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Learn the ABCs of Releasing a Blocked Milk Duct

By Taya Griffin (she/her), Lactation Consultant

Taya Griffin, Lactation Consultant, guides you on how to release a blocked milk duct for breastfeeding.

Hi, my name is Taya Griffin, and I’m an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant in the Toronto area. I’m here to talk about the ABCs of releasing a blocked duct.

A: Apply heat.

You want to apply heat for some time before a feed to soften the congestion in the breast. You can do this with a hot water bottle, a heating pad, a microwaveable bean bag, possibly even getting in the shower.

Apply this heat.


B: Breast compressions while your baby feeds.

Remember to apply the breast compressions around the tender and hard areas. Only when your baby is either sucking or drinking. When your baby rests, you rest. When your baby starts to suckle drawing the milk out of the breast, that’s the time to squeeze vigorously around the blockage.


C: Cold compress.

After you have worked through the blocked duct, if your breast is feeling sore, something cold can really provide relief.


There are two other options for blocked ducts. If you find that they do not resolve within 24 to 48 hours, it can be very helpful to seek out someone who does therapeutic ultrasound. This could be a physiotherapist, a chiropractor, even a naturopath. This can help break down the milk that is clogged in the walls of those ducts.

Finally, for really stubborn, blocked ducts, due to stickier or thicker milk, and make sure to speak to an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant, to make sure that this applies for you. But lecithin, at the correct dose, can help to flow that milk more easily through the ducts preventing these ongoing stubborn, blocked ducts.

You can reach out to me through West End Mamas or if you have any other questions.

Happy nursing.

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