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hot shower?


Jo, I assume you've read all the Kellymom stuff on plugged ducts? Have you tried massaging it? I have never had one so I can't give any good advice except for what I remember reading. A friend of mine had one and the congealed milk ended up coming out looking like spaghetti...but after it was out it was out and that was it. Obviously make sure to watch for fever as that might indicate infection.
Good luck resolving this quickly. Does not sound fun. I second the hot shower idea. Also turn Sophia's nose to point towards the plugged duct, while you are nursing. (I'm sure you know all this but just in case.)


Oh, and what to do if your boob turns black and falls off? Um, post a picture, of course. Bwah hah hah hah, I crack myself up.


I got a few of these. Though I have an exceedingly vigorous nurser, I almost always had to strip them by hand -- the milkmaid & cow routine (done in the shower to contain the collateral damage). Hurts, messy, but eventually works. Nothing's fallen off (yet). Sometimes took a day or so of repeated attempts, though. (And the positioning thing never seemed to make a damned bit of difference.)


Try cold compresses btw nursings and warm just before. Are you doing an OTC pain reliever? Also try nursing on your hands and knees so you have gravity as well as the pressure of nursing working to clear it. Look closely at your nipple and see if there's a blocked nipple pore (google "bleb nursing").

Good luck, Jo. Oh, and drink plenty of fluids too.


I agree with the suggestion to hand-express, also in the shower or bath. If you can see the white bleb on the nipple you can try using a sterile needle (or if you're willing to risk infection, your very clean fingernails) to remove the bleb. Taking an anti-inflammatory will help with swelling and pain and might make it easier to express. Warm compresses before, bag of frozen veggies after. Good luck.


Soak the whole breast in a hot bathtub -- even though this means kneeling in the tub in an awkward position. If the plug is *in* the nipple, if you can see the white spot of the plug on your nipple, some discreet poking with a sterilized needle can sometimes draw it out. Blech.

Thanks to a surgical breast biopsy 3 years before nursing, I am a veteran of LOTS of plugged ducts. Some ducts must have gotten cut or scarred during the biopsy, and as a result I got lots of plugs on that side, in that area. Damned painful buggers. The underwater hot water massage was usually the most effective option. Something about the heat AND the liquid made a difference.


I had something like that, I thought it was a plugged nipple pore. I finally managed to pop the thing and got immediate relief. Think popping a big pimple. Eww. I know. Gross.


Ah. All good suggestions; I am pruney from the hot shower/baths.

Here is the funky thing: the plug is, like, RIGHT IN the nipple, like, immediately behind the skin, rather than sort of back in the breast tissue. So all my pressin' and expressin' doesn't seem to do much for it, and there's no bleb yet (although I am VERY excited for that. Picking heaven). It's sort of a strange place to massage, since it *is* the nipple. Does that make sense?

It's right in line with a scar from an old piercing (which is still open and leaks milk). I bet that's a factor.

Ahhh thank you for the support. Will update as events warrant...


Oh, and HA HA HA collateral damage, DoctorMama. Hee.

Heather  Ann

HMMM. I think you are doing everything right. Mine have all been in breast tissue and I have resorted to the therapeutic ultrasound treatments to relieve/break up the darn things. Is there a physio around you that does this? Call around. They *might* be able to help. My LC referred me to the first one I went to, and then I found the next one by calling physio places and asking - with a note of panic in my voice, I might add. I have terrible blocky boobs, so with each of the three kids I have had the u/s and I have been so RELIEVED.


Just had a plugged duct myself, a couple of days ago. A warm rice sock, massage, and pumping + nursing did the trick for me.

I've had clogs in the nipple, too, and also the congealed-milk-a-la-spaghetti result.

You'll get it out. Just keep up the good work.


Yes yes yes mine was RIGHT IN the nipple too. Took lots of (rather painful) squeezing to get that baby to pop. Like in a "I probably shouldn't be doing this" sort of way. But pop it finally did. Not saying that's the *wisest* thing to do but luckily it worked out ok.


how punk rock are you that you have a plugged duct caused by a nipple piercing!


Wow, I have learned a lot from these commenters. I had plugged ducts in my nipple before, but that was SO long ago (with Kelvin) that I don't even remember exactly how it got better. I did use a needle, though, and some white stuff came one one time and gave me immediate relief.

I was in your neighborhood today with the boys (went to the Morris Arboretum 'cause my membership is running out, but it was too full of deadly mosquitoes, so we went to the Jenks playground instead). I hope to see you on Thursday!


Try soaking the nipple in as warm a bowl of water as you can stand - much less complicated than the bath though you still have to lean over the bowl which can get b** uncomfortable and then try the sterilzed needle to work the wee white spot out - promise you instant relief


I've had plugged ducts quite a few times and all the advice is good. Some added advice:

- squeezing the block out (for me it's almost always been, not to scare you, a wee hard milk "stone") is about all that works, once there's enough milk behind it (a needle doesn't help once it's gotten that far). I scrub my thumbnails clean and use them to gently squeeze the nipple like, yes, a pimple.

- a hot water and epsom salt soak first helps (in a bowl) after nursing; olive oil helped too

- I had one for 5 days and although it was really painful - really - I didn't get mastitis. But you have to be really good at taking care of yourself, so lots of rest and vitamins. Your doctor can help too. No black and falling off, really. :)


Hmmm. I'm not the best to give advice on plugged ducts since I've had mastitis THREE FUCKING TIMES already.

Seriously, by the time I notice a plugged duct, it's well on its way to infection.

Anyhooooo...only advice I have is the stuff that's out there already. Massage, nurse, pump, heat, pain-relievers. My midwives said to start every nursing on the sore side, and use heat and massage prior.


Thank God I'm not the only person who poked needles in my nipples!

Hope it blebs, drains, or otherwise goes away soon.


If you are having recurrent plugged ducts, you may want to consider taking lecithin to keep yourself plug-free, in the future. I had a lot of trouble with them myself until I started taking it on the advice of a LC.

Good Luck.


As a veteran of more plugged ducts than I can count, my 2 cents is just to second the suggestion to nurse on hands and knees (that one worked for me about 30% of the time) OR get in a scorching hot shower and hand pump like rocket fire! I mean like 100,000,000,000 squeezes per minute... like as fast as you can go. Sometimes, that was the ONLY way I could get those bastards out. And if you see any red streaks on that booby, get thee to a doctor asap. It's staph (mastitis). I didn't always feel sick/feverish when I had an infection, perhaps oddly.


I'm also a veteran of more plugged ducts than I can count. My latest arsenal involves daily doses of lecithin, which I triple or more when I get a plugged duct. I also soak my boob for about ten minutes in a bowl of hot water with epsom salts, and then nurse immediately afterward. I'll repeat the soakings until it goes away/I can't stand being bent over a bowl any more.

However, I had a bleb that lasted for months. Possibly five months. I was totally freaked out about it and ended up at breast surgeon's office to see if she could get it out. She picked around at it (and was totally unimpressed given the Serious Stuff she sees every day) and gave up pretty quickly. I did the olive oil soaks and all that other stuff. Nothing worked, my supply on that side cut nearly in half, and just when I had decided that thing was now a permanent feature of my boob, it went away. Where it went, I don't know, but my supply seems to have returned.

I did decide to leave the bleb alone after I saw the breast surgeon because I became worried that messing around with it might make it worse. A bleb and painful plugged duct is one thing, an infected nippled is another thing entirely. Yuck.


You've had some great advice to start with and I have to agree with the advice offered. I've had lots of plugged ducts AND I've had mastitis twice.

Do whatever it takes to get rid of that plug, especially nursing on that side often as well as first. Yes, I know it hurts like hell.

At the first sign of any flu-like symptoms, get thee to a doctor. SERIOUSLY. That did backfire on me once -I went to the dr and said "I either have mastitis again or the flu." They tested for influenza, it was positive....turned out I had both. It was horrible.

Anyway, keep up with the hot showers, compresses, massaging (milking, whatever you want to call it LOL) and try to get some extra rest if you can.

Cat, Galloping

can you get a professional to help? i know the physical therapist i saw did a hell of lot more than i could do on my own. very heavy heat pack, followed by heat ultrasound to help break it up, followed by massage. hurt like hell but i always felt better right after. i got the referral through my LC and it was all covered by insurance.


Cabbage leaves?

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