I’ve had a lot of questions on Instagram about plugged ducts, causes and management. I address this topic in detail in my Breastfeeding Hurdles and How-to’s class. I’m going to answer a few of your questions on the topic directly today!
“How do I know if I have a plugged duct or mastitis?”
Mastitis means inflammation of the breast tissue, and comes in different forms, including plugged ducts. A plugged duct means that a milk duct is not draining properly and milk is getting stopped up in that area. If a plugged duct is managed improperly, it can lead to an infection of the breast tissue.
Here are some signs that you have a plugged duct (1):
- tender spot
- sore lump
- no fever
- comes on gradually
- may shift in location
- little or no warmth to the touch
- feel generally well
“I keep getting plugged ducts! What do I do?”
Like I mentioned, it’s important to manage plugged ducts properly, so you don’t develop a breast tissue infection.
Here are some ways to treat and alleviate plugged ducts (2):
- ensure a good latch (asymmetrical latch technique)
- frequent nursing (at least every 2 hours on affected side)
- alternate breastfeeding positions
- gentle breast massage in circular motion
- warm compress 10-20 min before feeding
- loosen constrictive clothing (bra underwire)
- Don’t use breast shells
- Get more rest
- Decrease stress
Want more great tips like these to get breastfeeding off to a good start? Click the image below!
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
- Lawrence, R., & Lawrence, R. (1998). Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession (5th edition). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
- Mohrbacher, N., & Stock, J. (2003). La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book (3rd edition). Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International.