Lactation & Cross Nursing


Incomplete emptying of one or more milk ducts causes this condition. This sometimes occurs when the infant's feeding position does not allow him to draw equally on all of the milk sinuses, causing stasis. Milk may build up behind the plug. Tenderness may develop in the area of the plug, and a lump may be felt at the point of blockage. Under these circumstances of simple obstruction, no fever, flu like symptoms, or systemic reactions occurs.

The remedy is

  1. more frequent feeding, especially of the affected side
  2. rest
  3. analgesics, if necessary, and
  4. application of moist heat

If the mother can lie down and allow the infant to nurse on the affected breast for half an hour or longer, the improvement is often dramatic. If treatment is prompt, recovery should be nearly complete within 24 hour. It is highly desirable that the plug is removed quickly, since a breast infection and considerable discomfort may follow this. If the plug can be released, however, improvement can be rapid. Sometimes plugs dissolve or are resorbed by maternal tissues. If the plug is released and comes out with the milk, it may be brownish or greenish and thick and stringy. This poses no known danger to the baby, but he may temporarily reject the milk.

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