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8 Ways to Clear a Clogged Milk Duct

By Katie |

The second day we were home from the hospital, I was pumping and felt something strange in my right breast. It was like someone had snuck rocks into it. Painful, hard lumps permeated one side and I had no idea what was going on. I went to google and sure enough, they fit perfectly with the description of blocked/clogged milk ducts.

From that day on, it has been one after the other. After 4 and a half months, I came down with mastitis for the first time last week and let me tell you, it’s not an experience I ever want to repeat. The combination of the 101 degree fever and the horribly sore spot in my breast (like someone had just punched me over and over and over), were misery. Thankfully I’m on the mend, but truly at least once a week I’m struggling with a clogged duct and I have one in particular that re-clogs whenever I go too long between pumping sessions.

Through research and way too much trial and error, these are the solutions I found for clearing a clogged milk duct.

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Ways to Unclog Blocked Milk Ducts During Breastfeeding


This is always my first line of defense. If I know I've gone too long without pumping, sometimes I'll pre-emptively toss some heat on it using these Lansinoh heat packs. It fits into my bra and doesn't get everything soaking wet like a warm washcloth. This seems to be sufficient for small and just recently clogged ducts, though if they've been around for more than a few hours, I usually have to pull in some bigger guns.

How do you get rid of clogged milk ducts?

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About Katie



Katie is a former teacher, part-time PT, wife, and first-time mother to the baby with the best ears on the Internet. You can find more of her grammatically questionable writing at her blog, Overflowing Brain. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “8 Ways to Clear a Clogged Milk Duct

  1. Emily S says:

    I wish I had known about the vibration thing when I had my blocked duct! Thankfully heat and massage worked over the course of a few days. Good info for next time (hoping there’s not a next time!)

  2. Erin says:

    I never got clogs with my first child, but get them constantly this time around, always in the same spot. They are usually super painful and very tough to get out! I’m doing all the things you note, including religiously taking the supplement but it doesn’t seem to be helping – I still get one every few weeks or so. One caution against massage – each time I’ve done that I’ve ended up with a burst blood vessel inside my boob and blood in my milk. I try now but am VERY careful to be extremely gentle, which probably doesn’t do a ton of good but I’m wary of having blood in my milk again.

  3. allie says:

    my husband sucked really hard and it unclogged the duct instantly. he pointed his chin at the hard spot and did i few long sucks and it de-clogged it

  4. Ashka says:

    Just wanted to thank you so much for posting this! It worked wonders for me and I had immediate relief.

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