This information is available and taken from Baby Buddy app, verified by experts in our Editorial Board including representatives from Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Psychiatrists as well as other key health organisations in the UK. To download Baby Buddy, visit the relevant app store of your choice:

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Blocked ducts and mastitis are common breastfeeding problems caused when milk gets stuck in your breast.

A "blocked duct" is when you get a sore lump on your breast that may also feel hot.

If you have a blocked duct and you also feel achy and feverish, like having the flu, then you probably have "mastitis". That's when the area around the blocked duct gets inflamed and may be infected.

Blocked ducts and mastitis are very common and usually happen because:

  • your baby is not in quite the right position to feed, so doesn't get all the milk
  • you wear a bra that's too tight
  • you miss a feed (for example, you give your baby a bottle of formula instead).

If you get a blocked duct, the solution is to:

  • breastfeed your baby as often as you can so the milk drains out
  • gently stroke the sore area towards your nipple when you're feeding him
  • have a warm bath or put a warm flannel on the sore area
  • check the position when you're feeding him - watch this video to see how to get this right:

If you have mastitis, you may be able to clear it by doing the same things as for a blocked duct, and you could also:

  • express your milk in between feeds or at the end of a feed
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • rest as much as you can, but keep feeding your baby.

If the mastitis doesn't get better within 12-24 hours you should go to the doctor - you may need antibiotics to treat the infection. It's safe to carry on breastfeeding while you take this medicine.

To find out more about coping with mastitis, watch the video.

If you want to get some help with breastfeeding, you could talk to your midwife or health visitor, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212). You could use the 'Baby Around' feature in Baby Buddy app to find out whether there are any breastfeeding support groups nearby.