How Do You Clear A Clogged Milk Duct?

Nursing mothers all have different experiences raising their young ones. For some, they barely experience any problems while others come across complications here and there. One of the most occurring complications among mothers, especially first-time mothers, is a clogged milk duct. You will find that at one point they are releasing milk at ease and the next moment, they are experiencing intense pain prior to and during breastfeeding from one of their breasts. In addition to that, the flow of the milk is barely a trickle compared to normal flow. A clogged milk duct can cause discomfort to the mother and demotivate them when it comes to breastfeeding. The good thing about plugged milk ducts is that they can easily be cleared at home, and one the obstruction has been relieved, it’ll be like there was no pain, to begin with.

How Do You Clear A Clogged Milk Duct?

How Do You Clear A Clogged Milk Duct?

Ways of clearing clogged milk duct:

The best way of clearing a clogged milk duct is by ensuring that milk is released as often as possible. This can easily be done by breastfeeding often over regular intervals or pumping out the milk. If you are pumping the milk, you can try and pump for a longer period and on a higher speed. Pumping longer and at a faster rate can be unpleasant considering that your breast may be in pain. But, the aftermath effect only lasts for a short while and on the plus side, you’ll be unclogging your milk duct. In addition to that, clogged milk ducts can be cleared through heat application, massage, and warm showers. Heat application involves the use of warm compressors such as heat packs or a cloth soaked in warm water. Alternatively, you could take hot showers preferably before breastfeeding/pumping to increase the chances of unblocking the clogged milk duct.

Massage is ideal for clearing clogged milk ducts as it helps increase the outflow of milk. There’s no specific or right way to give your breast massage, but you can try a few techniques here and there that are simple to do at home and will help with the clogged milk duct. For example, you can massage in a circular motion, back-and-forth, or by applying pressure at the area where the obstruction is situated. Positioning the baby in such a way that his/her chin is pointed towards the clogged milk duct can also help unblock it. This kind of position is believed to help the baby lactate better hence draining milk much more effectively from the breast. While carrying out any of the aforementioned ways of clearing clogged milk ducts, ensure that your hands are clean and try as much as possible to apply them before breastfeeding or pumping.

How Do You Know You Have A Clogged Milk Duct?

A clogged milk duct is hard to miss simply because the mother experiences pain, soreness, and tenderness in the affected breast. On top of that, there will be swelling, the presence of a lump inside the breast, redness and a warm sensation on the breast. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first time or yet another episode of a clogged milk duct, the symptoms are still the same. Not to mention, nothing prepares you for such a time and it might be unbearable at first, but it is important that you don’t ignore a clogged milk duct. Pain from a plugged milk duct can have you in tears especially when your breasts are full of milk, or when the baby is sucking on that breast.

Babies may often make a fuss when breastfeeding from the affected side since the milk flow is slower than normal. Nevertheless, you should try and breastfeed from the breast with a clogged duct more frequently because it will help with clearing the duct.


Unclogging a clogged milk duct is not an easy task and it will take a while to fully get rid of the obstruction. However, you should not despair as a mother to make the situation better. As a matter of fact, you should be willing to do any worthwhile procedure that will help unclog the milk duct. It will not be easy and will most likely be unpleasant, but the experience of having a clogged milk duct is worse.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 5, 2023

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