An area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed.
Your body responds to the unresolved blockage by sending inflammatory cells to the area, which further compress the duct and reduce milk flow. Inflammation can cause reduced milk supply and potentially lead to mastitis. Clogs also tend to be recurring, which is why it’s important to see a lactation consultant to find and address the root cause, and not just google how to get rid of it and think you’re done. Mastitis can come on like a freight train, with little warning, and can become serious very quickly.
Signs vary, but usually present with tenderness or a lump, and often restricted milk flow. Clogs can be felt:
Plugs can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are some common causes:
**It’s important not to try to self diagnose. These issues are highly individual, and it’s very easy to get it wrong and compound your issues. We take insurance, as do many other IBCLCs, so it usually costs you nothing at all to let a specialist help you.**
Yes! You absolutely can and should breastfeed with a clogged duct. Plugged ducts do not negatively impact your milk composition or your baby! As you’ll learn in the next section, it is important to keep the milk flowing by either nursing or pumping.
First, make an appointment with a lactation consultant. While you’re waiting for your visit, be sure to:
Other strategies and dietary changes may be implemented by your lactation consultant to help reduce and prevent recurrence. These recommendations are individual and are not right for every situation. approved and monitored by your lactation consultant and in some cases, your physician.
Any of the issues that may cause a clog initially, if not resolved, will likely result in recurrence. This is why it’s so important to see a lactation consultant.
While working with an IBCLC: