Plugged Duct

What is a plugged duct?

Plugged ducts are common in breastfeeding mothers. A plugged milk duct feels like a tender and sore lump in the breast. You should not have a fever or other symptoms.

A plugged duct happens when a milk duct does not drain properly. Pressure then builds up behind the plug, and surrounding tissue gets inflamed. A plugged duct usually happens in one breast at a time.

If your plugged duct doesn’t loosen up, ask for help from a lactation consultant. Plugged ducts can lead to a breast infection.

What are the symptoms of Plugged Duct?
  • Breast tenderness
  • Sore lump in breast

What is the treatment for Plugged Duct?
  • Breastfeed on the affected side as often as every two hours. This will help loosen the plug and keep your
    milk moving freely.
  • Aim your baby’s chin at the plug. This will focus his suck on the duct that is affected.
  • Massage the area, starting behind the sore spot. Move your fingers in a circular motion and massage toward
    the nipple.
  • Use a warm compress on the sore area.
  • Get extra sleep, or relax with your feet up to help speed healing. Often a plugged duct is a sign that a mother is doing too much.
  • Wear a well-fitting supportive bra that is not too tight, since this can constrict milk ducts. Consider trying a bra without underwire.
  • If you have plugged ducts that keep coming back, seek help from an IBCLC.

Who can help diagnose/treat Plugged Duct?
  • Lactation Consultant (LC)