Treatments for blocked milk ducts
If you develop a tender area on the breast, or a red, sore lump, then you probably have a blocked milk duct. This can happen any time while you are breastfeeding, and is usually caused by something obstructing the free flow of milk, causing the milk to collect in one of the alveoli. As the pressure builds, it causes a tender lump. A blocked milk duct can be due to:
- A bra that is too small, or too tight (or under wires, which are definitely a 'no-no' while breastfeeding).
- Compression from a baby sling, seat belt or sleeping for prolonged periods on your tummy. Be aware of anything that can compress your the breasts for prolonged periods. Even clothes such as strapless dresses, or pulling clothing up under your armpits while breastfeeding can help to block the milk ducts.
- Using your fingers to depress the breast in one spot, when trying to keep your breast tissue away from your baby's nose, or holding tightly onto your breast while you feed. Always 'handle with care'.
- Bruising or injury to the breasts.
- Incorrect positioning of the baby on the breast and not allowing your baby to feed on demand, or restricting the length of feeds, can also play a role in causing blocked milk ducts.
Last revised: Thursday, 20 December 2012
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.