How Do I Prevent Clogged Ducts When Pumping?

Breast pumping is an effective method to drain the milk from the breast. However, care should be taken to apply proper technique to pump the milk for the sufficient time. Any milk left due to pumping for lesser period may cause clogging of the milk duct.

How Do I Prevent Clogged Ducts When Pumping?

Breast Pumping

Breast pumping is a technique in which the milk is collected from the breast in a container or bottle. Breast pumping is a very important technique primarily due to the two reasons. First, it helps to feed the child in case the baby is not able to breast feed. The other reason is to prevent the milk duct from clogging due to the deposition of excess milk in the milk ducts. This may be due to either because of breast engorgement or change in the baby’s feeding schedule or weaning. Breast pumping is done through a specific pump which is designed to drain the milk from the breasts.

Process Of Breast Pumping

Process of breast pump requires special technique and to get the most advantage of breast pumping, proper process should be followed. Also, the main requirement is to get a best breast pump which allows the complete drain of the milk without any pain. The breast should be evenly pressed in the circular motion. The breast should be pressed gently as hard pressing may obstruct milk flow from the breasts. Warm compresses may also help in let-down and milk flow.

How Do I Prevent Clogged Ducts When Pumping?

The approach is to remove the complete milk from the alveoli as well from the milk ducts. Any milk remaining in the breast may lead to clogging of milk ducts. Following are the factors to consider while pumping the milk from the breasts:

  1. Proper Technique: Proper technique for breast pumping should be used to remove the milk for all the milk ducts. The milk remained in any of the duct may lead to clogged milk duct.
  2. Sufficient Time: Breast pumping should be done for sufficient time to remove the complete milk from the milk ducts.
  3. High Quality Breast Pump: The high quality breast pump should be used to pump the milk.


  1. Pain: Pain is experienced by the patient who has developed clogging in the milk ducts. This is due to the fact that milk is being synthesized by the alveoli, but the milk so produced does not leave the breast leading to a pressure causing pain. This may also lead to milk engorgement. Further, flogging for a long period leads to breast infection also known as mastitis. Mastitis may also lead to further complex situation known as breast abscess.
  2. Swollen Breasts: The breast may get swollen due to the clogged ducts. This swelling or lump may also be due to other condition. Fortunately, most of the conditions related to breast lumps are benign, but if the lump is growing or remains same for a long period, the women should consult a gynecologist.
  3. Tender: The breast having the clogged ducts are tender to touch due to the pressure of the milk created inside the milk ducts.
  4. Milk Bleb: In the condition of clogged milk ducts, the white blisters grow on the nipple and these blisters are known as milk bleb or nipple blisters.
  5. Mild fever: Due to the pain and inflammation due to the clogged ducts, the patient may experience mild fever. The fever can be managed with the help of antipyretic medications such as paracetamol.
  6. Redness: The redness is also caused in the on the skin of breasts due to the presence of inflammatory mediators.
  7. Inconvenience during breastfeed: The women with clogged milk ducts experiences pain and inconvenience during breastfeed.


Pumping of the milk from breasts is done for various reasons. One reason is when the baby cannot do the breastfeeding and the other reason may be due to weaning as the excess milk should be properly drained from the breasts. Proper technique, sufficient time and best quality breast time are the prerequisites for preventing the clogging of milk duct during pumping.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 5, 2023

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