What are blocked ducts?
Ducts carry the milk from deep in the breast to the nipple openings. Sometimes these ducts can become blocked. Milk builds up behind the blockage, a lump forms and your breast begins to feel sore. Your breast may become engorged in one area and might also look red.
Occasionally, a mother with a blocked duct may notice a white spot on her nipple too.
How can I prevent blocked ducts?
- Feed your baby often.
- Avoid tight tops or bras or anything that puts pressure on your breasts.
- Rest as much as you can, eat well and stay healthy.
How can I relieve a blocked duct?
- Start treatment as soon as you feel a lump or sore spot.
- Rest as much as possible.
- Keep the affected breast as empty as possible by feeding from that side as often as you can.
- Applying warmth for up to a few minutes to the affected breast before a feed can help with milk flow.
- Feed from the affected breast first, when baby is sucking vigorously.
- Check that your baby is attached well and can get the milk easily.
- Relax to help your let-down reflex work well.
- Gentle massage of the lump toward the nipple during feeds.
- Change feeding positions to help empty the breast.
- Hand express if needed, after feeds.
- Cold packs after a feed may help relieve pain and inflammation.
- See your medical adviser if you cannot clear the lump in a few days, or sooner if you develop a fever or feel unwell. For further information see our webpage on mastitis.
The information on this website does not replace the advice of your health care provider.
Breastfeeding: breast and nipple care
Breastfeeding: Breast and Nipple Care tells you what to expect as your breasts change during pregnancy and briefly covers how breastfeeding works.
© Australian Breastfeeding Association June 2016