How To Unplug a Milk Duct from Breastfeeding

How I Fixed a Plugged Milk Duct- My Experience:

Breastfeeding MomAlmost every mother who breast-feeds will come upon some problem, and a plugged milk duct is a very common problem to experience. When my baby and I first began our “nursing relationship” it seemed like I would have few problems. We were doing well the first few weeks, and then I woke up one morning with a hard knot in my breast from a plugged milk duct.

Definition of a Plugged Duct

plugged milk ductSo what exactly is a plugged duct? When a milk duct is blocked up from an accumulation of certain fatty acids in the milk a tender lump or hard knot is formed. It may be warm to the touch and you may have very thin, watery-looking milk leaking from the nipple. This can be caused by many things and some mothers are more prone to them due to the specific fat composition of their milk. Almost all reasons stem from milk being prevented from flowing through the breast.

Unclogging the Milk

I remember when this happened to me it was so uncomfortable that I wanted to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. It is very important to unclog the milk duct soon, because in some cases it may lead to mastitis- a painful infection which has to be treated by a doctor.

1. The first thing I did was to pump as I tried to massage the blocked milk out.
2. Then I nursed my baby like I normally would, giving extra time on the affected side while massaging the knot.
3. After that, if it was still clogged, I would take a long hot shower using the jets to massage the milk out.
4. Then I would immediately pump after the shower, and this would usually get most of the clog out.
5. If it is not all out by now, I lay the baby on the bed and nurse her while leaning over her- getting some help from gravity as I massaged the knot.

Every time I get a plugged milk duct I repeat these steps and drink plenty of water until it breaks loose. Also, I have found that it is very important to rest– nap when the baby naps, because being tired and stressed will only make it worse.

Prevent Future Occurrences

As the saying goes “prevention is key” and knowing what causes your milk ducts to clog up will save you from pain, annoyance, and possible mastitis. Here is a list of some reasons why you may get a plugged duct.

Bra too tight- If your bra is too tight (maybe due to engorgement) it can cause poor circulation and constrict milk flow in the breast.
Infrequent nursing- If you do not nurse your baby often enough, the milk will accumulate and the fats will separate inside the ducts.
Improper latch/positioning- If your baby is not latched on well, the milk ducts will not drain properly. If this might be your problem, I suggest contacting a La Leche League leader to help with latching the baby.
Dehydration and stress- Take good care of your body- this is a practical, commonsense reason why milk ducts may get clogged. For your body to function properly in any aspect, you have to maintain it. Rest often, and drink more water than you think you need.


nurse the baby This is how I resolved my problems with plugged milk ducts and I am sharing it, hoping that it will help other breastfeeding mothers. If you have any other symptoms like a fever, extreme pain, or flu-like symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. I am not a Medical Doctor, but I am an experienced breastfeeding mom. As with everything, take this knowledge with a grain of salt, and trust your own motherly instincts.

Did I miss something, or do you have any suggestions to add? Please tell me about your experience with or knowledge of plugged milk ducts.

Author: Melainie

As a new mother, I wanted to know everything I could about parenting but it was difficult to sift through the web for real experiences and motherly knowledge on parenting. I hoped to make My Baby Experience an informative site for all those who are expecting or are parents themselves. Whenever I find good resources for us parents, I try to share them so we can all benefit. I hope you enjoy and contribute!

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