Breastfeeding (cont.)

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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

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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?

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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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Breastfeeding - Experience Question: Describe your experience with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding - Foods to Avoid Question: Have you noticed that certain foods affect your breast milk? What are they, and how does your baby react?
Breastfeeding - Sore Nipples Question: Please share remedies for relieving sore nipples due to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding - Complications Question: Do you have fever, chills or breast pain during breastfeeding? What did your doctor prescribe as treatment?
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Breastfeeding - Weaning Advice Question: How old was your baby when you weaned him/her? How did you know it was time?