Home Remedies and Natural Cures

Blocked Milk Duct Home Remedy

Signs and Symptoms of a Blocked Milk Duct

Blocked Milk Duct Home Remedy

A blocked milk duct (also known as a plugged or clogged milk duct) is a complication that can occur in women who are breastfeeding. The main symptom of a blocked milk duct is the formation of a hard lump in the breast, usually near the areola or nipple. The lump will usually be painful when touched, and the skin around the lump may become red.

While most blocked milk ducts can be treated after a few days of home treatment using the remedies below, it is important to note that a milk duct which remains plugged for too long may lead to a more serious breast infection called mastitis. This will usually be accompanied by fever or chills, and the skin around the swollen lump may become red, tender, and warm. Mastitis may also lead to blood or pus being discharged from the nipple, and the lymph nodes in the armpit on the same side of the infected breast may become enlarged. If you suspect mastitis, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible to see if you require an antibiotic to treat the infection.

Causes of Plugged Milk Ducts

A blocked duct can be caused by a number of factors when women are breastfeeding:

  • Skipping feedings or incomplete feedings.
  • Not fully draining out the milk in a breast during or after a feeding.
  • A poor latch when the baby breastfeeds.
  • Wearing a tight bra that is putting pressure on a milk duct.
  • A cold or flu.
  • Sleeping on your stomach, which puts pressure on the milk ducts.
  • Stress or lack of sleep (both of which are common with a newborn).

With the home remedies below, most clogged milk ducts can be resolved within 1 to 5 days. As the ducts become unclogged, you may notice some thick clumps of milk being discharged. This may then be followed by a large amount of milk as the duct is drained. If the natural remedies don't resolve the plugged duct within 5 days, you should consult your doctor to see if it may be infected.

Home Remedies and Natural Cures for Blocked Milk Ducts

Breastfeeding Changes to Treat a Blocked Milk Duct

One of the easiest treatments for a clogged milk duct is to make a few adjustments in the way you breastfeed. These adjustments are also a good way to prevent future blockages. Here are a few good recommendations:

  1. Feed often in order to drain most of the milk from your breasts. If your baby gets full before your breast feels empty, use a breast pump to drain any excess milk. This will prevent the breasts from becoming engorged.
  2. Make sure your baby is getting a good latch. A poor latch is one of the leading causes of a plugged milk duct, since the milk may not be draining evenly from the breasts. Consult a lactation consultant if you need help.
  3. Try changing your baby's position when you breastfeed. This may help to expel milk from certain milk ducts that may not be draining as much as others. A new position may also help to improve latching if you are experiencing latching problems. A recommendation is to try to position the baby so that the baby's chin is pointing towards the blocked milk duct.

Breast Massage for Treating a Plugged Milk Duct

Before and after each feeding, a firm massage of the affected breast is recommended. You can use your own hands, ask a partner to help, or even use a battery-operated handheld massager to do this. After the massage, use the thumb and index finger to try to squeeze out the blockage. Start by placing the fingers at the outer edges of the areola, and then press down and squeeze the fingers inward toward the nipple. Be sure to have a towel or cup close by in case milk begins to flow or spray out.

Blocked Milk Duct Treatment with Cabbage Warm Compress

A warm compress using a cabbage leaf is an excellent way to help loosen the blockage in a clogged milk duct. While you can also use a towel soaked in hot water, a cabbage leaf is preferred since its shape allows it to fit over the breast with ease. Simply microwave a cabbage leaf for a few seconds in the microwave and then place it on the breast for 2 to 3 minutes (make sure it is not too hot). Repeat this every hour throughout the day.

Clogged Milk Duct Treatment with a Potato Cold Compress

Many women have found that a cold potato can help relieve the pain associated with a blocked milk duct. Simply refrigerate a potato for a few hours, and then grate some of the potato. Apply the grated potato over the affected breast and cover with a clean wash cloth or towel for 5 minutes while lying down. Repeat this every hour throughout the day using some freshly grated potato. The cold potato helps to reduce the heat from the inflammation, which may help to unplug the milk duct.

Lecithin to Prevent Recurrent Milk Duct Blockages

Many women have found that lecithin supplements may help prevent recurrent plugged ducts. The theory is that lecithin increases the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid in breast milk, which results in milk that is less sticky. This in turn may help to unclog a blocked milk duct and also prevent them from occurring again. A recommended dosage is to take one 1200 mg lecithin capsule 3 times per day for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, continue taking one 1200 mg capsule just once per day for as long as you breastfeed.

Blocked Milk Duct Home Remedy Using Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been found to help prevent and heal blocked milk ducts, since it boosts the immune system and helps reduce inflammation. It is also a great natural remedy for stress, which is a common cause of blocked milk ducts. A recommendation is to take 500 mg of Vitamin C supplements per day as long as you are breastfeeding. You can also increase your daily intake of foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, green peppers, and broccoli.

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  1. on said:

    For blocked duct, apply warm compress and massage the breast gently. The direction of the massage should be from the clogged area towards the nipple.

  2. on said:

    1) Have pineapple juice, it works well for clogged ducts.
    2) Eat a clove of crushed garlic with water, one every 5 hours to avoid infection.
    3) Continue breastfeeding on the side which is clogged, it will be painful, but will help. I try to place my little one in my lap with her head held a little higher and bend down and feed so that milk flows from top to bottom.

  3. on said:

    Thank you SO much ladies for posting your comments! I had a clogged duct last night and golf ball sized lump. I am 5 months into breast feeding. I used the heel of hand method (compress toward nipple until it hurts so badly that the pain actually goes away) and then you move your heel of hand a 1/2 inch down toward nipple and keep repeating. I didn't have relief and didn't see a "white head" thing that others were talking about, so went to bed. Tried pumping too, to no avail (only got .5 oz). Woke up this morning and saw the "white head" on my nipple. It is super little if you have never seen one, but mine was bright white unlike the other raised bumps on nipple. Used a sterile needle and as soon as I "popped" it (very gently) fluid and milk released!! my daughter latched right away and fed for 15 minutes. It burned and hurt while she was draining it, but I knew something had worked. Lumps were gone! I am sore, but that method works. Try to move the block down and when you see the white pimple, unclog with needle! I still used warm compresses and fed DD by straddling her with breasts hanging down (awkward, but helps too).

  4. on said:

    What if you have blocked duct with no child?

  5. on said:

    I can relate to the oversupply of milk and the frequent clogged milk ducts. The technique I have found that works best is using a clean fingernail or comb and scratching at the duct openings then hand suppress some milk. I can usually tell when it is clear because it comes out with greater force than normal. I have also had success with nursing the baby in a position where the baby's chin is closes to the clog. The other thing that I never suspected was I was wearing the wrong size bra. Double check the sizing by reading the bra sizing guide by real simple. Just type bra sizing guide real simple in the search engine. It wouldn't let me post the link.


  6. on said:

    @Pooja, To avoid soreness and blocked milk ducts, make sure to use warm compresses and empty the excess milk. If the milk is left inside, it hardens and causes soreness and inflammation.

  7. on said:

    Hi, I have stopped breastfeeding my 2 months old baby. Because she is not getting sufficient milk so I started formula milk. Now my nipples are hurting. Please suggest me some home remedies.
    Thank you. Pooja

  8. on said:

    @ Sams, I suffered from blocked milk ducts while feeding my daughter and it was a nightmare. The only thing that worked for me was completely emptying the side you feed from right after feeding the baby. Also soaking the blocked duct side in warm water or directly spraying warm water on the area in the shower and after about 5 minutes of soaking or warm shower, take a a comb with smooth, rounded and firm teeth and run the comb gently but firmly down the hardened duct to break up the dried milk in there. Run the comb starting from the start of the duct and all the way down to the nipple. It's better to bend down while doing it and hand express the milk after combing down the blocked duct. Repeat this process for a few days and you will get a relief. Once you get rid of the blocked milk duct, simply focus on emptying the milk after every feed and don't miss a feed. I was able to freeze about 6 months of milk supply in the first month of breast feeding. It seemed like my daughter wasn't drinking much. But it's worth it to breast feed the kids for their stronger immunity. Be patient and it will get easier once you get used to expressing the remaining milk. Also Lecithin and Vitamin C supplements help with recurrent blocked milk ducts. Hope it helps!

  9. on said:

    I'm in need of serious help! I am producing more milk than I can keep up with. Therefore I have had a reoccurrence of mastitis. I am on antibiotics and I have blocked milk ducts that constantly keep getting blocked pretty much every day which is very frustrating. I have tried a hot shower and hand expressing while in the shower but still the lumps remain. I have been applying a warm cloth before every feed which helps a little but my right boob, especially, is still firm. And placing Ice packs on my breast at times doesn't work much either. What should I do, as I am so close to giving up on breast feeding?

  10. on said:

    My wife had blocked ducts and mastitis for about two weeks. Hurt so bad she was in tears. A friend told her about Happy Ducts from Wishgarden. It reduced the blockage tremendously, but not completely because our baby has a lip/tongue tie which may be affecting her latch. But, at least no more pain and tears for my wife.

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