A blocked milk duct is when a milk duct can’t drain properly as a result of a blockage. This can cause a lump in the breast, as well as discomfort in the area.

Blocked milk ducts can lead to mastitis, which is an inflammation of breast tissue. This causes painful, red, and swollen breasts. You can also develop a fever or flu-like symptoms with mastitis (which is a sign that you should give your doctor a visit!)

Some women are able to manage their blocked milk ducts and/or mastitis at home and with physiotherapy. Here are some helpful tips on how to manage blocked milk ducts.

1. Take off your bra!

Wearing a bra causes compression and increases pressure in your breasts. This can increase your discomfort as well as prevent the proper flow of milk. So let your ladies be free!

2. Start with your blocked breast first!

It is completely safe to feed your baby using your sore breast. So start feeding with that breast to try and encourage as much milk flow as possible.

3. Change up your position!

Use different breastfeeding positions throughout the day. By changing your position, milk will flow from different parts of your breast.

4. Use warm compressions and/or take warm showers!

The warmth of the shower will help decrease the discomfort. Try self massage and self-expression while under the warm water.

5. Self-express or pump!

It is common for a baby not to completely empty the breast during feeding. So use a breast pump to help get the remainder of the milk out.

6. Visit a physiotherapist!


How can physiotherapy help?

A study published in 2015 showed that receiving physiotherapy for a blocked milk duct can significantly reduce pain, difficulty and stress while breastfeeding, as well as increase mothers confidence in the ability to handle their breastfeeding independently. We like it when science supports our treatments!

Physiotherapist’s can use techniques such as therapeutic ultrasound, massage and taping to help treat your blocked milk ducts. They are also able to educate you on more different home self-care techniques you can use.

As a mom, there are a list of important things to worry about, and you don’t want your breasts to be part of that list. Give your physiotherapist a call if you are struggling!