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    Clogged Duct After Weaning: Key Facts to Know

    Updated 05 March 2020 |
    Published 03 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Marina Savchenko, MD
    Reviewed by Marina Savchenko, MD, Pediatric Neurologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    A clogged duct is not only painful but also makes breastfeeding much more difficult. Continue reading to learn about common methods of managing a clogged duct after weaning.

    What is a clogged milk duct?

    A clogged milk duct is a breast duct that becomes swollen and blocked. It can present as a hard nodule or knot in the breast. A clogged duct may result in breast inflammation (mastitis) although the two conditions can also occur independently. 

    Symptoms of a blocked duct include breast tenderness, a painful red lump in the area of the blocked duct, and swelling of the breast. To make sure your milk ducts are clogged, talk to your doctor. 

    Causes of a сlogged milk duct

    One of the most common causes of a clogged milk duct after weaning is a change in feeding schedule or a skipped feeding. This often occurs due to your baby sleeping through the night, a return to work, you or your baby falling ill, or weaning your baby from breast milk. Not changing positions while nursing can also contribute to duct blockage.  Wearing an underwire or tight-fitting bra may create excessive pressure on the breasts and contribute to clogged milk ducts.

    Common treatment of a clogged milk duct after stopping breastfeeding

    The following tips may help in treating symptoms of a clogged duct after weaning:

    • Apply a warm pack to your breast area that has the clogged duct for several minutes and then gently express your breast milk. Massage your breast gently while expressing milk. Massage along the line of the duct toward the lump and to the nipple. You may use some oil for lubrication.
    • Express breast milk every couple of hours so that the breast remains empty
    • While massaging the breast, gently support it using one hand. This support reduces the pain caused by a sagging breast.
    • While expressing breast milk using hands, do so in a warm bath or under a warm shower.
    • Place cold packs on your breast between breast milk expressing sessions to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Make sure to wrap the cold packs properly to avoid damaging your skin. You may also use a face washer after cooling in a freezer, or cold cabbage leaves.
    • Anti-inflammatory medication can also relieve pain caused by a clogged duct after weaning.
    • You may take a mild painkiller medicines to help relieve the pain due to clogged duct after weaning. Ask your doctor to suggest something for pain.

    Risk factors of having clogged duct after weaning

    Your chances of having clogged milk duct after weaning may be greater in the following scenarios:

    • You have shorter, skipped, or irregular breastfeeding sessions 
    • Your breasts don’t fully drain due to a poor latch 
    • You suddenly stop breastfeeding
    • You have excessive pressure on your breasts from a bra, tight seatbelt purse, or a backpack. 

    Tips to prevent blocked milk ducts after stopping breastfeeding

    Some of the tips that may help to prevent clogged milk duct after stopping breastfeeding are as follows:

    • Wear a compact and firm bra throughout day and night as it helps support the breasts and keep you comfortable.
    • Be gentle while handling your breasts as they may bruise easily.
    • Place breast pads inside the bra to soak any leakage of breast milk. 
    • You may express some milk whenever the breasts feel full. 
    • Drink fluids when you feel thirsty (drink at least 64 ounces of water every day). Reducing your intake of fluids may not help in decreasing the milk supply.
    • Avoid wearing bras, seatbelts, or other items that put excessive pressure on the breasts. 

    It can be difficult to get comfortable in bed if you have a blocked milk duct. Sometimes lying on your side or back is easiest. If you must sleep on your stomach, an extra pillow under your abdomen and hips can sometimes reduce the pressure on your breast.

    Certain prescription medications suppress the production of breast milk. Discuss the pros and cons of using medication to treat a blocked milk duct with your doctor. 

    The takeaway

    A clogged duct after weaning is an individual milk duct that gets blocked and swollen and may appear as a hard and firm knot in your breast. Mastitis is a possible complication of a clogged milk duct. 

    To tackle the symptoms, try to apply a warm pack to your breast area, massage your breasts, or take a mild painkiller. 

    History of updates

    Current version (05 March 2020)

    Reviewed by Marina Savchenko, MD, Pediatric Neurologist, Medical Consultant at Flo

    Published (03 February 2020)

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