Unfortunately, I dealt with this problem on several of occasions.
What is a clogged milk duct?
When you produce milk faster than expressing, milk can get backed up in a duct. When this happens, the tissue around the duct can become swollen and inflamed, pressing on the duct, causing a blockage.
What causes clogged milk ducts?
A clogged milk duct can occur if you are not expressing milk on a regular basis.
Some opportunities that your body has to create a clogged milk duct include:
-Baby isn't feeding often enough
-Suddenly stop nursing all together
-Using a pump that is not strong enough
-Stress that lowers your body's hormone that allows you to release milk.
What are the symptoms?
Sore or tender
Red and inflamed
Warm to the touch
If you have flu-like symptoms, such as achy, tired, or feverish, it could be a sign that your clogged milk duct is now infected and should not be left untreated. Not treating an infected milk duct could lead to mastitis.
How to treat a clogged milk duct?
As painful as it may be, nurse your baby as much as possible along the clogged milk duct. The position you hold baby may be awkward, but do whatever you can to get this duct unclogged.
Try to nurse baby on the side of the clogged milk duct first, when baby's suck is the strongest.
Hand express or pump to drain milk ducts.
Position baby so his chin is facing the sore spot to direct the suction.
Massage. My lactation specialist told me to pretend the clogged milk duct was like a grape and I needed to pop the grape by putting pressure on the back of the grape, allowing the juice...errrr...milk drain out. (I swear by this trick!)
Heating pad or ice packs. My lactation specialist suggested to heat before I nursed and to ice when I was done. I purchased the disposable heating packs and put them on my breast (being held by my bra) for 20 minutes.