You’ve noticed a small lump in your breast around your nipple, or maybe your breast has just had some pain or swelling. Either way, you’re uncomfortable and want to know what’s going on with your breasts. These two things are a couple of common clogged milk duct symptoms. Keep reading to learn about more symptoms and if you may be suffering from a clogged milk duct.
While a clogged milk duct is totally common and not a huge concern (other than it being a huge pain!), getting rid of a clogged milk duct is important in preventing mastitis. It can also help improve milk flow.
However, you can’t work on getting rid of your clogged duct if you don’t know what it is OR how to recognize it. By knowing the signs, you can treat it more quickly and hopefully prevent it from happening again.
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What is a Clogged Milk Duct?
A clogged milk duct is an obstruction in the pathway that brings milk from your breast to your baby. It can occur at any point in the milk ductal system. It often occurs when milk isn’t being removed from the breast as quickly as it is being created. They are more common when your milk is first coming in or when you are dropping feeds due to weaning – but they can happen at any point during your breastfeeding journey.
This is typically recognized by a small lump in your breast but there are also many other symptoms that we’re going to discuss!
A lump in your breast
Possibly the most common and easily recognized symptom of a clogged milk duct is a small (or not so small!) lump in your breast in a specific area. This lump might be a little bit sore or inconvenient and it’s a tell-tale sign of a clogged duct.
These lumps can vary in size – sometimes they are as small as a pea or pebble, while other times they can be very large.
Because a clog can occur at any point in your milk ductal system, some women find them in odd places – such as in their arm pits!
If you have a lump that doesn’t resolve in a few days, be sure to work with your doctor. It may be nothing more than a stubborn clog, but it’s important to follow up on.
Slower milk flow on one side
If you’re noticing your milk flow being much smaller on one of your breasts, that breast might have a clogged duct. However, if the decrease in milk supply is because your baby prefers feeding from your other breast- don’t automatically assume the worst!
A milk bleb
A milk bleb is a small white, pink, or light yellow spot on your nipple. This little spot might be causing you pain, especially while you’re breastfeeding. It is probably a small blocked duct at your nipple tip caused by a small amount of milk or overgrown skin.
Pulled Muscle Feeling
Sometimes you won’t even feel an actual lump in the breast – it may. just feel like you have a pulled or sore muscle. This can be the start of a clog, or it can be a smaller obstruction that just isn’t palpable.
Heat and swelling in the breast
Your breast might have a swollen warm area that is a clogged milk duct. This is likely uncomfortable and something that you can resolve fairly easily!
These symptoms are all likely leaving you with discomfort and even pain! It is best to resolve a clogged milk duct before it turns into mastitis and now that you’re aware of the symptoms, you can get through it. We’re here for you!
If you need some more advice on how to get rid of a clogged milk duct check out our articles and videos regarding clogged ducts.
More Posts You May Enjoy
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Katie Clark is a Certified Lactation Educator, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and IBCLC student. She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.