If you’re producing more milk than your baby is consuming, it can cause a blockage in your milk ducts called a “plugged duct.” Plugged ducts are pretty common among breastfeeding moms, but it’s important to know what to do because this fairly harmless issue can lead to a more serious one.
The main causes of a plugged duct are:
- Baby is not latching well.
- Feedings are not often enough.
- Too much pressure on your breasts (i.e. bra is too tight).
- Stress and/or fatigue.
If you have a plugged duct, there will be a hard lump in your breast that often feels hot and sore to the touch. It is usually more painful right before a feeding and while your baby’s eating.
In order to avoid developing mastitis, follow these tips to eliminate a plugged duct:
- Gently massage the lump right before and during feedings.
- Use a warm compress or take a hot shower while you massage your breast.
- Nurse more frequently and empty any remaining milk with a breast pump.
- Use a cold compress in between feedings for pain.