The clogged milk ducts are a very common breastfeeding problem and it usually goes away on its own. If not, then certain remedies and measures can be tried to help relieve the pain and the discomfort caused due to the clogged milk ducts.
8 Reasons Why Your Milk Ducts Are Clogged
There are various reasons for clogged or plugged milk ducts, including but not limited to the following factors-
The Baby Not Latching Properly On The Breast
- If the baby is not able to latch on or attach himself properly to the breast, then baby won’t be able to suck out enough breast milk out of the breasts
- This will leave some leftover milk in the breasts
- This leftover milk can clog or plug the milk ducts easily
Engorgement Of The Breasts
- The breasts get engorged due to excessive milk production, or due to incomplete removal of the breast milk
- This may happen if you miss feedings, or feed infrequently with long gaps in between
- This may also happen if baby has started taking long naps or sleeping through the night
- As a result, the breasts won’t get completely emptied and the leftover milk will start to build up
- The breasts become swollen and tender due to the engorgement
Formation Of A Nipple Bleb
- A nipple bleb is a small whitish or yellowish spot which is seen on the nipple
- It is formed at the end of the milk duct or a nipple pore and is said to be formed from thick breast milk
- It is kind of a milk blister or a milk cyst
- It is believed to be associated with a clogged milk duct inside
- It may or may not be painful
Excess Milk Production
- If the breasts start making excess quantities of milk and the demand isn’t as much, it may result in engorgement of breasts
- It will also result in an incomplete emptying of the breast as the baby won’t be using up all the milk that is produced
- The excess milk and the leftover build up together will lead to plugged or clogged milk ducts
If the breasts are under an excessive pressure like a tight-fitting bra or sleeping on your front for a long time, this may cause an unwanted pressure on the breast tissue and give rise to clogged milk ducts
Fatigue And Dehydration
Not drinking enough fluids and not taking rest in between can lead to clogged milk ducts more easily than you would realize
Stressful and strenuous exercise can cause clogged milk ducts if excess pressure is put on the breasts
Weaning the baby far too quickly or suddenly can lead to blocked milk ducts.
Milk ducts are also known as lactiferous ducts. They are tiny little tubular structures that transport the breast milk from the source to the nipple for suckling of the baby. The milk is produced in the mammary glands and from there the milk ducts bring it to the nipples. Each breast contains about 15-30 milk ducts. There are tiny little pores on the nipple that send the milk out of the breast and into the baby’s mouth.
When hard, tender lumps form in the tiny little milk ducts, it is referred to as clogged milk ducts. These lumps block the flow of the milk. They can be painful at times. They cause redness, swelling and pain in the affected breast.
Do Clogged Milk Ducts Go Away On Their Own?
Clogged milk ducts can go away on their own most of the times. Clogged or plugged milk ducts are one of the most common problems occurring in breastfeeding women. There are many reasons for the milk ducts to get clogged, most of the times they get cleared on their own. If this does not happen, it may get progressed to other severe conditions.
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