Ducts in breasts are basically those canals networks which transfer milk from the tissues to the nipples from where the baby can have access.  While in most cases the ducts of breastfeeding women work just fine, in some situations, these ducts can get blocked and lead to insufficient or no supply of breastmilk to the little one.  Blocked ducts can mean two things: it either means that you are in the early stages of mastitis or you are experiencing true blocked ducts. The symptoms of both these situations are the same but their causes may differ.

blocked duct during breast feeding

Symptoms of Blocked Duct in Breasts:

  • In both the cases: mastitis and true blocked duct, a female may experience a lump in the breast. This lump is accompanied with a painful, red colored and tender patch on the skin which may also be swollen.
  • In this case, the tissue around the patch also tends to be swollen and may even show signs of inflammation.

Causes of Blocked Duct in Breasts:

  • In most cases, blocked ducts are caused due to back up of milk in your breasts.
  • Blocked ducts are a resultant situation of the case when the baby does not drain your breast fully on feeding. Due to this, breast milk remains in your breast and causes blockage.
  • Blocked ducts are mostly caused in the initial few days of breastfeeding when you are still getting used to it and when the baby doesn’t latch properly.
  • Another cause of blocked duct is when the breast makes more milk than the baby can consume and the extra milk tends to get forced out of the duct and into the breast tissue. This further causes swelling, inflammation leading to red, lumpy and painful breasts.

Treating Blocked Duct in Breasts:

The following are some of the ways in which you can treat blocked ducts:

  • To treat blocked duct condition, most moms tend to stop breastfeeding but in order to drain your breast milk fast, you must continue nursing your baby and feed him as often as you can.  Make sure feeding isn’t doing in long gaps so as to avoid building up of more milk in the tissue.
  • You have to make sure that the latching is done properly so that milk can flow freely, avoiding the situation of further blockage.
  • If you have a condition of true blocked ducts, then treating it can be simple as true blocked ducts are painless.  In true blocked ducts, there appears a white spot which can be removed by running it softly with a warm, clean and damp flannel. Infact in some cases, your baby may himself remove the true blocked duct during the time of feeding.
  • If you are experiencing pain while breastfeeding due to a blocked duct, then you can try to use a breast pump to express your breast milk.  An electric pump works much better than a hand pump and is also easier to use and maintain.  The pump can be used as many times as your baby gets hungry.

Photo Credit By: en.wikipedia.org