Clogged ducts

Clogged ducts

What is a clogged duct?

During lactation, a clogged milk duct also known as plugged, blocked ducts occurs when a milk duct becomes obstructed, hindering the flow of breast milk to the nipple. Your breast comprised of a network of milk duct, or mammary ducts, which serves as a tube-like passages transporting milk from breast tissue to the nipples.

When these ducts are compressed due to factors such as inflammation in the surrounding soft tissues and blood vessels, milk can accumulate, leading to blockage. Symptoms of clogged milk duct include the presence of red, tender and painful lump in the breast. If left untreated, it can escalate to an infection. Hence, it is crucial to recognize the indication of a clogged duct and learn how to manage it effectively. 

Sign and symptoms:

  • Hardened lump (marble like feeling on a specific area of the breast)
  • Pain and tender at the lump area
  • Pain during letdown
  • Swelling near the lump area (not the whole breast)
  • The lump moves and gets smaller after a pumping or nursing session
  • Discomfort that subsides after pumping or nursing 


  • Shallow or improper latching 
  • Improper pumping (wrong flange size)
  • A change in pumping schedule (eg during weaning off, baby started solids)
  • Skipped a pumping or a nursing session
  • Pressure against the breast (tight fitting bra)


  • Look out for the cause of clogged ducts 
  • Gently massage the breast without exerting too much pressure 
  • Latch or pump the affected breast. If latching, latch regularly. If pumping, pump following your schedule. 
  • Change breastfeeding positions if youre direct latching. Face baby's chin towards the lump area. 
  • Apply cold pack on the affected side for a short period of time to reduce pain and swelling 
  • Epsom salt soak
  • Take paracetamol for pain
  • Use a well fitting supportive nursing bra
  • Consult a lactation consultant if clogged duct doesnt get better in 24 hours 

How do you know if the clogged duct is cleared:

Not feeling a lump is the best way to tell if a clogged duct has cleared. You may see an extra thick milk if you hand express or pump the milk, this is likely the clog. 

Red flags:

  • Fever, cold chills, body aches, flu-like symptoms 
  • Clogged duct is getting larger 
  • Having recurrent clogged ducts 

How do we help mothers at Breastfeed with Simran;

  • History taking, to understand your breastfeeding history, routine first by Simran, Lactation Consultant
  • Look out for the root cause 
  • Breast massage to relieve the clogged ducts followed by breast pumping
  • Advice on management plan at home 
  • Ways to prevent clogged ducts in future

For breastfeeding consultation, may click the link, Click to book your slot

whatsapp +60102952717

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