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Thank you for your question. One thing that tends to work is try standing in a warm shower to try and get the milk duct unclogged. A few things that help also is rest, apply heat, breastfeed often on the affected breast and sometimes the infection should be treated with antibiotics.

If the duct is not draining well, it causes an inflammation which can go away on its own or if it persists, you should seek medical attention.

Breastfeedingbasics.com offers this information that may be helpful:

Other helpful suggestions include:   
Apply moist heat before nursing (compresses, warm shower or bath, or leaning over a sink full of warm water).  This will help increase circulation to the area and unclog the lump.
Sit around with a heating pad on a low setting between feedings, especially during the night.  This can also help dissolve the clog.
Encourage the baby to nurse frequently (at least every two hours) and vary the nursing positions so pressure will be put on different ducts. One very strange but  effective nursing position is “hands and knees”.  Try putting the baby down on the bed or on a blanket on the floor and lean over him on all fours. Let your breast hang straight down, falling freely from your ribcage.  Try not to let anyone see you doing this because they will probably fall over laughing.
Sleep on your back or side without putting pressure on the sore breast. 
Wear a supportive bra, but make sure it isn’t too tight.  Try to avoid under-wire bras. 
Offer the sore side first, but before you do, try to hand express a little to soften the areola and get the milk started flowing before baby starts nursing.  Gently massaging the lumpy area in a circular motion , starting behind the lump and working toward the nipple, can help loosen the plug  Sometimes when the clogged milk is released, you may see something strange coming out of your nipple.  It may look like a strand of spaghetti or a grain of sand.  Don’t be surprised – it’s just the milk secretions working their way out.  If the baby is nursing when this happens, you won’t even be aware of it, and it won’t hurt him if he swallows it.  If you are pumping, however, it can be a little scary if you see this strange stuff coming out if you don’t know what it is. 
Get rest, rest, and more rest.  If possible, find someone to help with the housework and other kids for a day or two and take your baby to bed with you.  If that’s impossible, try at least to eliminate any extra activities and find time to put your feet up for an extra couple of hours while you nurse.  
Usually, if you follow these guidelines after discovering a plugged duct, you will feel better and the lumpy area will go away within twenty-four hours.  Even if you have a low-grade fever (less than 101o), you may want to try the measures mentioned above before calling your doctor. 
Once a plugged, inflamed area has progressed into full-blown mastitis, it is important to contact your doctor immediately to begin antibiotic therapy.  About one third of nursing mothers will develop mastitis at some point.  This most often occurs during the first few weeks after birth (1/3 of the cases occur after baby is six months old, and 1/4 after baby is 12 months old), in mothers aged 30-34, and in women who work outside the home.  Often mothers report unusual periods of stress, extreme fatigue, or a cracked nipple (any break in the tissue allows a route of entry for bacteria) before an episode of mastitis.  The type of mastitis following a break in the nipple tissue usually occurs during the early weeks of nursing.
 Contact your doctor immediately if:
Both breasts are affected
The nipple looks infected, and pus or blood appear in the milk
Your fever shoots up to over 101o, especially if symptoms came on suddenly
There are angry looking red streaks near the sore area
You have tried the suggestions above for treating plugged ducts for 24 hours, and symptoms worsen instead of improve
Here is the website http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/html/breast_infections.shtml.

I hope this helps. Please keep us updated.

December 5, 2009 - 11:41am


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