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What causes blocked milk ducts?

Milk ducts can get blocked when milk is not drained well from the breast and thickens inside the ducts. Some things that can add to the risk of a duct getting blocked are: going too long without feeding, skipping feeds; poor feeding and attachment technique; a period of switching from breastfeeding to expressing milk (as with a mother returning to work); not emptying the breast during a feed (often a result of switching the baby too early to the other breast), and; physical pressure on the breast, or part of it (as in an ill-fitting bra or the straps of a baby carrier).

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About this article

Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 14 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 145 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Breastmilk engorgement


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