Stoned milk: discover the causes, symptoms and what to do

During breastfeeding the woman may have some complications, such as stoned milk.

Also called breast engorgement , this happens when the breasts are with excess milk.

It usually happens when the baby is starting to breastfeed and has difficulty sucking the milk (catches) or when there is no free demand (when the baby breastfeeds without an appointment).

However, it can happen when the baby is already in transition to more solid foods, stopping breastfeeding so often.

This accumulation of milk in the breasts causes it to become more viscous, and may form nodules that make it difficult for it to escape through the breast ducts.

For this reason, it is called cobbled milk. The woman may feel her breasts aching, stiff and hard.

Read more: What is maternity leave, how does it work and when to enter?

Below, we explain the causes of this problem and how to treat the condition. Check out!

What causes cobbled milk?

Stoned milk is caused by the emptying of the breasts incorrectly or by the fact that the milk remains in them for a long time. This is more frequent in the first weeks of pregnancy, when the woman is still adapting to breastfeeding, but it also happens when the child is weaned , in the transition to bottle.

That milk that accumulates can become thick to the point of forming lumps or lumps in the breasts, making them harder, hotter and sore.

Can stoned milk be mastitis?

Stoned milk can be one of the causes of mastitis, but it can also occur as a consequence of this problem, which is nothing more than an infection in the region during the breastfeeding period.

The main causes of mastitis are the incorrect emptying of the breasts, the obstruction of the lactiferous ducts and bacteria on the baby’s skin or mouth, which can cause the infection.

It is much more common in women who are still in the first weeks of pregnancy, but it can also occur in other periods.

In mastitis, a woman may experience symptoms such as fever and malaise.

Treatment and prevention for the condition, as well as for stoned milk, are the same, the most important being the correct emptying of the breasts.

Can I give the baby stoned milk?

Stoned milk does not prevent the baby from breastfeeding . The problem is that, often, the thickening of the liquid causes the mother to give up breastfeeding, due to pain and other symptoms caused by the condition.

When noticing that the milk is stoned, it is important that the mother continues to breastfeed the baby on demand, that is, whenever the child feels like it.

After breastfeeding, in case of milk, it is important to do the milking manually.

To make this easier, the woman can choose to use hand pumps that help with withdrawal.

In addition, there are other methods that can help women to control and prevent this problem, such as massages and compresses.

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What are the symptoms?

Maternal engorgement is a problem that does not show initial symptoms, which makes the situation difficult to prevent or treat early.

Therefore, when the signs appear, the milk is already stoned. At this stage, the woman feels her breasts more rigid, painful and harder.

Other symptoms that may be present include:

  • Increased breast volume;
  • Flattened nipples;
  • Discomfort in the breasts;
  • Leak of milk.

With the nipples flattened, the baby may have difficulty sucking the ideal amount of milk. Therefore, it is recommended that the woman milk a little with her hands or with the breast pump before breastfeeding.

Other frequently asked questions regarding the symptoms of cobbled milk are:

It hurts?

Stoned milk often causes pain and discomfort in the breasts, as they make them more rigid and harder.

In addition, due to the fact that the milk is more dense and, in some cases, really stoned, it makes breastfeeding painful.

Do you have a fever?

Stoned milk can cause fever, but it is not common in all pregnant women. This is usually a symptom present in women who have developed mastitis as a complication of breast engorgement.

How to deal with?

There are several ways to treat stoned milk (breast engorgement), these being methods made at home, such as the use of compresses, massage and milking (manual or using pumps). The ways of treating stoned milk are similar with the indications for prevention, such as:

Practice book asked

It is important to allow the baby to breastfeed freely, without pre-established times, especially in the first months, when milk production tends to be higher.

In addition to not setting a time, it is important not to limit breastfeeding time. Breastfeeding on demand is one of the main ways to prevent milk from becoming stoned.

Massage the breasts

Before the baby suckles or milks, one of the recommendations that help treat breast engorgement is circular massages on the breasts.

This is a delicate massage that should be done with the tips of the index and middle fingers towards the nipple towards the base of the breasts.

These movements help this accumulated milk to flow better.

Milking surplus milk (manual and with pumps)

If even with breastfeeding on demand, milk production is still very large, to the point of being stored in the breasts, the ideal is to perform milking.

This withdrawal can be done by hand or using bombs. Regardless of the woman’s choice, the ideal is to perform the massage before the procedure, so that it is easier to express the milk.

In such cases, the woman can store it for the baby’s next breastfeeding, but she can also donate it to breast milk donation banks .

Use compresses (warm and cold)

Compresses help to reduce the pain that the blocking of milk can cause in the breasts.

Cold cuts are recommended to be applied to the breasts between feeding intervals, as they help to reduce excessive milk production.

This is important for relieving pain and emptying the breasts (especially at weaning).

The lukewarm ones are used to stimulate the release of milk and make it more fluid, and can be used before breastfeeding or milking.

However, in these cases it is necessary to be more careful, as hot temperatures stimulate milk production and can aggravate the condition.

Medicines

There are no specific drugs for the treatment of stoned milk , but home remedies or treatments, such as the use of compresses and pumps for expressing milk manually.

When the condition progresses to mastitis, the doctor may recommend medications or products to treat this complication.

This may include the use of antibiotics , ointments, pumps and compresses, according to each case.

What to do to not let the milk get stuck?

To prevent the milk from clogging and the appearance of lumps, some simple measures are effective.

It is necessary that the mother be more careful to express the milk when the baby does not breastfeed enough, in addition to the practice of free demand.

This means that the best way to prevent the condition is to breastfeed your baby whenever he feels like it .

If after breastfeeding the breasts are still full, it is necessary to remove the excess milk manually, using a pump.

It is also recommended to use bras that are in the appropriate size, which gives a good support to the breasts, avoiding jamming in the lower part of the breasts.

If even following these steps the condition occurs, it is important that the woman seek medical help.

Weaning without risk of blocking milk

At weaning, a process in which the child stops receiving breastfeeding, the ideal is to gradually reduce breastfeeding. By stopping little by little, decreasing the amount of feedings, the chances of the milk shaking are less.

Therefore, it is recommended that women continue to perform milking, to reduce the discomfort of standing milk.

It is also recommended that they use cold compresses, which help to unscrew the milk and reduce the amount of milk naturally.


Stoned milk is a problem that mothers may have to face while breastfeeding.

Often, this is a problem that causes breastfeeding mothers to give up breastfeeding, as it is a condition that causes discomfort and pain in the breasts.

That is why it is so important to know what causes thickening, to know how to treat and prevent it. Thus, the baby and the mother are able to benefit from breastfeeding.

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