7 Hacks For Cleaning A Clogged Milk Duct & Easing Breastfeeding Pain

Ad failed to load

Since you've started nursing, you've had to worry about things like getting the perfect latch, producing enough milk, and finding the best way to nurse inconspicuously at your favorite restaurant. But now, you've found that painful lumps in your breasts make nursing almost completely unbearable. If your sore, painful breasts are making it difficult for you to nurse, you should know some hacks for cleaning a clogged milk duct.

According to Baby Center, clogged milk ducts often occur when your breasts are producing milk faster than you are emptying them. The backup can cause a hard lump to form in the breast, along with swelling, redness, and tenderness. In addition to being extremely painful, a clogged milk duct can lead to an infection, as Mama Natural pointed out.

But there are some simple things you can do to soothe your discomfort. A warm shower, a hot compress, and even changing the type of bra you wear can help unclog your ducts and get your milk flowing normally again. Most importantly, you should continue to nurse or pump as normal. Emptying your breasts is the best way to give yourself some much-needed relief.

Ad failed to load

Before you get ready to throw in the towel with nursing, give some of these natural hacks to relieve clogs a try. If you don't find relief or believe you have a more serious infection, be sure to check with your doctor.

Ad failed to load

1Take A Shower


If you can get a few moments to yourself, taking a hot shower can help relieve your discomfort. As Babble mentioned, letting the warm shower hit your breasts before nursing or pumping can help unclog your milk ducts. A shower can also be a great way to relax when you're stressed.

2Keep Nursing


As painful as it sounds, one of the best things you can do when you have a clogged duct is to continue nursing. Place your baby on the breast with the clogged duct first, as Baby Center mentioned. Their sucking will be more intense on the first side and can help clear the clog.

3Change Positions


Changing your nursing position can also help provide some relief for clogged ducts. For example, try placing your baby on the floor and lean over her to nurse. The pull of gravity should help the milk to start flowing normally, as Mothering suggested.

Ad failed to load

4Get Some Rest


If you're experiencing clogged milk ducts, your body may just need a little break. As Mommyhood 101 pointed out, allowing yourself time to rest can help clear clogged milk ducts. Even if it doesn't provide immediate relief, it's a great excuse to put off cleaning out your refrigerator.

5Take Off Your Bra


If you've been pumping and nursing regularly and still have issues, the problem may be with your nursing bra. Wearing a bra that is too tight may be contributing to your clogged ducts, as La Leche League International (LLLI) mentioned.

6Apply A Warm Compress


LLLI recommended applying a warm compress to the affected area can help relieve the discomfort. If you don't have any heated nursing pads on hand, a hot water bottle or warm cloth can do the trick.

Ad failed to load



Babble suggested massaging the breast tissue to relieve the clog and get your milk flowing normally again. Start at the outside of the breast and work your way towards the nipple.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills