Blocked milk duct: lump in breast while breastfeeding

Sometimes, milk ducts in the breast become clogged, causing milk to back up. Blocked ducts can be felt through the skin as small, tender lump in breast while breastfeeding or larger areas of hardness. Because blocked ducts can lead to an infection, you should treat the problem right away. The best way to open up blocked ducts is to let your baby empty the affected breast, offering that breast first at each feeding.

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Blocked milk duct: lump in breast while breastfeeding
Blocked milk duct: lump in breast while breastfeeding

Can you get lumps in your breast when breastfeeding

In the early weeks of breastfeeding, a milk duct may become blocked as a result of engorgement, a too-tight bra or a blocked nipple opening. If you experience a blockage, you will feel soft to somewhat dense lump in breast while breastfeeding that is quite tender to the touch. To clear a blocked duct, start feedings with the affected breast and gently massage it while feeding. You may also try massaging the breast toward the nipple while you take a shower. Call your care provider if you have constant pain, feel sick or have a fever. This may signal a breast infection called mastitis.

Mastitis is any inflammation of the breast, whether or not there is a fever involved. It typically starts out as a plugged milk duct, which feels like a tender spot or lump in your breast. If that plugged milk duct becomes infected milk duct, you will start feeling very sick. You may develop a fever that is accompanied by symptoms of a breast infection (e.g., red streaks on your breast, a cracked nipple with pus, pus or blood in your milk). You will also feel exhausted as if you have been hit by a massive body-blow to the system, which you have.

Inflammation of the acini caused by clogged milk is known as galactocele, or a milk-retention cyst. This tender lump does not become infected and rarely requires surgical removal. Once it is diagnosed by ultrasound or aspiration, a physician usually, can resolve the cyst using needle aspiration.

One or more milk ducts may become blocked during nursing. A clogged milk duct appears as a small, red, painful lump on the breast. You can eliminate the blockage by trying the following suggestions as soon as you notice the lump in breast while breastfeeding. It is critical that you continue to nurse.

  • If your baby refuses to nurse on the affected side, pump on that side instead and continue to nurse from the unaffected breast. If nursing becomes too painful, you may find it helpful to take a pain medication.
  • To relieve unnecessary pressure on your breasts, do not wear tight bras or other restrictive clothing, do not use nipple shields, and do not sleep on your stomach.
  • If your baby does not empty the affected breast, express milk from it by hand or by breast pump. To make sure all the milk from the affected breast has been eliminated after each feeding, hand express or pump the breast.
  • Breastfeed more often and for longer periods of time. This allows your infant to better empty the breast of milk.
  • If dried secretions form on your nipple, remove them gently with warm water. Having a warm bath or shower or soaking your breasts in a warm basin before you nurse can encourage the milk in your plugged milk duct to let down.
  • It may also help to apply a warm compress before nursing and to massage the affected breast. You may also want to try massaging your breast in a circular motion, moving from your armpit to your nipple. Moreover, don’t forget to experiment with different nursing positions. You may find that a nursing position that’s a little out of the ordinary for you works wonders at extracting milk from that plugged milk duct. Cabbage leaves compresses work wonders, too.
  • Get plenty of rest so that your body can focus on fighting off the infection. This may mean taking your baby to bed and letting other people take care of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
  • If clogged milk ducts are a recurring problem and breastfeeding lump will not go away with self-treatment, call a lactation consultant or your care provider for advice if a clogged duct lasts more than three days. Sometimes the way an infant nurse contributes to blocked ducts.

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