help.........clogged Milk Duct??????????

Updated on March 15, 2008
K.B. asks from Aberdeen, MD
85 answers

Hi,
Does anyone know what could be wrong w/me all the sudden?? I am nursing and starting about 24 hrs ago my breast has become more and more sore and an area of it has become VERY HARD. THE hardened area seems to be growing and becoming more and more sore. It is 9:30 pm right now and I dont know what to do. Also the one breast has doubled its size. Like full of milk but even if I nurse the baby it dont help although she seems to be getting milk. VERY STRANGE ! and starting to scare me. Thanks,
K.

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So What Happened?

Thanks! Each and every one of you for responding so caringly. :) I think it is going away already and I talked to someone in charge of breastfeeding at the local hospital. thanks for helping me calm down. :)

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L.R.

answers from Dover on

I would call you doctor ASAP and let them know what is goin on. You could have mastitis. What that is is an infection of the milk supply if i remember correctly either way call them to be on the safe side

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

The same thing happened to me shortly after coming home from the hospital. try taking a hot shower (as hot as possible) and then massaging the breast (while in the shower). It is going to be uncomfortable, but massage the breast using a downward stroke-toward the nipple, with both hands. I have also heard of hot compresses on the breast. (wet and heat a towel and place over the breast for 2-3 minutes then repeat.

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R.J.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
The best suggestion that I received while having a clogged milk duct was to take a very hot shower and massage the engorged breast, sounds very simple, but it worked for me! Hope this helps!

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D.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
I am glad to read that you are feeling better. I am a late reader. I was reading some of the responses and noticed one response was to use cabbage. I just wanted to let you know the the lactation nurse also told me to put Cabbage on each breast inside my bra and not to leave there too long because it could potentially dry your milk up. At first it sounded crazy but I was desperate and my god it worked like a charm!

1 mom found this helpful
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S.H.

answers from Richmond on

Go to the doctor and have yourself checked for mastitis. I had it with mine, and it is extremely painful, and will only go away with an antibiotic. DO NOT STOP breastfeeding though.... the best thing you can do for it is to continue to breastfeed, and then pump (if you have one available) afterwards to completely empty your breast.
To help with the pain, try a warm shower and massaging the hard area of the breast to try and loosen up the clogged duct.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi,
I've had about 10 clogged milk ducts in the last 2 months. Here is what works for me...before nursing, wet a hand towel and heat it in the microwave. Wrap it around your breast and then place a dry towel over top. This helps draw out the hardened milk. I sometimes put a heating pad over top of the wet hand towel. Massage from the outside of the breast towards the center--this hurts but it pushes the clog forward. I do this from 10 to 30 minutes before nursing. Then, I try to nurse with my baby laying on the bed and my breast down. This way gravity helps pull the clog and I am able to massage downwards. I also get in the shower and massage the clog forward. Also in the shower, cup your hands and let the nipple remain in the warm/hot water for awhile. Sometimes here you can see the clog (white spot on the nipple) and can pick at it to loosen it--sounds gross but works. I saw a lactation consultant and she is the one who told me to do all of this. She also said to nurse often or pump. It doesn't always work right away. I have found that they eventually go away on their own if I can't get them out because the breast stops producing milk in those ducts. Your supply may be lower because of it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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W.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I struggled with plugged ducts when I was nursing. Warm compresses, hot showers and gentle massage help relieve some pressure (alternate with ice pacts), but honestly the best thing ever is to start taking Lecithin supplements 3x/day with meals-- it was a miracle cure for me. I found that advice in the Sears Breastfeeding Book. Good luck. If you develop a fever be sure to call your doctor because it could be an infection that needs to be treated.

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L.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Apply heat and knead it. It hurts but it works. I had the same thing happen to me and thought I had a breast lump. I saw the dr and this is what they told me to do. They have heating pads for breasts sold by the breast pump/accessories. YOu can put them in the microwave and then put it on your breast. It does sound like a clogged duct. Good luck!

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J.J.

answers from Richmond on

hey,
sounds like you have clogged milk ducts. use a warm moist compress over the hardened area as much as you can, use an electric pump if you have one and massage the hardened area while you pump. it is very painful.....i'm sorry and hope it gets better!
jj

p.s. if you start to feel achy and run a fever call your doctor.....it could be mastitis which may require medicine

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J.C.

answers from Washington DC on

I had that happen to me... do you have a pump? You need to nurse or pump through it and it hurts!!! Also, if you start to feel flu-like symptoms (aches, chills and fever)you might need antibiotics. Clogged duct could become Mastitis...
Good luck.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Yikes!! This is painful. See your doctor. Nurse, or pump first on this breast. Hot compresses, lots of motrin. This is called mastitus. Not sure on the spelling. You may need antibiotics, and can become very serious. I hope I helped, been through it a couple of times, good luck!!

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A.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi there,
Massage it a lot!!!! Some old tale remedies swear by cabbage leaves.....(cover your breasts in the leaves) it is important you'll never let it go so hard, that you'll end up w/ a fever.....I would put the baby on it a lot. Even if she isn't hungry.... (that was my trick) good luck!
Agi

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A.T.

answers from Norfolk on

Go see the Dr. You can also apply a heating pad to the breast several minutes before the next feeding. This will allow the milk duct to open up more. I would definitely see the dr though if it does not improve. It could lead to Mastitis, and believe me you don't want that.

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A.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Sorry, that is exactly what it is. the solution is painful, KEEP NURSING... Don't skip that breast. Also warm compresses. The baby is more effective than any pump so let the baby keep nursing on both sides every time you nurse. Start with that side so the nursing is more vigorous. Should clear in a few days... if you notice severe inflamation, see your doc, could turn into mastitis.

Try massaging a little in very warm shower just before nursing!
Good Luck! Oh, yeah... NO UNDERWIRE NURSING BRAS!!!
A.

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J.D.

answers from Washington DC on

The same thing happened to me. I had mastitis. It's when the clogged milk duct becomes infected. I had to take an antibiotic. Warm compresses also helped.

J.

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D.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Hey K.,

It sounds like your breasts are engorged. I would take a warm washcloth and place it on your breast or take a warm shower. Gently rub from the top toward the nipple to get the milk flowing again. Also, pump it out periodically. Your child may not be nursing enough to deplete your milk supply, so pump it and store it for the future....If you still have difficulty I would call a lactation specialist. I think there is an organization on the web you can call if it doesn't get better.

Best!

D.

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L.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I had this with #3. You got to get it flowing. If the baby can't do it, do you have a pump - hand or machine? Also warm cloths were helpul plus massage or a warm shower. Definitely call the doctor if it gets too bad because it can get infected.

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A.H.

answers from Dover on

Warm compresses and nurse...nurse....nurse. The baby has got to empty that breast to unplug the duct. If you have a pump that would be great!! When the baby is nursing have his/her nose lined up with the lump. That is where the strongest sucking will occur (at the top of baby's mouth) and help to empty it. Also you can massage while the baby nurses to help. I know that sounds painful...just try as much as you can. I use to make a hot bath and soak in it tummy side down to ease the pain.

WARNING: If you start to get fever or chills and/or pain in the whole breast it could be Mastitis (a breast infection). While it sounds scarey, you will make it. Been there...done that. It's very painful but with an antibiotic from your doctor it will clear up.

Either way just make sure you keep emptying the breast via baby or pump. FYI: It "is" safe for a baby to feed on infected breast.

If it hasn't cleared up within a few hours I would call a doctor. You don't want your milk supply to drop. And once again...even though that sounds scarey, been there....done that... You can fix that too with a pump. :-)

I went through plugged milk ducts, mastitis, and dropped milk supply when my baby was about 3 and 4 months old. I got through it and was able to breastfeed him until he was 16 months old. :-)

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J.G.

answers from Norfolk on

K.,
Get in a warm shower and massage the hard area of your breast do this while nursing/pumping and it should start to ease up. I've had the same problem before and this has worked but if it doesn't work for you try finding a lactation consultant.

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K.B.

answers from Charlotte on

Hi there - I had this problem as well when i was nursing my daughter. you aren't going to believe the advice i am about to give, but much research yielded this reply...

Look at the nipple of your sore breast - look closely and you will most likely see a small white spot - similar to that of a whitehead pimple. it is now your mission to pop this white dot. you can squeeze it, scratch it, and all else fails, use a sterilized pin. that's what i had to do. after you pop the white dot, squeeze your breast over the sink and you will most certainly release your blocked duct - it will be gross, i warn you!

good luck!!

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N.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I've had that twice. It is definitely a clogged milk duct. Try taking a warm bath or putting some heat to your breast and try to massage the clog, and then try feeding your baby. Another thing that helped me was trying a different position, like side-lying to feed her. One time it unclogged the first feeding and the other time it took a couple days. I was afraid of it developing into mastitis so I went to the OBGYN and they gave me an antibiotic. Hope this helps! I know it's painful and scary.

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R.J.

answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like it could be mastitis. My daughter had this and the doctor treated it with an antibiotic. I believe it was no danger to the baby but boy was my daughter hurting! Call you doctor....be well.

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H.K.

answers from Richmond on

Hi
Keep on feeding on the sore breast, that will take care of the problem - even if it hurts. Next feed, start on that one as that's when the baby is most hungry. You have clogged milk ducts and it needs to come out. I had it many times, but a couple of months ago I developed really hi fever and I thought I got the flu at the same time as the sore breast. Try to massage the area and warm up a pillow or something in the micro and keep over your chest.
Good luck and keep on feeding!!

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M.H.

answers from Norfolk on

I had this over the weekend. I took a warm bath and massage my breast in the area that was hard. When i got out of the bath I made sure My baby was really hungry and nursed her. i also nursed on the same breast for the next feeding. my body was starting to ache like i had the flu before I took the bath. it felt alot better after the bath and feeding, then after the second feeding I was feeling like myself. Hope this works for you.

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T.P.

answers from Washington DC on

I had this problem when I was nursing too. Although you should still contact your doctor, a warm shower helped soothe my breasts and also got the milk flowing to relieve the pressure. Please do contact your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on.

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C.M.

answers from Washington DC on

This happened with me. What my mother instructed me to do is to extract the milk by hand into a sterilized bottle. Your baby may prefer one breast over the other because it takes more "work". She may be sucking and not be doing it efficienty. If you feel your engorged breast with you fingers you will feel the ducts...massage them and you will be suprised at how quickly the milk releases. I eventually did this instead of using a breast pump. Don't give up.

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A.D.

answers from Washington DC on

In our African tradition elders recommend that in such a case to just put some parsil in a mixer. Mix it and wrap your breast with the parsil for 15 minutes. If you press your breast after that the milk will flow out.

Believe it not but it really works !

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J.C.

answers from Richmond on

Yes, it sounds like a plugged duct, which will become an infection if it is not cleared.

I've had millions of these, and finally came to a place of being able to thwart 99% of the impending infections. It took me five babies to figure it out!!

At first sign of a plugged duct, I do the following protocol, taught to me by my wise midwife: take a 20 minute hot bath and soak the affected breast in as hot of water as I can tolerate. Then, massage the affected area, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but is necessary to the process being successful. Your goal is to break up the affected area's plug, after it's been softened up by the hot water. Following the hot bath and massage you then want to empty the breast, ideally by having your baby nurse off that side for as long as she/he'll nurse. When you nurse, whenever it is that you nurse while you have a plugged duct, always start and end with that breast if possible. The more you can get your baby to nurse on that side, the better for the breast. Don't exclusively nurse the affected side, though, as your other breast could run into trouble... Try to take a hot bath 3-4 times per day for the best possible chances of avoiding antibiotics. You will have to enlist some other grown-up help to enable this, of course, unless you have a magic baby that sleeps exactly when you need to soak. A note: while applying heat to the affected area can be of help, it does not do the job nearly as well as a good soak in a hot tub. The hot water envelopes the breast, allowing the heat to just impact it as thoroughly as possible. Don't skip this important step, or the protocol really won't be effective. As pesky as it is, sometimes, to make a soak happen, it is really worth taking the time to do this.

Along with the above protocol, I up my intake of vitamin C to boost my body's ability to fight infection. I take 1000 mg 3-4 times per day.

The last and also really **key** piece of my effective protocol is a homeopathis remedy called Phytolacca. My midwife also turned my on to this, and it has been a godsend. If you'd like to know more about this, drop me an email and I'll give you more details. I haven't had a single infection since she taught me about this remedy, and I used to get several breast infections a year.

Good luck to you.
Warmly,
Jen.
[email protected]____.com

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T.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi. I am not a doctor, but I wd think contacting the LaLeche League or a similar organization, calling a nurse w/your ins. co. (some have 24-hr on-call.) By now, I sure hope that you've had some relief and have called your dr.
Good luck w/this.

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C.S.

answers from Washington DC on

please go see your doctor immediately. I am an OR nurse and have see people get a mastectomy from mastitis (if you have it), get checked!

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M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello, also same thing happened to me, helped to get in a hot shower and let the hot water run down your chest. then gently massage the lump pushing toward the nipple to express some out. Like previously said, pumping or more small frequent feeding of your baby may help releive the pressure.

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C.P.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi there. So sorry you are going through this and wish I saw it last night.

OK first off, if the baby is only a couple of days old, then it could just be your milk "coming in" which is a sudden abundance. However, if that is not it, then it does sound like a clog.

Here is how to help with a clogged milk duct:

Apply warm compresses to the area that is getting too full - this will soften whatever milk has hardened in there. Also clean the nipple with warm water, in case the clog is right there at the tip. So apply the compress for a few minutes, and then lean forward over a sink or the tub or something and press gently with the palm of your hand in downward strokes towards the nipple. This will help press out the milk.

If the problem had just started, I would say apply the warm compresses and then nurse the baby on that side - I think they recommend that you have the baby's chin pointed in the direction of the clog, for maximum suction. But if this has progressed for a couple of days and is extremely large and painful, then I would do the manual "expression" of milk if I were you. One you start getting results, you could then either pump or nurse.

Hopefully you will get the clog taken care of, and there will be no more problem. If you start experiencing redness along with the swelling, or a fever, call your doctor.

After all the ups and down I had with nursing, I recommend that everyone nursing add acidophilous to their diet - can get at a health food store or natural market near you - I recommend the live cultures in powder (or capsule) form. They are like what you get in yogurt, only more concentrated, and will help ensure the balance in your digestive tract and in your milk ducts, to prevent possibly thrush infections.

I really hope this helped!

C.

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C.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Ouch! Had this happen to me also. I thought a hot/warm shower would work but it only made it worse. The breast is swelling and the heat will only make it worse! I called the lactation nurse and she told me no hot showers or hot/warm compresses. I was so engorged and could not have a let down, until after I spoke with her. The cold compresses worked best for me. I know this sounds so silly but, I used cold soda cans. I put one under my breast and used another one to roll down my breast and it was like an instant milk stream!!! Hallelujah!!! Hope my crazy experience will help you too! Good luck!!!!

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G.B.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
Wow- sounds painful! Dont panic, but also you should call your doctor as soon as you can. It may just be a blocked milk duct, but I have also had two girlfriends recently get serious infections that had to be treated (they had similar symptoms to you). Two things-
1)if it IS an infection, the doctor did not want the moms to nurse from that side anymore. SO that may be a concern.
2) if its not an infection, it may be the same thing I had when I was breastfeeding (milk duct blockage-type thing) which I treated at home by putting warm, damp compresses on the area that was sore.
Ultimately I was fine, and was able to continue breastfeeing, but if it turns out to be a mastitis, or an infection, its always better safe than sorry...so really try to get your doc on the phone when you can.
Check your temperature- if you have a fever, you should not hesitate to go to your doctor or a clinic that is open if it is still late at night where you are.
Hope you feel better! Best of luck! Most of all, try not to worry-(you dont want to affect your milk flow) either way it can be treated.
Hope this helped.
G.

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G.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
OUCH!! I feel your pain. I have had my share of clogged ducts. As long as you are not seeing any red spots or red lines on your breasts, then you are fine, but keep a close eye on it. (Make sure to call your doctor!)
This is what I did...nurse, nurse, nurse and pump, pump, pump. I also put warm compresses on my breasts. It hurts like the devil but it does work. It usually took me about a day and a half to two days to feel normal. (and for the hardness to go away).
I hope you are feeling better VERY soon!
G.

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T.N.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi there how are you, probably in pain from those swollen breast,The BEST advice i can give is PUMP and PUMP some more. the more you pump it releases the milk from the breast, that way you can have some relief. Tylenol and motrin are a big help. Also standing in the shower let luke warm water run over your back down to your breast while you lean forward this helps the "let down" come faster and also gives relief, when you begin to feel lighter turn the water on cool not cold but cool so that it gives the impressioin of an ice pack. Also you could try the ice pack. another thing is to use warm compresses on your breast and massage the area that is hard, this helps the milk "loosen up". when all else fail see your doctor if you start to have a fever, that could mean mastasis and you may have to get meds to help, but PUMP, PUMP ,PUMP. one more thing even if you are weaning baby from breast still pump untill all the lumps are gone and then use the expressed milk to give baby in a bottle (glass bottle preferably. I have a 7 yr, 5yr, and 10 week old and i breast feed them all. i am not a professional expert but a get rid og pain expert the natrual way is my thing. Hope things work out for you.

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J.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like you have a blocked duct. I had one and it was very painful - worse than the childbirth! What worked for me was having someone take the baby for an hour while I soaked in a hot bathtub and sipped some wine. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked. Hope yours resolves itself soon!

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M.T.

answers from Washington DC on

call your local Le Leche League and they will walk you through teh treatments to try to unclog teh milk duct- stop worrying- everything wil be alright- try cabbge leaves (uncooked)- to sooth teh swelling and rub rhe blocked area- Yes, i know it hurts
good luck

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Take a warm shower, and massage the breast to see if you can work it out. If not, you may need to see your doctor.

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C.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Yep... clogged milk duct. You thought labor was tough... nope, it's breastfeeding!

1) Long hot shower. Pump.

2) Alternating hot compresses (damp towel, put in microwave for a little bit, then place on breast) and cold compresses (bagged, frozen veggetables). Keep pumping.

Cracked and bleeding nipples are worse. Just make sure you keep your nipples dry and not damp all day.

Hang in there!

C.
Mother of 2 - nursed 7 months each

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L.F.

answers from Richmond on

Sounds like it could be mastitis---an infection that is treatable by antibiotics. Get yourself to a doctor quickly---it is horrible and progresses really fast. by now you probably feel terrible and have a slamming headache if it is mastits. the breast may seem hot too.
HTH
L.

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S.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
I just saw your request and i hope you have figured out what to do since its now wednesday evening. but by the sound of it, you have a plugged duct. I had my first one a couple of weeks ago. the best thing i found to do was put heat on it - a hot water bottle or hot bath and then have your baby nurse on that side. massage also helps. I hope this helps!
S.

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A.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I had clogged ducts with the my first child, and it is very painful. Try putting a warm cloth on the breast, and then you need to pump or nurse and massage the breast. The only way to relieve it is to unclog the duct, so you may have to nurse or pump for quite some time. The massaging, hot cloth and pumping routine seemed to work for me. Just don't give up, as it may take time to become unblocked. One recommendation to avoid these in the future is to try different nursing positions each time.
Good luck!

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M.F.

answers from Norfolk on

Have you tried frozen peas on your breast (just in the package)?
I don't know if it would hurt too much to express the milk manually. I kind of just massaged it and "milked" it into the sink until it started to soften. If you have a breast pump, you might be able to try it that way, too. I hope this helps. It is scary and very uncomfortable.

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R.F.

answers from Norfolk on

Please go and see your Doc ASAP. In the meantime, put warm (as hot as you can take) wet towels on the breast for immediate relief. I also went through this and the warm towels helped. Good luck.

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T.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Go to the doctor at once! You could be starting a breast infection. Whatever you do, even through the pain, DON'T STOP NURSING or if you can use a pump, make sure keep milk flowing out of that breast. Infections can be serious stuff.

GO TO THE DOCTOR!!!

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K.R.

answers from Richmond on

Hi K.,
I am so sorry you are having a difficult time...I nursed my son successfully for almost three years, and I used the lactation consultants from Bon Secours as a resource to help me understand so many issues regarding this special time in my life. I would call them first before taking any advice from someone who may be well meaning, but lack the knowledge and expertise you deserve.
Something that helped me was a heating pad compress, and also standing in a warm shower. This could help to relax things and allow your flow to begin.
And my name is K. too!

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T.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I had this a few times in my 6+ years of nursing! Here's what helped.

Massage (esp in a showers), warm compresses, and "directed nursing."

I would stand in a hot shower, directing the spray on the affected spot on my breast. After a few minutes of this I would start massaging the sore/hard spot. I would keep the breast in the water and massage (fairly firmly) with my middle two fingers. Toward the end of the shower I would try to hand-express some milk, making the "C" with my hand such that my thumb was on the lump of milk.

You can massage any time, but the warm shower seems to help "unclog" the duct.

I also made a tiny little rice sock. About 1/2 cup of uncooked rice tied into a sock which I microwaved (not very long! It can burn like popcorn and smell really vile). I could easily hold that small amount of warmth on the bump/duct when my child was nursing.

Nursing can be the biggest help - but I can remember being rather contorted doing this! The strongest "suction" comes from having their bottom lip placed in line with the plugged duct. So (since my plugged ducts always occurred in the same place, on the top on the side of my breast near my armpit) I would actually lay down on the floor and put my kids to the breast upside down (so their top lip pointed toward a hip and their bottom lip pointed toward my armpit). Looked crazy but it worked!

I had to do this every few months. If you have frequent plugged ducts contact your local LLL. Some people have luck with lecithin supplements - I don't know. And never wear tight-fitting bras or underwires!

In all my years of nursing I only got mastitis once - and I didn't have a plugged duct then. But plugged ducts can lead to mastitis, so try to take care of it quickly and stay rested. If you do get fevered and yucky feeling contact your doctor or midwife and they may put you on antibiotics if you have gotten mastitis.

Hang in there!

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B.W.

answers from Washington DC on

It does sound like you have a clogged milk duct. There is a website (www.whattoexpect.com) I have found lots of good advice for every litte question that I could ask. I hope the information there will ease your pain. good luck

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B.E.

answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like you have mastitis. I had this twice when my baby was little. It happens when you get a clogged duct and it gets infected. I would call your doctor- it isn't life threatening, but you may find you get a fever (I did) and sometimes you need antibiotics. I think they recommend you continue to nurse on the infected side if it isn't too painful, but check online or with the doctor.

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T.C.

answers from Washington DC on

you should call the GBMC Lactation Station at the GBMC Hospital. The lactation consultants there have a 24 hour help hotline, a store in the hospital and they give great advice and sell all kids of things to make nursing easier.

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K.R.

answers from Richmond on

Hi K. ~
Probably a clogged milk duct. Same thing happened to me. My lump got almost as big as a grapefruit! I had some breast tissue w/ducts in my underarm that never completely dropped into my breast and developed in my underarm. HEAT!(I think moist is best). Apply heat and try to gently push the milk toward the breast. Also, you might need to pump milk once in awhile to relieve the built up (but not too much, or you'll start to produce too much). See your doctor, because you might have an infection, in which case, you might need an antibiotic. Good luck - I know it's painful.
~ K.

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L.W.

answers from Norfolk on

My midwife, Kristi Zittle, has an amazing homeopathic remedy called Phytolacca -- you can call her at ###-###-#### to get it. Clears mastitis within a day.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.... it sounds like Mastitis, try to keep warm compress' on it and keep nursing on that side... if you start to get flu symptoms call your doctor and get on anti- biotics
good luck!!
~C.

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T.V.

answers from Washington DC on

Try putting a warm damp washcloth on your breast or taking a very warm shower and letting the water run on your clogged breast. Good luck!

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S.D.

answers from Washington DC on

PUMP! -As often as you can between feedings, until you're dry. You need to do this to avoid mastitis.

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J.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi, I would guess that you do have a clogged milk duct. What you need to do is nurse, nurse, nurse! If it's at night and you don't want to wake baby up (never wake a sleeping baby! :) ), it will help to pump. A hot shower can also relieve the pain and with your hand pump out milk. You need to get the milk out, so that it doesn't develop into mastitis! That is painful!!! Good luck! / J.

D.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Call your doctor, or go to the doctor.

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B.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Plugged duct or mastitis- place a warm compress on it and call your OB for an appt today!!

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.!

I had one... a couple of times!! I even had mastitis to go with it which is VERY painful.

Now, for the clogged duct, what I did was got down on all fours and pumped that breast. Try to massage the area as well while you're pumping. You should feel it unclog when you do this. A little tip: I used a heating pad first to kind of "loosen" things up a bit beforehand. It worked REALLY well when I did that. If you don't have a pump, then lay the baby on the floor and feed him/her that way while you're on all fours. You're using gravity to help the milk come through. But I HIGHLY recommend using the heating pad first!!

I hope this helps!! I definitely know how painful it can be!

K. C

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J.Q.

answers from Washington DC on

Hopefully it is not still clogged. I just had one of these for the first time too. I took a hot shower and massaged the area- which didn't seem to help. Finally I let him nurse on that side for what seemed like an hour, when he started nursing I again massaged the area in a downward motion (toward the nipple). At one point while my son was nursing, my husband walked in and asked how it was going, and it was very painful. All of the sudden the lump was gone... and so was the pain. Haven't had a problem since. From what I've heard you need to work the milk duct out through the nipple so while your child is nursing it may seem like the lump is moving downward. Good luck

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E.G.

answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like your milk duct is clogged. Try using hot/warm compresses on the breast to loosen it up a bit. Also, standing in the shower with hot water on the breast could help too. If these ideas don't work, I would see your doctor as soon as possible.

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N.H.

answers from Norfolk on

you've gotten many replies...here's one more because that hurts! you can take a hot shower, put hot compresses on the hard area before baby nurses, place a cabbage leaf there when baby is not nursing, have baby nurse first (when most hungry) and often on that breast with his/her chin pointing toward the blocked area because that's the strongest sucking point, and massage the area in circular motion even while baby is nursing. it is such a relief when it unblocks. you said your breast was twice it's size which i have not experienced. you don't want mastitis to develop and if it does a trip to doctor for antibiotics is in order. good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Please call your doctor asap this morning. It very well may be mastitis, an infection due to a clogged duct. In the meantime, very warm and moist cloths may help and gentle massaging (more of a stroking motion toward the nipple). Your doctor can better direct you in what you need to do. Also, keep nursing if at all possible as that will help. If you can't get in to your doctor and you develop a fever consider going to the ER as you may need an antibiotic. Take care!!

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

honey... you are starting to have a full blown breat infection !!!! Get some washcloths and put them in as hot of water as you can stand and place them on the red part. leave until starts to get warm and then replace. Do that for about 10 minutes; as you are doing that, you need to GENTLY massage your breast from the outside into the nipple. You then need to massage DEEP around and under the nipple to find the clogged milk duct and massage it until milk comes out clean. Don't be afraid if it looks greeen at first; it's ok. Then you need to put the baby to breast; it will hurt like the dickens, but this is the only way !!!! You need to reposition him/her so that the suckling will directly use those milk ducts. (For instance, do the "football" hold where the body is going behind you and head comes at the breast from under your armpit. And put the baby to that breast as often as he will for the next coupld of days for a few minutes to help restore flow.
If you start having a high fever and/or chills you need to call the doc and get antibiotic. If you end up doing that, be sure to drink lots of water and eat some yogurt to replace the good biotics. A Yeast infection for both you and the baby(thrush) are a possibility whenyou go on antibiotics.

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

You have had a lot of good advice. When this happened to me i put a whole green cabbage leaf in my bra. It sounds gross but it worked. Also call the doctor.

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K.B.

answers from Norfolk on

When all else fails try the frozen peas from your freezer wrapped in a towel. Now that my nursing days are over I can no longer stand the sight of frozen peas!!ha. Way to go on nursing - alot of moms don't make that choice anymore. Be blessed . . .

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P.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi, I know your breast are very sore, but I have a very old remidy to do. Go to the store and get a head of cabbage. Put the cabbage in the frig for a few hours until cold. Take out the cabbage and tear off a couple of leafs. Snap the vains of the leafs in differant areas. Place them over your breast inside your bra. I know this sounds gross and you will start to smell like you are cooking cabbage inside your shirt, but the sulfur from the cabbage releases the milk. This was the only thing that helped with my first child. If it doesn't, go to the hospital. Good luck.

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E.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Not that I am an expert in this area, but those sound like some of the symptoms of mastitis. You probably need to see your doctor because it may need antibiotics.

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N.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hello:
I had that multiple times many years ago and unfortunately had to go to the doc for antibiotics. It helped to place hot compresses and massage the breast. Go to the doctor as the clogged duct can also become infected. If this is a reoccurrence, I was told, it could be due to lots of stress.

N.

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M.B.

answers from Dover on

The same thing happened to me-it can be very painful. Keep offering that breast first when feeding- the suction will help unclog it. Also use warm compresses (or let the shower water run on it) while doing some gentle massage to the hardened area. If it doesn't clear up in a few days or you begin to get a fever call your doctor.

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K.A.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,
I had this problem pretty frequently. I actually called a lactation consultant. Some of the suggestions were to:
Try a hot shower or bath. Scrub the nipple (I acutally sometimes could see the clog and scrub it out). If the clog comes free, nurse right away (or pump if the baby is sleeping).
If hot doesn't work, try cold.
Take off your bra when you're not out. Sometimes area's that are restricted can cause clogged ducts.
Get more rest. Schedule a half hour nap if you can.
Drink plenty of water.
Those are the ones I can remeber right now. Hopefully one of those helps. I remember how miserable clogged ducts were.

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J.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Do you have a fever? - if you have a fever of over 100 or 101 it could be an infection... if not it's probably just a blocked duct as the previous post suggested.

An additional ways/method to get the milk out and help the pain/pressure:

HOT/warm shower- massage the area while in the shower. The shower is hot and therefore tends to open milk ducts but also tends to relax mom which helps with letdown.

After the shower nurse till baby is done or pump just until pressure is gone. If you have a free hand, massage that area of the breast with strokes towards your nipple while nursing/pumping too!

If no relief call your doctor, pediatrician, or a lactation consultant ASAP for more specific assistance. http://www.llli.org/resources.html?m=0 is a good place to find answers about breastfeeding for other information as it comes up. Local La Leche League of MD/DC/DE has these contact numbers on this sitehttp://www.lllofmd-de-dc.org/index.shtml:

HELP LINES
Talk to a Leader about your breastfeeding concerns:
Baltimore
###-###-####
Washington, DC
###-###-####
LLL International
(800) LA-LECHE

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S.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I've been there! It sounds odd but, sleep. Your body needs rest. I took my baby in bed with me and let him nurse while I laid down and we would nap together then he'd nurse again. Try different positions and massage your breast as he feeds. The most important thing to do is relax and get some rest. That was what helped me the most!

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P.K.

answers from Norfolk on

I didn't see this to respond back then but relax and enjoy your give from God!!!

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

A clogged milk duct can be very painful and worrisome, as it should be. Let me start by saying if you start running a fever and/or the area is red and warm to the touch, you really should go to the Dr. It could be Mastitis. In the meantime drinking lots of water, and believe it or not, plenty of Rest are a Must! Warm compresses are great. Pumping after you have taken a shower can make it easier. Or trying to expell milk while in the shower is great. I found that laying down on top of a heating pad (not hot, just warm, warm), and nursing my daughter really helped.

I wouldn't let this go on much longer untreated. And I would start these at home remedies immediately.

You can also visit La Leche League's website for all sorts of breastfeeding info. Good Luck!

~~If it is Mastitis, and you need an anibiotic, the Dr. Used to tell moms not to nurse on the infected side. This is wholly incorrect. In fact quitting nursing on the infected side will only aggravate or worsen the problem. Also, this infection will NOT effect the quality of your milk!

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi-
For the most part it does sound like a clogged duck. Take a warm, moist washcloth and keep putting it on the breast. Check your nipple, see if there is a visible clog and try to clear it. Do keep breastfeeding. When something like that happened to me, I finally seemed to clear the duct and, honestly, some really awful looking milk came out. I massaged the breast until the ugly stuff was gone and I flowed more naturally.

If these things don't help, it could be mastisis which means you should go to the doctor, especially if you develop any angry red marks. Good site: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/T022200.asp

Good Luck!!

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B.S.

answers from Washington DC on

I have had experience in this area. It very well could be a clogged duct. Are you running a fever? If you are, it may be something more serious. If there is no fever the best thing to do is to get the baby to nurse as much as possible on that side. Your body is used to the patterns and rhythm of the baby's natural suction as opposed to any pumping you might try and even though she may not be getting enough milk, she may actually loosen the clog. Position her in such as a way that her chin is towards the clog so that there is more suction on that area. You can also try warm compresses as well or massaging that area (possibly even a warm shower with the water hitting that side and massaging the area while in the shower). If she is too fussy to stay latched on because she is hungry and isn't getting what she wants, you can try pumping to loosen it as well. Check with your local hospital or medical equipment company if you don't have a pump. Sometimes they rent them. Hospital grade pumps work much better than the ones that you tend to buy at Wal-Mart or somewhere similar. Most importantly, be patient. This is easier said than done sometimes but in the long haul, it will help to stay as relaxed as possible. Your baby will be able to sense your anxiety. Finally, you can always check with your local hospital or the place you delivered to see if they offer the services of a lactation consultant. A lot of places offer this service and they may be more in tune to the needs of a nursing mother as opposed to an obstetrition or pediatrition.

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D.J.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi K.,

RUB RUB RUB it out and keep expressing and nursing (I used a towel for 3 days). You will be sore from pressing hard but it works. Use a heating pad as often as possible. This happened to me 2x and I was able to keep it from becoming Mastitis ( an infection). I expressed on all fours or bent over it helped with the whole gravity thing. If you come down with a sudden fever call your doctor as it may have become mastitis and can be cured with an antibiotic.

Good luck,
D.

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A.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I hope you're doing better by now because I can imagine how painful and scary this must be. But other than calling your doctor, I highly recommend contacting the Breastfeeding Center of Washington ###-###-####). The director, Pat Shelly, is fabulous for one-on-one consultations, and they have regular support group meetings for nursing mothers.

Good luck,
A.

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A.C.

answers from Norfolk on

It happens to me all of the time (about once a week, and before I figured out how to get rid of it, it would stay for a week or two). There is a lot of advice on the net. The biggest recommendation is 20 minutes of heat multiple times a day while massaging the hard spot when pumping, when nursing, or in a warm tub (and not a gentle massage - you have to work the hard spot by starting at the very back and pushing forward until you can move a little more forward - it is very frustrating and painful). Using only 20 minutes of heat at a time doesn't work for me at all. The only thing that works for me is to sleep on my back with a heating pad on a low setting on the hard spot all night (some times a few nights in a row). BUT I am sure that using a heating pad for more than 20 minutes at a time is a big "no no" (and you have to be very careful that it doesn't get hot when you are sleeping and burn you. For me after a night or two of heat it will come out when my baby is nursing or when I am pumping and massaging. My baby won't let me massage when he is eating - I think b/c it makes the milk come out too fast. Also, I have heard that lecithin may help. Some doctors say it isn't worth while, but I am willing to try anything at this point, so I take lecithin too. It is a supplement you can buy it in the drug store.

Your baby is probably still getting milk when nursing on that side b/c the other (not clogged) areas are still giving milk. But, if that area is staying hard, then the milk isn't flowing through that area.

Good Luck!!!!!

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R.N.

answers from Washington DC on

There is a helpful website for anything related to breastfeeding. Go to www.llli.org, under Resources. If you go too long with out releasing the clog, you could get a fever, etc... I know it is painful and this is what i did. I took hot showers and massaged the hard part and I also found that while nursing massage the hard part. Finally after several days of this it finally diminished and was gone. Good luck !!

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K.D.

answers from Lynchburg on

As a nurse and a former breastfeeding mom of two, I think you need to massage your breast, specifically the sore area with a warm compress. Do you switch and give equal time to both breasts? Also alternate the starting breast as well. I used to leave the starter unclipped or something like that to remind me which to use next.
I hope this helps some.

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A.R.

answers from Norfolk on

It really does sound like a clogged duct. Here's what a lactation consultant told me to do. First, you can put an olive oil soaked cotton ball on your nipple (leave it there in between nursings--helps soften a clog if it's right at the end of the nipple). Then, and this works well for me, apply moist heat--hot water soaked wash cloth in the bra. Do the washcloth several times right before a feeding. Also good if you have a hot shower and nurse right away. then ---Very important------ start the nursing out on the side with the clog and while baby's nursing press on the clogged area/lumpy part. this is a bit painful but puts pressure behind the milk that's clogged and with the baby pulling the milk out from one way and you pushing from the other it often helps expell the clog (which is just thickened milk by the way).

They also say to try and have the baby's chin pointing to the area of the clog. This is a bit tricky but sometimes you can do it by laying down in bed and then turnig the baby which ever way you need him.

There's a great website called Kellymom, it's wonderful for all things breastfeeding. They have recommendations on a supplement you can take as well to help when you have a clog and to keep a clog from forming. It's called Lecithin (I'm actually on it right now since I had a clog yesterday, unfortunately it's not my first clog). But I'm sure you'll want to read up on that before taking anything.

Good luck! A. (mom to Olivia 4 and Andrew 8mos)

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

K.

That happened to me once. I took warm showers before feeding the baby. I also used warm compresses, the ones put in the microwave for 30 seconds. Lastly, I would massage the sore area while the baby was nursing.

The most important thing is to keep nursing. For you peace of mind, you could go to your doctor and/or call a lactation consultant.

Good luck!

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