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What Are Milk Duct Infections and How Does One Prevent Them?

Milk ducts are glands on the areola of the breast that can get infected and sore, says Kathleen McCue, a Maryland-based nurse practitioner and lactation consultant with Bethesda Breastfeeding. The ducts inside the breast can get plugged with stagnant milk, causing a milk duct infection, she says. “If moms have an oversupply, this can be a problem,” says McCue. Nursing moms should continue breastfeeding frequently or pump to avoid engorgement and increase the possibility of dislodging the milk duct that is plugged or infected, says McCue. “Breast massage can be a huge benefit during feeding or pumping if moms start to feel discomfort," says McCue. Applying a cold compress to the infected breast after nursing can help to reduce inflammation, she says.

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