What to do if you get a breast lump during breastfeeding?

December 20, 2022

Breastfeeding women may notice a lump on one or both of their breasts. There are many possible reasons for these lumps and their treatment depends on the reason of occurance. 

Sometimes these lumps go away on their own or with the help of some home remedies. However, in some cases it’s important to see a doctor for a proper medical treatment. 

Reasons of Breast Lump During Breastfeeding

  • Blocked milk duct: 

sometimes a lump forms on the breast due to a blocked milk duct. There’s no apparent reason for this blockage, but there are number of contributing factors, such as: 

  • Tight clothing around the breast,
  • Baby isn’t latching well,
  • Too much time in between feedings 


  • Engorgement:

this occurs when the breasts become too full because the newborn is not feeding enough. Due to engorgement, a lump is usually formed around the armpit area.

  • Mastitis: 

Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue due to an infection, allergy, or a blocked milk duct.

  • Abscess:

Abscess is a painful, swollen lump formed when mastitis or extreme engorgement isn’t treated well. It is a rare condition that breastfeeding mothers go through. 

  • Swollen lymph node:

breast tissues extend up to the armpit so tender, swollen, or enlarged lymph nodes can be felt under one of both of the arms. The reason for these swollen lymph nodes is an infection, engorgement, or mastitis.

  • Cyst:

A galactocele is a smooth, benign, milk-filled cyst that develops on the breast. It isn’t painful but could be uncomfortable. Galactoceles usually go away on their own when mother stops breastfeeding. However, doctors may take a sample of the content of the cyst or order an ultrasound to ensure that the cyst is benign.

  • Breast cancer: 

Breast cancer while breastfeeding is a rare occurrence, only 3% of the breastfeeding women develop breast cancer. Thus, it is important to notify the doctor when mothers notice a lump in their breasts. 

Risk Factors for Breast Lumps During Breastfeeding

A Lump in breast during breastfeeding can arise from various factors:

  • Previous Breast Surgeries: Prior breast surgeries like augmentation or reduction can alter breast tissue, increasing the risk of blocked ducts or cysts.
  • HistoryofBreastInfections: Past infections like mastitis predispose to recurring episodes during breastfeeding, leading to inflammation and lumps.
  • PoorBreastfeedingTechnique: Incorrect latch or breastfeeding methods hinder milk removal, causing engorgement and blocked ducts, culminating in lumps.
  • UseofMedications: Certain medications, especially hormonal treatments or decongestants, can affect milk production or duct function, potentially causing lumps.
  • BreastTrauma: Any trauma or injury to breast tissue, whether accidental or intentional, can disrupt normal function and lead to lump formation.
  • HormonalChanges: Fluctuations in hormones during pregnancy and breastfeeding influence breast milk composition and tissue behavior, contributing to conditions like engorgement or cysts.
  • FamilyHistory: Women with a family history of breast conditions, such as cancer or benign diseases, have a higher risk of developing lumps. Regular monitoring is essential for early detection.

Understanding these risk factors empowers breastfeeding mothers to prioritize breast health, seek timely medical advice, and adopt appropriate preventive measures.

Medical Intervention for Breast Lump During Breastfeeding

In some cases, home remedies for breast lumps during breastfeeding may suffice, while in others, medical interventions may be necessary. However, the medical intervention options for breast lumps during breastfeeding vary depending on the underlying cause. Here’s an overview of the possible treatments:

  • Antibiotics: If the lump is caused by an infection like mastitis or an abscess, antibiotics may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to clear the infection.
  • Painrelievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, which are safe to use while breastfeeding, may be recommended to alleviate discomfort associated with breast lumps.
  • Warmcompress: Applying a warm, wet compress to the affected breast can help reduce inflammation and discomfort, especially in cases of blocked milk ducts or mastitis.
  • Breastdrainage: For abscesses or severe engorgement, healthcare providers may recommend draining the affected breast through a surgical procedure or needle aspiration to remove excess fluid and alleviate pain.
  • Surgicalintervention: In some cases, surgical procedures such as excision may be necessary to remove certain types of cysts or abnormal growths that do not resolve with other treatments.

Breastfeeding women should consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations tailored to their individual circumstances.

Natural Remedies For Breast Lump During Breastfeeding

Some steps that can be taken at home to treat breast lumps are: 

Usually clumps are caused due to clogged milk ducts, however, nursing can still be continued on the affected breasts. 

In case, baby doesn’t drain the affected breasts, pressure can be applied with hands to take out milk from it or a pump to prevent clogging.

  • Apply a warm, wet compress on the affected breast,
  • Gently massage the breasts between feedings to help release the clogs,
  • Apply ice packs on the affected area
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing that doesn’t irritate your breasts.

It is important to see a doctor if the lump doesn’t go away on its own after trying home remedies. See a doctor if: 

  • The area around the lump is red and its size has increased, 
  • If the mother has high fever 
  • If the mother has flu-like symptoms 
  • There’s extreme pain and discomfort 

If mastitis or some other infection is the reason for the cause of lumps, the doctor could prescribe antibiotics, along with some over-the-counter painkillers that are safe to take while breastfeeding.

Tips to Prevent Breast Lumps

To keep your breastfeeding journey smooth and avoid breast lumps, follow these tips:

  • Ensure Proper Latch: Position your baby correctly for a good latch to prevent blocked ducts.
  • MaintainBreastHygiene: Keep your breasts clean and dry to prevent infections.
  • FeedFrequently: Nurse your baby often to prevent engorgement and blocked ducts.
  • VaryFeedingPositions: Switch up how you hold your baby during feedings to ensure all areas of your breast are emptied.
  • LimitNippleShields: Use nipple shields sparingly as they can interfere with milk flow, potentially leading to blocked ducts.
  • StayHydratedandNourished: Drink plenty of fluids and eat a balanced diet to support milk production and breast health.
  • ManageStress: Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress, which can impact milk production and breast health.
  • GradualWeaning: Ease into weaning to avoid engorgement and blocked ducts. Consult a healthcare provider for guidance.

By following these simple steps, you can reduce the risk of developing breast lumps while breastfeeding. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a healthcare provider or lactation consultant.


In some cases, patients may also need some additional tests such as a mammogram or an ultrasound to ensure that the lump is benign. It is best to follow the prescribed treatment plan.

It should be added that in most cases it is safe to continue breastfeeding. If the reason for formation of a lump is a blocked duct then breastfeeding should be continued as it may help unclog the duct. 

However, if the  breastfeeding is too painful on the affected breast then mothers can also try to pump breast milk.


How do you treat a breast lump while breastfeeding?

To treat a breast lump while breastfeeding, it’s essential to address the underlying cause. This may involve applying warm compresses, gentle massaging, and ensuring proper breastfeeding techniques. If the lump persists or is accompanied by redness, fever, or severe pain, consult a doctor promptly for further evaluation and treatment.

Is it normal to get hard lumps in the breast while breastfeeding?

Yes, it’s normal to experience hard lumps in the breasts while breastfeeding. These lumps can occur due to various reasons, such as blocked milk ducts, engorgement, mastitis, or abscesses. Most of the time, these lumps are harmless and temporary.

Do breastfeeding lumps go away?

Breast lumps during breastfeeding can have various causes, such as blocked milk ducts, engorgement, mastitis, or abscesses. Some lumps may resolve on their own or with home treatment, while others require medical attention. It’s essential to monitor any persistent lumps and seek help if needed

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