How to treat and prevent clogged ducts and mastitis while exclusively pumping

How to treat and prevent clogged ducts and mastitis while exclusively pumping

May 23 , 2022

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Team Lilu

One of the most frustrating aspects of being an exclusively pumping mom is that most advice out there pertains to breastfeeding and doesn’t really apply to breast pumping. When you run into a clogged duct or mastitis, the general consensus is that the most effective way to clear them is by putting the baby to the breast. But what if the baby can’t or won’t nurse and you have to pump?

We asked our friend, CLC and exclusive pumping expert, Amanda Glenn from ExclusivePumping.com, for advice on how to clear a clogged duct or mastitis while exclusive pumping and this is what she suggested.

  • Pump for longer on the affected side, if possible, while keeping up your normal schedule on the other side. The goal is to keep the affected side as empty as you can.
  • Try warm compresses and vibration– like that from a vibrator, electric toothbrush, or a lactation massager– on the affected side.
  • Dangle pumping– in which you lean forward to help milk flow with the aid of gravity–  can work well for some people.
  • The epsom salt in a Haakaa trick– fill a Haakaa half full with warm water, add epsom salts, attach haakaa making sure the nipple is submerged, and leave for 10 minutes– can really help.
  • Hand massage your breasts to help move the milk towards the nipple. For recurring clogged ducts and mastitis, you can also try the Lilu Massager + Bra, which gently yet effectively compresses the breasts and promotes adequate milk retrieval while you pump.
  • Consider ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation.

Exclusively pumping - how to clear a clogged duct and mastitis while exclusively pumping

For more detailed information on how to recognize, clear and treat clogged ducts and mastitis go to ExclusivePumping.com. Always consult your doctor if you feel your symptoms are worsening or not getting better. 


A previous version of this blog post cited Amanda Glenn as an IBCLC, she's actually a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) not an IBCLC. 

Lilu is a Women’s Health company building tech-enabled devices to empower new moms. Our first product, the Lilu Massage Bra, mimics compression massage, so you can empty your breasts fully to establish, increase and maintain your milk supply. Pump up to 50% more milk each session, all while going hands-free.
Lilu Massage Bra with flanges

Lilu Massage Bra


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Lilu Massager + Bra

Lilu Massager + Bra

The Lilu Massager + Bra is designed to make pumping moms’ lives easier. It works with your pump so that you can produce up to 50% more milk per pumping session completely hands-free. It enables you to actually get stuff done or simply relax while pumping. Reach your pumping goals, with Lilu.

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Lilu Massager + Bra

Lilu bra mimics breast massage, so you can express 30%-55% more milk in less time.
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