Milk ducts are a part of our breasts that are responsible for carrying the milk produced in the mammary glands to the nipples for the suckling of the baby. There are around 15-30 milk ducts in each breast. They are also known as lactiferous ducts.
When Can You Feel The Presence of Milk Ducts?
One cannot normally feel the milk ducts. Milk ducts can be felt when they get blocked or clogged due to a variety of reasons. They can be felt as bumps, lumps or even knotty, rope like structures in the breasts when they get blocked. Sometimes, the milk ducts can be felt if the breasts are too fibrous. They may or may not be painful.
Milk ducts can be felt when they are clogged or blocked. They feel lumpy and knotted when there is a blockage in the milk ducts
Causes Of Clogged Milk Ducts
The baby not able to attach properly on the breast:
- The baby won’t be able to suck out enough breast milk out of the breasts if she is not able to latch on or attach herself properly to the breast
- As a result, it will leave some leftover milk in the breasts
- This excess milk along with the new milk will clog the ducts easily
- You can then feel the milk ducts in the form of a lump
Engorgement of the breasts:
- The breasts get engorged due to incomplete removal of the breast milk or excessive production of the milk as compared to the demand
- If you miss feedings, or feed infrequently with long gaps in between, it can result in engorged breasts
- If baby has started taking long naps or sleeping through the night, this can also result in collection of excess milk and engorgement of breasts
- The breast milk won’t get completely expressed and the leftover milk will start to build up because of this
- The engorgement makes the breasts swollen and tender to the touch
- The engorged breasts will lead to clogged ducts and they can be felt as lumps
Formation of a nipple bleb:
- A small whitish or yellowish spot which is seen on the nipple is known as a nipple bleb
- It is said to be formed from thick breast milk and is formed at the end of the milk duct or a nipple pore
- It is believed to be associated with a clogged milk duct inside
- It may or may not be painful
- This can make you feel the milk ducts as a hard lump
Excess milk production:
- If the demand for the breast milk isn’t much and the breasts still keep producing excess milk, it may result in engorgement of breasts
- Baby will not be using up all the milk that is produced and it will lead to an incomplete expression of the milk from the breasts
- The leftover milk and the excess milk will build up together and will lead to plugged or clogged milk ducts
- These clogged ducts can also be felt as hard and tender lumps
- If tight fitting bra or sleeping on your tummy for a long time creates an unnecessary extra pressure on the breasts this may give rise to clogged milk ducts.
- These can be felt as lumps in the breasts.
- Weaning the baby suddenly and far too quickly can lead to blocked milk ducts, as the body will not be able to recognize this sudden change and will keep making the milk as it was
Milk ducts are an integral part of the breasts and are responsible for transporting the milk that is produced in the mammary glands to the nipples to make it available for a suckling baby through the nipple pores to feed upon. These milk ducts cannot be felt normally and can be felt as hard, tender lumps only if they get clogged.