Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quiz: Your Baby's First Year!

Clogged milk ducts

Clogged milk ducts may appear as small, red, tender lumps within the breast. Milk ducts may become clogged with dried milk or other material. The goal of treatment is opening these blocked ducts. This can be aided by increasing the breastfeeding frequency and offering the affected breast first, as well as pumping the breast after breastfeeding if the baby is not emptying the breast.

Moist heat packs can be applied to the affected area to increase blood flow and healing. A warm shower and massaging of the area may also enhance resolution of this problem.

Sometimes, the baby will refuse the affected breast because the milk develops a sour taste. Pump the breast and empty it as well as possible. Continue to offer that breast to the baby until he/she accepts the affected breast again.

Sore nipples

Sore nipples can be relieved by exposing the nipples to the air as much as possible. Using a hair dryer on a low setting to dry nipples after breastfeeding may also provide relief. Nipples should be washed only with water, never with soap, alcohol, benzoin, or premoistened towelettes. Petroleum-based ointments and other cosmetic preparations should not be used, but unmedicated lanolin may help alleviate nipple cracking.

When should one seek medical care for problems with breastfeeding?

It is important to call your health-care provider if the above techniques do not alleviate the problem or if you develop serious symptoms such as fever or signs of mastitis (a breast inflammation that may be caused by an infection). Symptoms of mastitis include increasing pain in the breast, fever, chills, sweats, breast swelling and/or hardness, and redness of the skin over the affected area. A delay in treating mastitis could lead to a more severe infection and possible breast abscess.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2015
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