost too thick and sticky. The following steps can help resolve recurring plugged ducts:
- Decrease your fat intake to only eating polyunsaturated fats.
- Moderate your salt
- Add sunflower Lecithin to your diet. This is an over the counter food supplement that works by decreasing the viscosity or stickiness of the milk. To prevent clogs take 1200 mg daily, if you have a clog take 2 capsules 3 times a day. www.legendairymilk.com has a fantastic brand.
*** If you have a history of depression, take caution as lecithin can increase your chances of developing postpartum depression symptoms.
LECITHIN 6 WEEK TREATMENT PLAN
Week 1-2 week: 3600-4800mg a day (1200mg capsules: 3capsules 3 times a day with food)
Week 3-4: 2 capsules 2 times a day with food
Week 5-6: 1 capsule in the morning with breakfast
(May need to continue 1-2 capsules a day if stopping leads to additional plugged ducts)
Consult your doctor if symptoms persist or worsen
Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss/ JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved
Are the lecithin pills 1200mg each or 3 pills total 1200mg. Also does sunflower lecithin work just as well as soy lecithin? Thanks
The each pill is 1200mg. If you have trouble finding that dosage, you can round up. Either option, soy or sunflower, is fine. Soy is more common, however because soy is a phyto-estrogen, and there are soy allergies, the sunflower will also work. The key component is the fact that the lecithin is a poly unsaturated fat which makes your milk less “Sticky” allowing it to flow through the ducts more smoothly.
So do I take 3 pills 3 times a day for a total of 3600 Mg for the first week? Thanks
The usual recommended dosage for recurrent plugged ducts is 3600-4800 mg lecithin per day, or 1 capsule (1200 milligram) 3-4 times per day. After a week or two with no blockage, mom can reduce the dosage by one capsule. If there is no blockage within another 2 weeks she can reduce it again by one. Mom may need to continue taking 1-2 capsules per day if stopping the lecithin leads to additional plugged ducts.
I get recurrent plugged ducts every 10 days or so. I exclusively pump and feed my daughter . So I was thinking that I didn’t empty my breast properly each time I get the plugged duct . I do NOT have a plugged duct right now . Can u start taking lecithin in the mentioned dosage to prevent future clogged ducts ? Kindly let me know
Yes you can absolutely take lecithin to help treat recurring clogged ducts. I would be sure to use a warm moist compress first to help work out any current ducts, but the lecithin is a poly-unsaturated fat so it will work by making your milk less sticky, thus minimizing the likelihood of the milk clogging. I wouldn’t start with the treatment dose of 3600mg a day, I would just do the preventative dose of 1200mg a day. If you develop a clog then you can up your dose at that time. Hope this helps
I am not breastfeeding. can I still taking this medicine to solve the galactocele problem? Thanks
Lecithin works by making milk less sticky, and flow better. Same reason why doctors recommend the vitamin for people with high cholesterol as it reduces plaque in the blood stream. If you are having galactocele issues, I would recommend prim rose oil 500mg 2-3 times a day. This will help reduce the pain associated with tender fibrocystic breasts.
Thanks for your response. I just delivery 6 weeks ago and I am not breastfeeding and just notice galactocele in my right breast. My left breast still leaking milk and my right breast didn’t therefore it develop a galactocele. Am I still ok to take prime rose oil?
Your breasts may be leaking milk for awhile. Even though your not breastfeeding, your breasts don’t know that so it will begin to produce milk, and it can last for several weeks later. Prim rose oil, is absolutely safe to take. I highly recommend it for any woman, breastfeeding or not as it promotes good breast health, and reduces any breast tenderness. If you are having recurring clogged ducts, or you feel like your milk is not drying up, then I would recommend peppermint tea, peppermint altoids, as that will help decrease the milk production. If the problem persists, your doctor may recommend a decongestant like Sudafed to help “Decongest” your breast. Hope this helps.
is sunflower lecithin only for breastfeeding mom? How to dry up milk quickly?
Lecithin is for anyone, it is a poly-unsaturated fat so it helps by lowering the plaque in our blood, reducing cholesterol, and it works in breastfeeding mothers by making the breast milk less sticky so it will flow better, reducing the risk of clogged milk ducts. If you are wanting to dry up your milk quickly, visit my article on “weaning” which provides instructions on how to dry up your milk supply with the use of peppermint and cabbage, along with medications that your doctor may recommend such as a decongestant. Hope this helps!
Thank you for your answer.
I am currently taking evening primrose oil, peppermint tea, and Benadryl since Thur. My left breast still leaking milk, and my right breast didn’t leak milk and still has galactocele.
1)Should I use my hand to squeeze small amount of milk from my right breast to prevent the galactocele getting bigger?
2)Should I take sunflower lecithin to get rid of galactocele?
3)Will the galactocele gone on its own once lactation end?
I am very worry about that. I don’t know what will it happen next if it is still inside my breast.
I am looking for advice on how to get rid of a milk blister I have had for about two months. It seems to be making it hard for my baby to nurse on one side. I have tried hot compress, sterilized needle, frequent nursing. Would lecithin make sense for me? Thank you.
Have you tried putting olive oil on the nipple first, letting that soak in, then apply the warm moist heat for 10 min, while nursing your baby and doing breast compressions? If that hasn’t worked, then yes I would say you are probably a good candidate for lecithin. The only time I say not to do a lecithin treatment is if you have a history of depression as some report that it can make a woman feel melancholy. However, at this point, it may seem like your best option. If you have questions about the dosage, don’t hesitate to ask.
I have been feeding my baby for 15 weeks and gradually reduced to 2 feeds a day, the first and second of the day, on Monday morning I woke up and had a pain under my arm, presumed I had blocked duct (first time ever) and tried to feed, but about an hour later started to feel very unwell, flu like symptoms with high temp, I went to doctor yesterday and she said I have infection and on antibiotic, have tried feeding and using heat and massage but I still have lump and I’m in a lot of pain, any suggestions?
If you have swollen tissue, such as the lump you are feeling, I would do a cold compress first, then add the heat to it and massage while feeding the baby or pumping. If the clogs continue then you can add lecithin into your diet which will make the milk less sticky and flow better. Lecithin is an over the counter poly unsaturated fat that is used to treat clogged duct. The dosage instructions are mentioned in my website. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best of luck.
I am on my fourth day of weaning cold turkey (I know I shouldn’t have done that) the pain is finally not excruciating, but I stopped because I got four plugged ducts in the span of two weeks even with taking lecithin. I decided I couldn’t continue working and devoting all my time to trying to get them out. I am severely engorged still, and can’t tell if I have plugged ducts yet, but am pretty sure since I was getting them when I was actually feeding and pumping. I know engorgement causes them as well and I haven’t pumped much at all in four days. Should I wait till the engorgement goes down to see if there are any, or should I be proactive. I don’t want to experience the intense pain I had in the first two days, so I don’t want to stimulate milk production at all. I don’t want to put heat on it either. Will they eventually reabsorb.
I would try icing your breasts to bring down some of the inflammation. You can always take a decongestant with your doctor’s consent as this will “decongest” the breast as well. I would not massage as that will stimulate the breast causing more milk production to occur. Ibuprophen will help as well to bring down some of the pain. Keep up with the cabbage treatments and peppermint and sage as that will help eliviate some of the discomfort too.
I had a clogged milk duct about 2 months ago but was able to have my baby nurse it away in a couple of days. After about 4-5 days I noticed I had a few white spots on my nipple. I thought this was due to my son getting new teeth. Then I started experiencing excrutiating pain in my breast. It started out as a sharp pain in my nipple and then sort of radiated through my whole breast. It would only be painful right after I nursed on that breast and 90% of the time it was at night. I went to my doctor and they ordered an ultrasound which came back normal.they gave me prescriptions for an infection and for a yeast infection. They did not help with the pain. Now I’m starting to think the spots were milk blisters. They are not really white anymore, more like a pink and they are sort of ‘swollen’ looking after I nurse. Will the warm compress and olive oil work for me or has it been too long? I’m scared that the tissue has really grown over the duct opening. Please help.
It would most defintely help. I would also suggest taking lecithin to help make your milk flow more smoothly. The dosage instructions are listed in the plugged duct article. Sound like you would be a great candiate for that. Also, if you are having increased pain all over the breast, you could also try prim rose oil capsules, 500mg 1-3 x a day as needed. Both of those vitamins should help decrease some of the pain you are feeling. But yes, anytime you have a clogged duct the warm moist heat will help decrease the clogs. Best of luck and I hope you feel better soon.
I am so happy I found your site! You have great information and are so patient in all your responses! My second child had an overactive gag reflux and never learned how to eat solids til about a year ago. I had to breastfeed him strictly for 2 years. With my first child, I did not have issues that I recall with Mastitis. With my second one I had at least 5 with antibiotic treatment. Ugh. I wondered it if had to do with my breasts being naturally pretty lumpy. I finally completely weened him several months ago, but still have one duct on one side that seems to be holding milk and I cannot express it. I started to get another infection tonight and wonder how I can get the milk out. This duct has always been troublesome and am so surprised that I can still, after this much time has passed, begin to get an infection. I’ve read how I could take Benedryl, Lecithin, Peppermint, Sage, and Prim Rose. What do you recommend for one problematic duct? Thank you so much for your time!
Hi there Deb. First off congrats on breastfeeding and sustaining your son so well for 2 years! Well done girl! I am so sorry to hear about your troublesome duct. It is unusual for you to be having issues with mastitis this long after weaning, but not unheard of. You can leak milk for over a year after weaning. However, with you get mastitis, we want to make sure there isn’t anything else going on. I would recommend lecithin and most definitely peppermint, but I would also consult with your OB/GYN and have them do an ultrasound to rule out any underlying causes such as a cyst. Benadryl and other decongestants will certainly help “Decongest” the breast, but again all these things you want to do with your doctor’s permission. The lecithin will help make milk and other bodily fluids less sticky so that it doesn’t clog as easily. Being that we aren’t wanting to get milk out per say may make lecithin not as productive. The cabbage treatment would work really well in diminishing one solo duct, as would taking peppermint oil capsules such as you would find online. If you find that these are not working, there is ultrasonic therapy you can use to help break down any problematic spots and hopefully help break up some of the scar tissue left behind from your previous bouts of mastitis. Hopefully this helps, please let me know if I can be of any further help. Best of luck.
So will it help a plugged duct I already have?
Yes it should. All the tips in the article will help with current clogs as well as preventing more coming.
I stopped breast feeding my baby and am pumping the milk out every secong day.. still milk is getting formed now its 3rd week since I left breast feeding. When I press to remove milk I find small small balls like thing. Please say me how to get rid of this continues milk formation. My baby is 2.6 yrs old.
Please say me how to get rid of these small small balls too
What you are feeling is your milk ducts full of milk, and they may be feeling clogged. Since you have decided to wean your baby completely the best thing to do is to stop pumping all together. Your breasts work by supply and demand, the more you stimulate them the more milk you will make. If you keep pumping you will keep producing milk. You can use cold compress to reduce the engorgement. Visit my blog on weaning to help you understand what you need to do to reduce your milk supply all together.
I found the information on this site useful. This is my first baby and I never heard of clogged duct until now. I planned exclusive breast feeding for my baby but I couldn’t continue cos I heard bad bleeding 5days after delivery. While at the hospital my breast was really full and hard. Before my baby was brought to me. After some days u started having pains in my left breast, it became hard, sore breast and a feel of lump in my earolar. Am really scared. What do I do? Cos I try feeding him on that breast always and it’s still the same.
Use some cold compresses, like ice packs to help bring down the swelling, for 10 minutes. Then I would use a warm moist washcloth to help relieve the lumps. If you have a pump, I would pump out the milk while you massage the breast to help relieve some of the discomfort you are feeling. You can always pump and provide your baby the breast milk in the bottle if you find that easier. This way the baby is still getting the benefits of breast milk. Hope this helps. You don’t have to be scared, what you are experiencing is normal, and is just your body trying to make perfect milk for your baby.
Tanx so much for the response. What do I do to relieve me of the sore nipple. Cos it hurts after every feed. Tanx a lot
Sore nipples can be due to several reasons, poor latch, bad positioning, thrush or a clogged duct. I would recommend making an appointment with a lactation consultant near you to check on your baby’s latch and rule out any underlying condition.
Hi I have a question and it would be amazing if you could help. My son is 13 weeks old and exclusively breast fed. Whilst feeding my first son I was prime to blocked ducts but learnt to solve the issue quite quickly. However this time round I have had no issues whatsoever until 10 days ago when I got my first blocked duct. I did everything I could to relieve it massage, compress, heat, more feeding etc and it wouldn’t budge then 3 days ago it became mastitis. I have antibiotics for that but I am still unable to clear the backlog and my milk supply has diminished. I have also been pumping a lot more and noticed that thick mucous like milk has started to come out one pore I think this is the backlog but its just do thick it can’t come out slowly. Again I am trying everything massage , different feeding positions, heat, expressing and can’t seem to unblock the duct properly. There are definitely no white dots/blend on my nipples so think the blockage is further up. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks do much!! It’s driving mr crazy!!
What you are seeing come out is the clog, it almost looks like cottage cheese. I would recommend taking lecithin tablets which is an over the counter poly-unsaturated fat vitamin. They are 1200mg capsules. I would take 1 capsule 3 times a day for 2 weeks then 1 capsule a day for 2 more weeks. This will help unclog and make the milk less sticky preventing further clogs. If you have a history of depression however, it can cause you to feel temporarily melancholy that first day, but otherwise it should help with the clogging.
Hi, your site is really great. Thank you for all the information. This page in particular made a lightbulb go off for me….the relationship between galactoceles and yeast. Perhaps you could offer some advice for my unique situation. Last June, two unusual things happened…I had a bout of yeast infections. It was also the start of recurring plugged ducts. Last June, my daughter was 3 years old and usually nursed in the morning, before nap, before bed and 2 to 4 times in the middle of the night. Note, she has several food allergies so the night nursing has been consistent for as long as I can remember. I would get the plugged duct on my left breast, right behind the nipple. I would do heat, massage, extra nursing on that side and it would go Away after a week or two. In august, it was back for three weeks. Each time, I would feel it unplug. I kept expecting to get mastitis, but have yet to, phew. After that, the lump never went away. The tenderness, during let down, or to touch, comes and goes, but the lump remains. This January, I had a sonogram and that’s when they told me about galactocele.
About the same time, my daughter cut back on nursing, and napping, so since January, she more or less breast feeds before bed, and one to two times at night. The lump was still there, but felt sooo much better.
Just last week we did a few food challenges and she has doubled her nursing probably due to not feeling well and eating much. I also got a very light yeast infection. Now the lump hurts to touch and during let downs. I am so sick of this. I haven’t tried lecithin since my daughter is allergic to soy and I am prone to depression…but should I?
I also remind her to relax her jaw and ask her to stop if she starts to leave teeth marks. Could that be similar interference? Also, I wear no underwire bras.
Any thoughts you have would be enormously appreciated! Thank you!!!
It sounds like you have had quite a journey. It does sound like you would benefit from lecithin. You can get sunflower lecithin which would work better and help eliminate the soy issue. I would get 1200mg capsules and take 3 a day (a total of 3600mg) for 2 weeks, then 1 capsule once a day for the duration of your breastfeeding history. Make sure you keep up with the moist heat (dry heat will not help) and massage towards the nipple as she feeds. You can also help by increasing fluids, eliminating processed sugars, and see if that makes a difference as well. Let me know how it works!
I had a milk lump 3 weeks after the delivery of my baby. I was put on antibiotics but it turned into an abcess and a surgical insicion and drainage was done. I started breastfeeding again a week after the surgery. I have again developed a lump which is not as bad as the first time but its slightly red and painful. Doctors have started antibiotics again. Its been almost four days and it’s still hard. Should I continue breastfeeding?
Yes I would absolutely continue breastfeeding, getting that milk to move is incredible important. I am so sorry to hear about your abcess. You may want to start taking lecithin capsules however on a daily basis to help reduce the amount of clogs you are getting. 1200mg capsules 3 times a day for 2 weeks, then just one capsule a day when no clogs are present. Some moms with recurrent plugged ducts or mastitis have also had good luck with the following homeopathic treatment — 2 doses Hepar Sulphur and 2 doses of Phytolacca (allow pellets to dissolve in mouth). The doses are to be taken as follows:
First, take Hepar Sulphur 30C – 3 pellets;
3 hours later, take Phytolacca 30C – 3 pellets;
3 hours later, take Hepar Sulphur 30C – 3 pellets;
3 hours later, take Phytolacca 30C – 3 pellets.
If you do decide to wean, you would most definitely want to do so gradually as your breast tissue is sensitive. Best of luck to you!
I had a small amount of previous nipple damage. My nipple had an area of scar tissue where breast milk exits came together and poured out vs sprayed out. This area was the exit for a good amount of my ducts on my breast from (if a clock) from 6pm to 1030pm.
My baby bit me in his sleep, as he had actually over nursed and had more of my breast in me than typical. He had been sick and I woke with his deep pain and a bite line.
I had mastitis and was sadly hospitalized by that night. My white count went up to 22 in one afternoon. My baby nursed at the hospital but it appears that the SCAR TISSUE closed off that exit, and those ducts appear to have quite. The result is I went from producing about 40 oz daily to about 2 ounces. Yes, that is what I am saying, I am down 38 oz. I am on reglan and realized today with the swelling down, and the peeling gone (my breast peeled like a snake from the extreme and fast swelling) that my shine new nipple is the cause of some of my issues.
How can I if at all, change this new scar tissue so that my over other pumping can “get too” those closed off ducts- closed off from the nipple?
Help. Help. What a sad sad week for my baby. He is beside himself and has refused all other supplementation other than water. His diapers are not wet enough or often enough.
I am so sorry to hear about all the trouble you have had. You poor thing. Okay….first off I am so glad you are feeling better, and what a wonderful mommy you are to be so dedicated to providing the best supplement you can to your baby. As you know your breasts work by supply and demand, the more you stimulate the more milk you will make. So I would start pumping. Reglan is not my favorite choice of medication if you are going to be increasing your supply as there are a lot of neurological side effects for both mom and baby. If you feel you needed to take medication to increase milk then I would recommend Domperidone (motillium). It works far better, is much safer for you and baby, and is what is approved by the AAP unlike Reglan. The problem with it however is that due to political and financial reasons, it is not FDA approved in the US. However you can get it online through a pharmacy in Canada, and most pediatricians and OB’s are on board with it.
As for your clogged nipple area. I would use some warm olive oil on the nipple 10 min prior to you feeding or pumping to soften the tissue. Then I would use a warm, moist compress for 10 min prior to help open up the tissue. You can also consider taking lecithin to help prevent the clogs from happening.
If your supply is still low, I would recommend acupuncture to increase or using herbs such as more milk plus which you can read about in my increasing milk section, prior to continuing with reglan. I hope this helps let me know if you have any further questions.
Hello, my baby girl is 10 weeks old and exclusively breast feed and pump occasionally. About 3 weeks ago I noticed a hard lump in my right breast. I thought nothing of it because I had lumps before and would go away on there own. But now I’ve noticed it hurts more after feeding I get sharp shooting pains for about 30 min.then they go away. I’ve tried massage and heat compresses but nothing works. PLEASE HELP.
If the lump is persistent and does not go away with warm moist heat and massage you may want to visit your doctor to make sure it is in fact a clogged duct. You can of course take lecithin which is an over the counter vitamin that will help make the milk less sticky and should help reduce the clogs. If the pain is getting worst however you should consult with your doctor.
I have several plugged ducts on the underside of my breast. They have been there for 5 days with no results from doing warm compress etc. I’m on antibiotics right now and have ordered lecithin. Once I start lecithin, how long should it take for the clogs to clear out? Thanks!
also does it matter if it is soy or sunflower lecithin? Is there a difference and effectiveness?
I meant to write is there a difference in effectiveness?
So sorry you are having a hard time with clogged ducts. Lecithin is lecithin, so it doesn’t matter if it is sunflower or soy. I tend to prefer sunflower only because I do not like the phytoestrogen effects of soy. However, either of them will work. If the clogs no longer hurt that is a good sign, that means they are starting to subside. Hopefully you have found some relief by now. Make sure you are not wearing underwire bras as that can attribute to the pain and cause more clogs to form.
One more thing… The clogs no longer hurt, even when pressing on them. Is that normal? Does it mean they are about to go away? Thanks so much!
HI…I USE TO HAVE A CLOGGED MILK DUCT 2 YRS AGO WHEN I HAD MY SON…FOR SOME REASON I GOT LEFT WITH A UGLY TISSUE SCAR ON MY RIGHT BREAST….IS THERE ANY WAY THIS CAN GO AWAY WITH MEDICATIONS OR SOMETHING?
Without seeing the scar tissue it would be hard to determine what you could do. But if your speaking of thick dense tissue, then I would recommend going to see your OB/GYN or a Breast Specialist Physician to have an ultrasound done to see what kind of fibrous tissue is there, if it is more cyst related that should be biopsied, and then how to treat it. Sometimes just using ultrasound therapy can break it up. You can also try citrus blend essential oils to see if that helps to loosen the tissue. However with you still seeing this 2 years later I would go and get a mammogram or breast ultrasound. Best of luck.
My son is almost 8 months old and exclusively breastfeeding. I have had plugged ducts about once a month since he was born, and had mastitis a couple of weeks ago. Since having mastitis, Ive had a plugged duct on the other side and now have a plugged duct on the side that I had the mastitis, and cannot get the plug out. I have a white dot on the affected side…not sure whether that is the plug or not. I’ve tried Lecithin, massage, olive oil, moist heat, warm showers, a sterilized needle, and dangle feeding to no avail. Do you have any recommendations? I am getting very frustrated as I do not know what is causing the plugged ducts and I am very worried about to get mastitis again. Thank you!
Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Are you taking enough of the lecithin? Make sure to follow the dosage instructions on the website for further information. The white spots you are seeing are milk blebs which are clogs in the nipple pore. Olive oil and moist heat on the tip of the nipple for 10 minutes prior to feed should help unclog that. You can also soak your breast in a bowl of epsom salt and warm water for about 10 min too. Make sure you are not wearing tight bras or underwire bras as that will make it worst. If it continued, I would recommend seeing a breast specialist physician to have a breast ultrasound done. Also diet changes such as lowering your fat and sugar intake will help as well.
pls whenerver my wife is breastfeeding there is always a compliain of breast pain and swelling breast and the doctor said its mastitis but the problem this time is a kind worse.the swollen breast and a kind of lumps inside and whenever she masages it with warm water there come out pores.what can we do on this Doc.
It sound like she is having chronic plugged ducts. I would recommend the warm moist heat and massaging while she is pumping or breastfeeding. She can also submerge the breast in a basin of warm water mixed with epsome salts. If she has a fever or chills and the breast turns red, that would be a sign of mastitis, but it does sound more like a clog. You can also have her take an over the counter vitamin called lecithin which will help make the milk less sticky and prevent the clogs from happening. Visit my website and read the article on clogged ducts for further dosage instructions. If the problem continued, I would consult with a lactation consultant close to you to evaluate the baby’s latch to make sure that there it is not the way the baby is latching that is causing the issue. Best of luck.
Hello, I’ve been having a problem with a plugged milk duct in my nipple for years now. My youngest is 2 yearsold and while breastfeeding her my duct in my nipple clogged so bad. It was like a marble in my nipple and I couldn’t handle the pain to let her latch on. I read up on what to do, I took a hot shower and put a hot wash cloth on it until my milk was flowing out and begun trying to extract it manually. It finally popped like a giant pimple along with blood. Which was so releaving! I was finally able to let her latch on and drain that breast to keep the duct from clogging. After I stopped breastfeeding her for the next 2 years my duct would continue to clog land cause discomfort so every other day I would manually extract a thick whitish yellow substance. I am currently pregnant and once again experiencing the same thing, every other day from my nipple down into my breast I’ll get a sharp pain. And I’ll manually extract from that one duct thick white milk, the rest of my ducts on nipple release liquid instantly except for that one duct. But once I get out all of the thick white stuff liquid follows. I’mconcerned to breastfeed again because I’m terrified of the pain I went through with my last. What do I need to do to prevent this duct from clogging every day? Please help!
Two things I would recommend, is to first consult with a breast specialist who could maybe order a ductogram of that nipple pore to see if there is a papiloma (benign mass) inside that duct. It is very unusual to have the problem continue past lactation. While you are nursing (as long as you don’t have a history of depression) I would highly recommend taking lecithin capsules to help prevent recurring clogs. The dosage instructions are in my article Plugged ducts. Let me know if you have any further questions. Best of luck
I have an unemptied milk duct at the far right side of my left breast and no amount of repositioning has allowed me to unplug it. I’ve tried pumping in order to unplug it and I’ve tried to massage it out as well to no avail. And if I were to position my son to empty the duct it is at an awkward angle with his head in my lap and his body away from me, ya he doesn’t like that very much. What do I do!? He’s only two weeks old and has an obscenely small mouth so it is very difficult for me to empty my breast fully. Would you have any suggestions for me? I’m starting to get flu like symptoms… no fever yet though.
I would highly recommend breast compressions in that area as you are doing, and a warm moist compress 10 min prior to feeding. You may be a very good canidate for lecithin which is the vitamin I recommended in my article. That will make the milk less sticky and flow better. Another great tip, is to find an essential oil rep and buy their “Citrus Blend” formula. Rub that on the effected area 3 times a day, and it does wonders for unclogging a persistant duct. The other thing would be to soak your breast is a bowl of warm water and epsom salts. That should help too. Hang in there, it gets better.
I am breastfeeding only. My baby is two months old. This is my third child. Never had any breast related problems with the first two. I started developing clogged ducts about a month ago, and had at least four. My baby was on every two hour schedule during the day, and on demand at night. She now only wakes up every 3.5-4 hours at nighttime eat. I just had plugged duct resolved yesterday. But I am really afraid that another one will develop soon. It is a very painful experience. I want to start lecithin. What dose should I start with? Is it safe for the baby?
Yes lecithin is very safe for the baby and I highly recommend it for chronic plugged ducts. I would follow the dosage listed in the article. 1200mg capsules 3 times a day. If you begin to feel meloncholy then I would decrease the lecithin. However, that only happens in women with a history of depression. Make sure when you are feeding that you are doing good breast compressions the entire feed to help move the milk more quickly. Best of luck to you. It gets better!!
I have to say I love your site. It’s been very helpful for all of us. When my baby was about 2months I had a mastitis/abscess – maybe due to a over abundant milk supply. I didn’t give up though. Now she is 7-8 months old and I have to go back to work. I started the process of weaning very gradually and luckily without another mastitis/abscess round. On the first day of weaning I started to feel a very hard area in my breast and found a white spot in the nipple (strangely it didn’t hurt) I tried for some days to remove it or remove the milk, but didn’t work. At the hospital the doc removed the white spot with a needle and a lot of watery milk came out. My problem is that from time to time I have this same duct “plugged” again (I hope that, even after following your instructions, if the white spot does not come out but the milk is coming out bit by bit at least I dont get an infection/inflammation). The doc had never heard of the lecithin, but I started anyway.
My questions are: 1. I can still go on with the weaning, right? 2. how long does it take for the lecithin to effect? I am on my first week and still have some plugs, I started with only 2 capsules a day because my weight is very low due to the breastfeeding (38kg). THANKS A LOT FOR ANY HELP!
Yes you can continue weaning while taking the lecithin that is just fine. YOu can always soak your breast with epsom salts and warm water. Also a citrus blend essential oils rubbed on your breasts help tremendously. Great job on breastfeeding so long!
I am definitely not one to post but I do read a lot of walls like this in the effort to get through breastfeeding hurdles. I have had toe-curling pain in my left breast for the last three weeks and had no idea why. I finally saw a lactation consultant and she pointed out that I had a bleb. It wouldn’t go away with just breastfeeding or pumping, and I tried just a warm compress but that takes too long to heal. And I sure as heck wasn’t going to pop it myself, but I need fast results! So I came across a site that gave me the secret. Now I don’t want to count my chickens just yet, but I did this and the bleb went away in 2 tries. The first try took 50% of it. Just take the cap of the bottle or a shot glass and fill with warm/hot water. Cover your nipple for a little bit, then take olive oil on a cotton ball/pad and rest it atop your nipple (make sure you have a nursing pad on your bra). Cover the olive oil pad with your bra and leave there for 5 minutes or so. Voila! My bleb went away after 2 times and the pain is starting to subside and I don’t see any bleb. Hope this helps!!
Thank you for your thoughtful response and helpful tip!! Glad you are feeling better.
First, thank you for your time and knowledge! It was difficult to believe when I found this site at all the responses and information shared. I have had a few plugged ducts on one side only when my milk came in. I took lecithin for the recurring plug and continue to take one daily for prevention. My issue now a month later is, my breast that had the plugs is still not producing adequately and has a remaining hard spot. Im stumped on what to do. Will it remain damaged with a hard lump? Will it be anle to produce again?
There can be residual scar tissue from clogged ducts and mastitis. I’m glad you are taking lecithin that will help. As for the hard mass, you can try soaking your breast in a bowl of warm water with epsom salts for about 10 min prior to feeding. You can then massage that area towards your nipple in a downward motion. Try this for a couple of times. You can also get citrus blend essential oils, mix it with coconut oil, and rub it on the effected area. It is very normal for one breast to produce more then the other side in general. However one thing you can do is always start each feed on the breast that produces less. Because the baby will be more hungry, the suck will be stronger. If the lump doesn’t go away, you may want to consult with your doctor to have ultrasound therapy done to break down the mass and have it checked out. Hope this helps.
I am not sure if I have a clogged duct or possibly the beginning phase of mastitis. My baby is a week old. My whole breast is red and rock hard. I have been nursing my baby on that side with no relief. I tried just about everything warm compresses, cold, nursing baby on all fours, I want to scream
You want to start with ice/cold compress to reduce inflammation. Then you want to add the moist heat as needed. You are engorged most likely vs mastitis. Mastitis you feel as if you have the flu. I never recommend feeding a baby on all fours as that will not allow the baby to latch deep enough to empty the breast adequately. Try soaking the breast in a bowl of warm water with epsom salts. If the baby is not able to drain the breast, then I would use a pump to relieve the milk. Make sure you save the milk. Another thing that works beautifully is citrus blend essential oil mixed with coconut oil or olive oil. Rub this on your breasts as needed. However, the big thing is to do ice compress 10 min prior to feeding or pumping. Hang in there it gets better.
I stopped breastfeeding cold turkey three days ago after getting painful mastitis and huge lumps in both breasts (the size of clementines). My doctor put me on Dicloxicillin and I have been taking ibuprofen for pain but I am still in a great amount of pain. What can I do to discourage milk production while trying to reduce the pain/size of the mass in each breast?
Hi there. I am so sorry to hear about your infection. One option you may want to try, especially with your history of infection would be to pump to empty and then start the weaning process from scratch. I have an article on weaning that will give you specific instructions on what you need to do. I also have a recent article on homeopathic treatment for mastitis and plugged ducts. That you may find helpful as well. What you pump you can give to your baby. Some mothers find the idea of pumping and providing a healthy alternative because we are able to get the milk flowing and prevent infection. However, if you do decide to completely wean I would start with the peppermint oil and cabbage leaf treatment ASAP. Best of luck.
Hi! I’m a first time mom and full time breastfeed. I have a lump under my right nipple, it’s hard and sore. It’s not red, and I’m not sure if it’s a clogged duct. From everything I’ve read, it seems like it may be. I’ve been applying a heating pad, and I’m still in pain. What would you recommend, and what else can it be? Thank you so much!
It definitely sounds like a clogged duct. You want to use moist heat however, not dry heat. You can also soak your breast in a basin of warm water with epsom salts and then massage the clog towards the nipple. This will help to get the clog moving. Do this about 10 minutes prior to feeding, each time you feed until the clog is gone. You can also try some essential oil blends such as a “citrus Blend”. Simply rub that on the clogged area and it should release. I hope this helps. After a few soaks it should be feeling much better.
Just came across this and figured I would share my way of getting rid of those blocked ducts! It works everytime! Sounds strange but works! Lay baby on back on hard surface (floor) and get over top of baby on hands and knees. Breastfeed while over top of baby (gravity and the sucking action will remove the blocked duct) may take to or three feedings but works every time I’ve had one! Be careful to hold yourself up so you don’t cover baby’s nose!
Just found out I’m preg with my fourth child. My current youngest is now six. I did not breastfeed him as it was incredibly painful. My first and second children were breast fed easily. I have realised the pain is from small white lumps around each nipple. I have about 5-8 on each side. Since becoming pregnant, these have become very sore again. I am guessing these are clogged ducts. My baby is not due for 7 months. Is there anything I can do to clear these up before bub comes? I have an electric pump. Should I start using it to try to clear them?
Hi Cindy. You never want to use a breast pump while you are pregnant as it can throw you into pre-term labor. You are still early on in your pregnancy. What you are seeing are your montgomery glands. Those lumps form to help sterilize your breast naturally when your baby is feeding and aid in guiding the baby to the breast once he is born. Best thing to do is leave them be. The pain you may be feeling is your hormonal changes due to your breast changing, preparing to make milk for your new little one. This should subside soon. Clogged ducts wont form until after your mature milk has come in. You can place a warm moist wash cloth on that area if you would like to to help with the discomfort. Most likely, with good positioning, your breasts shouldn’t hurt this time around. If it does begin to hurt, you may want to try and meet with a lactation consultant right away. It isn’t supposed to hurt, so when it does, it simply means that something needs to be adjusted. Best of luck.
Hi, thank you for this article very helpful. I have been ebf for 4 mos. I have a question- I have been batteling a plugged duct/blockage on my left breast for a few weeks. I think there are several within the breast and 1 bleb on nipple – I attempted to puncture it but now everytime infested with it I seem to just pull back skin… A couple
Days ago I woke up in excruciating pain, went to doc and confirmed it was mastitis. While I am on antibiotics my biggest fear is the mastitis will keep returning as baby cannot seem to drain breast fully. I try pumping on full speed but it drains at one slow drop (use to spray out of several spots). I tried nursing on all fours .The only way I have see the breast spray is if I literally do a titty twister and push as hard as i can into breast .ive done it for 20 mins but it still seems like i can’t fully get the milk out. When I first did this a yellow like substance was oozing out for a while along with milk. do you know what this was? Infection? Clog? I’m worried about letchin as baby is MSPI. Would sunflower work the same? Will it help clear blockage? I feel like clearing the blockage is the most important right now to prevent recurring infection. Any help is greatly appreciated.
I am so sorry to hear that you are having so many problems. Yes sunflower lecithin would work the same. I would also recommend taking Vitamin C 1000mg a day and doing soaks of warm water and epsom salts to help relieve the pressure. Soaking for 10 min prior to feeding or pumping will do wonders. Also you can try essential oils citrus blend mixed with coconut oil rubbed on the breast and it will take the clog right away. Hope you start feeling better soon. The yellow substance could be from the infection, but most likely was just concentrated milk.
Any advice if we have tried all of the above? Going on 2 months with milk blister and had mastitis once. So frustrating living in fear i will get it again as this milk cannot seem to be emptied by baby . I hand express it after every feeding but it is hard at 3 am to stay up an extra 30-45 mins plus….why is something so natural so darn complicated? I have a lc but she says warm compresses. After one month this is gettin annoying can nothing else be done?please help!
Please HELP!!! I got a plugged duct like 4 days ago,first days I could not resist the pain,but I continue pumping and nursing my baby,but I notice my milk production decreased,i started to use the freezer bags that I had,but now they are getting fewer and fewer,i went to see a nursing consultant,and she said that I’m doing the right thing by putting warm compress and pumping every 2-3 ours. Is there a chance that my milk is not going to come anymore?
I am so sorry to hear that you are having so many problems. Your milk will come back, you just have to tell it to. You are doing the right thing with the warm moist compresses. You can also soak your breast in a basin of warm water and epsom salts to help relieve the pressure. Soaking for 10 min prior to feeding or pumping will do wonders. Also you can try essential oils such as a citrus blend mixed with coconut oil rubbed on the breast and it will take the clog right away. If you are still not getting your supply back, you can try some herbs such as “More Milk Plus” capsules or Mothers Milk Tea Shadavari Cardamom. Hope you start feeling better soon.
For the past 3 days I have had the chills and a sore L breast with some pinkness on a part of the skin and a hard part on my nipple that won’t soften up like the other. I googled remedies I have been massaging doing hot compresses and pumping/feeding often. It hurts when she feeds off that breast for the first minute really badly! I was surprised when I called my dr office and the nurse told me he would just massage it and told me to do some of the remedies first and continue taking the ibuprofen I’ve been taking to help the pain and fever symptoms. Quite frankly I’m still nervous and it’s the weekend. My milk looks the same from each breast.. Although I did notice two different color milks coming out of that breast today one ower and one watery regular looking.. I am just nervous now nut your website so far has been very helpful just reading thru.. Please help the chills & pains are killing me!
Sorry for those typos. So when I got up this morn I hadda take more medicine.. Once the ibuprofen wares out I get the chills bad.. I was super cold and then an hour later I was sweating like a pig, I felt weird so I went to take my temp it was 101.3 under tongue and my breast looked more swollen and pinker.. I pumped a bit to relieve some pressure and applied compresses.. Now I’m scared just trying to relax..
Hopefully you went to the doctor and were given some antibiotics, as this sounded like the start of mastitis. Hope you are feeding well now.
I apologize I’m just now seeing this. I would hope things are better by now and that it wasn’t mastitis. Most likely it was just your milk coming in. Hope things are going better for you now.
Hello. I was exclusively pumping to make enough milk for my twins. When that still did not work I also supplemented with formula and got my first bout of mastitis. I have since stopped pumping. Somewhat trying to wean but also cold turkey. I got another case so plugged ducts and mastitis. Currently on antibiotics which seem to be helping but I am still having sharp needle pains all over my breasts and chest and these are unbearable. What causes these and how can I get rid of them without promoting milk production?
The shooting pains could be the beginning of a yeast infection. To be sure I would visit your doctor or a lactation consultant and make sure. You would need to have diflucan on board if that is the case.
Hi thanks for such great advice and info. I’m just wondering if it’s normal to get recurrent clogged ducts in the same spot in the same breastfeeding? My little one is nearly a year and I have had clogged ducts about 4 times in the same spot. Luckily none developed into mastitis but I’m just making sure this is normal and there is nothing more sinister to it! Also is there anything you would recommend to stop these occurring again? I don’t want to take lecithin as I suffered from some post natal after he was born. Thanks so much for your help
It could be that you have more fibrous breast tissue there. You can always ask your doctor for a ultrasound to rule out any underlying cause. You may have success with using essential oil Citrus Blend to reduce the clogs. Rub it on the effected breast once a day, and you will see your clogs decrease greatly.