“I keep getting plugged ducts! Help!”

How to relieve breast pain while breastfeeding via lactationlink.com

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!

best tips for plugged ducts via lactationlink.com“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
  • redness
  • 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?”

best tips for plugged ducts via lactationlink.comLike 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!

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

References

  1. Lawrence, R., & Lawrence, R. (1998). Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession (5th edition). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
  1. Mohrbacher, N., & Stock, J. (2003). La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book (3rd edition). Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International.