Ask Judy: How Do I Get My Plugged Duct To Go Away?

Dear Judy, I have had a plugged duct for four days now. I’m using heat, massage, constant nursing. Why won’t it go away???

The best thing for a plugged duct is rest, lots of fluids, a nutritious diet and frequent nursing. Be sure to empty your breasts at each feeding. If your baby is sleeping an not waking to feed at least every two hours, then you may want to either wake your baby, sleep nurse or pump to be sure you are frequently emptying your breasts. You may also want to try block feeding on the affected side to help make sure it is getting fully emptied at each feeding (but be sure not to neglect your other side – you don’t to get a clog there too!). If you don’t feel that you are fully emptying your breasts at each feeding, then try pumping after your baby nurses to help relieve the pressure and fully empty your breasts.

You already mentioned that you are using heat and massage – which are also great techniques for helping to releive the plugged duct. Try heating your breast prior to nursing and then massage both with the heat and while your little one is nursing. It can also be helpful to take a nice hot, relaxing shower and to massage the affected breast while in the shower. Be sure to massage toward the nipple to help to relieve the plug.

Finally, be sure that your clothing isn’t constricting your breasts at all. Loosen or remove your bra, and wear loose fitting shirts. With these techniques, you should be able to clear up a clogged duct within a few days to a week. Best of luck!!

Have you had a plugged duct before? What did you do to help relieve the pain and to get rid of the plug? Please share your wisdom by leaving a comment below.

3 comments to Ask Judy: How Do I Get My Plugged Duct To Go Away?

  • Just had a plugged duct a few days ago when work was busier than normal and the little one went through a period of nursing less frequently. What helped the most was making sure I was well hydrated, warm washcloth compresses, and pumping after each feeding to make sure I emptied the affected breast. It was painful, but I massaged the area of the plugged duct during feedings and during pumping and that seemed to help loosen things up. It took a few days, and I was pretty tender, but it has finally resolved itself.

  • Krista

    With my first baby I had lots of plugged ducts. For the really stubborn ones I would make up a bowl of Chamomile tea and put a dropper or two full of marshmellow root. I would soak my breast in the bowl (sorta tricky but worth it) for as long as I could and then continue to make hot compresses out of it. I could usually get the clog to resolve within 6 hours or so.

  • To prevent frequent plugged ducts I took lecithin to thin out the consistency of my milk. Whenever I had plugged ducts, I massaged the plug while baby was nursing and used compresses. But since taking lecithin, recurrence of plugged ducts drastically reduced.

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