I need a little support and encouragement...

Holly - posted on 11/13/2008 ( 24 moms have responded )

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I have a clogged milk duct. I began suspecting this yesterday afternoon. Sure enough, today I'm all clogged up, sore and can't get the milk to flow from the one duct. Baby has been fussy about nursing on that side for a few days...can't get her to nurse more than 5-6 minutes unless she's sleepy...and then who know how much she's actually nursing. This is the fourth time this duct has been plugged since she was born (eight months ago). The first three times it was an obvious bleb. This time I can't seem to see anything so I think it may be plugged further in. I'm gong to work on nursing her on this side each time she feeds, warm compresses/showers, and pumping. Each time this happens I get so discouraged...and afraid that it'll turn into mastitis. If anyone has info, help, or encouragement I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

24 Comments

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Mary - posted on 11/16/2008

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Oops, I forgot, I also use them when my milk is first coming in and I get engorged. They provide some relief from that inflamed hot red uncomfortable few days. Especially when they are nice and cool from the fridge.

Holly - posted on 11/16/2008

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Cabbage leaves huh? Who would've thought that cabbage leaves could be so useful! lol!

Mary - posted on 11/15/2008

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So glad to hear its cleared up Holly!

Someone mentioned the cabbage leaves and I just wanted to add that they were WONDERFUL when I had mastitis. I did the antibiotics of course, to clear the infection, but that hard painful milk duct thing that just won't go away is relieved by the cabbage. What it does is take down the inflammation, but like someone said, it can dry up your milk if left on too long, or done for an extended period of time. I did like, 20 min. every couple hours and it took the pain and swelling right down. Then I stopped. It also works on infected vericous veins and is supposed to relieve arthritis. The University of British Columbia has done extensive studies on cabbage to try to figure out why. Interesting I think. :)

Helen - posted on 11/14/2008

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What a read on this post! A lot of GREAT advice. I cringed in phantom pain reading your story. So CONGRATS Holly on finally clearing that duct. Kudos to you, and all the really great moms who responded.

Niprib - posted on 11/14/2008

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I experienced mastitis with my first child, it isn't much fun. I have had a clogged duct once with my second child, but it has gone much better I think due the ability to nurse more frequently. The remedies you listed are the best way to avoid discomfort. Don't lose heart, just do your best to nurse as often as possible or pump the side that is bothering you to empty it out. This seemed to help me. You are doing a wonderful thing for your child, don't forget that!

Holly - posted on 11/14/2008

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Ladies, good news! Yay! I rested as much as possible, made sure I was drinking enough liquids, and that I was eating a good diet, did hot compresses and massage, pumped after feedings and....after my sweet baby nursed on the plugged side at 2pm (for only 5 minutes) I decided to do a little more massage. I could see the bleb so I applied pressure to my breast in the area it was most full and massaged my nipple a little and "pop!" the blockage finally passed! Yay! I soaked her burp cloth by just letting the milk that was backed up run and then when it slowed I pumped an additional 2 oz of milk before that slowed a little.



Thank you for all the replies and support! I really appreciate it! My boob is still tender but much relieved! lol!

Shirley - posted on 11/14/2008

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Mary posted a supplement Lecithin vitamin/supplement and it really does work! I take them all the time when I feel a plugged duct coming on and it works fast! And easy too. Go to Wal-mart and get some now! Good luck!!!

Heather - posted on 11/13/2008

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o and try switching the position on how you feed him on that side. Also it helps to have his chin pointed in the direction you are plugged.

Heather - posted on 11/13/2008

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OMG... I just got diagnosed with masititis two days ago... it's no fun. The lump in my breast is the size of a baseball. I had to go to the doctor and get put on an antibiotic. The only thing you can do is just nurse nurse nurse... hot and cold compressants, warm, showers, and pump. It really hurts.

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I used to have a lot of problems with plugged ducts when my baby was younger that lasted maybe 2-4 days. What worked for me was to put a hot (as hot as you can stand) wet compress on the plugged duct as soon as I noticed it and until it was gone. I would also massage the lumpy area very firmly (enough to cause a lot of pain) and express from that side simultaneously as much as possible. I would also nurse him first from that side, and in different positions, and, after nursing, express while firmly pressing down on the lump. Eventually, I'd notice a white dot on my nipple, and once you squeeze that out, the milk should flow freely. Hope that helps.

Jennifer - posted on 11/13/2008

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I had those too...they hurt so bad! What worked for me was to look for the little white spot on my nipple and gently pull at the skin on that spot with a sterilized tweezers...once the skin broke a little the milk flowed and I had almost instant relief! It hurt a little to do that but not nearly as bad as being plugged up! The hot showers, massage, chin-aiming did nothing to help me... Good luck!!!!

Beth - posted on 11/13/2008

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I feel for you! I have had blocked ducts 3 times now(two just recently about 3 weeks apart), and it stinks. The worst is trying to get that extra rest you know you so desperately need. I took tylenol for my fever(I was achy and freezing cold) and kept hot compresses on almost all day. I also did a VERY hot, long shower, and massaged the plug as they ate(I have twins). It took anywhere from 1-2 days each time to finally resolve. The best thing you can do is not give up and hang in there. I also talked to a lactation consultant the first time it happened and she made me feel much better too. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you won't get mastitis. Good luck!

Holly - posted on 11/13/2008

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Thank you for all the replies. I'm still working on this problem. I was finally able to get her to nurse on that side for about 20 minutes but I'm still plugged. I'm going to take a nice long ultra warm shower and do a little gentle massage. If it's not fixed by tomorrow I'm going to see the lactation consultant and maybe use some cabbage leaves. Thank you again for all your support. It helps to know that others have gone through this.

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i had to manualy massage and express milk when i had a plugged duct with warm compresses as well. i could never get the ducts unplugged with pumping. make sure she is emptying your breast or pump after she is done feeding until you are empty.

i hope you over come this obstacle. good luck, :)

Krista - posted on 11/13/2008

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hey there, first off you are doing the best possible thing for your little one in the owrld by nursing her, i have had lactation consultants tell me that even smokers that nurse is sometimes better then formula and with all the craze with formulas lately... THANK GOD we decided to nurse, and our babies don't have kidney stones like the babies in china! No Worries our bodies know how much milk our babies need and they will provide for them.
It is funny to me that she notices and favors the other side. When i was clogged (only once) i found the massaging while nursing and while pumping helped to work out the clog and nursing on the side as much as possible.... Hot Packs, mothers milk tea, i have even been told that an ice cold beer will help a mother that with lactating issues.... i am wondering if your making too much milk that she isn't drinking and that is why you were clogged up? The best advice i can give would be to tell your self over and over in your head that you and your baby are going to work this out together and this is a small milestone in your relationship and the best is yet to come.... if you believe it strongly enough you will 'will it to be'

Ellen - posted on 11/13/2008

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Yes, go talk with a lactation consultant in person. Bring your hungry baby with. They can work wonders.

Heidi - posted on 11/13/2008

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Thanks for posting this. I"m sitting here right now with the same problem. I wore an underwire bra yesterday and today, haven't had enough water and definitely am not resting....duh!



The warm compress was the best for me the last time. I also got out a heating pad and put a wet washcloth inside the pouch, so it was warm, moist heat for a long period of time. The next day it worked itself out.

Shay - posted on 11/13/2008

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"I know it's really weird but I had a clogged duct one time and I read you can get on all fours and lean over her to feed her or put her on the bed and lean over if the duct is on the top of your breast so her chin lines up. I never had to do it but maybe you could try it. Good luck!!! So painful!"


In response....actually that does work....I tried it once...I have dealt with plugged ducts with both of my children... This may sound silly but this also works...The last one I had was really bad...I had a fever and most of my right breast was really hard. My lactation consultant advised using cabbage leaves...but only as long as you need to because it could also dry you up if you use it too long. It actually took me about 18 hours to clear it away and then I stopped. I would use cabbage leaves as a last result. Just put a couple leaves on the inside of your bra until the leaves wilt. It feels really good if you keep the cabbage in the fridge. Hope this helps

Kerry - posted on 11/13/2008

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I know it's really weird but I had a clogged duct one time and I read you can get on all fours and lean over her to feed her or put her on the bed and lean over if the duct is on the top of your breast so her chin lines up. I never had to do it but maybe you could try it. Good luck!!! So painful!

Mary - posted on 11/13/2008

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Hey Holly. :) I'm still chuckling at the visual of your baby hanging over your shoulder nursing. lol.

I have the same problem with an overactive let down reflex. I had a lactation consultant who helped me and the babies deal with it. When you feel the milk start to let down, don't let her bite you (ouch) just unlatch her and let it flow for those first really fast seconds into a receiving blanket or hand towel or something... then when it has eased up a bit, put her back on. I had babies go on nursing strikes because they just couldn't handle the fast flow. Well, they don't have to. As they get older they get more adapted to it and then you may find that she starts preferring the faster breast because then she can get down and play sooner. :) But if it upsets her, don't make her try to deal with it, just help her out. Maybe then she will be more willing to nurse that side properly, so you don't get plugged up. Meanwhile, just vary your holds a bit so that even slightly diff. ducts are worked, and that one will clear up quickly. Watch for a fever or body aches in yourself, but if you take care of this today with all that you're already doing and try to get a nap in, it shouldn't develop into mastitis.

Holly - posted on 11/13/2008

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Looking over the past week here's contributions to my problem...I probably haven't had enough water/liquid to drink, the baby has not been napping or sleeping nearly as much as I believe she should or usually does (teething and gas), I haven't gotten enough sleep or rest, and I've been overly stressed worrying about money, and have been slightly irritated. Hmm...oh and maybe the nursing tank top I've worn to bed for the last few nights is too tight. Grrr...



I would love to try to nurse my baby with her chin toward the plugged area but I'm not sure how to make that happen short of hanging her over my shoulder.



I'm not sure why she is so reluctant to nurse on that side for very long...it seems to me that it's mostly her being uncomfortable with being on her left side while nursing...and gas. She doesn't have any ear problems that I can tell. No fever. No fussiness. I can't wear underwire bras or the kind that have the boobie openings anyway...I have a nursing shelf bra that is completely open when you unhook the front latches.



We've always had a problem with the right side. I over produce and have a fairly forceful letdown on that side. I know she tends to pinch the nipple with her gums to slow the flow and I'm fairly sure that she doesn't nurse on that side for very long becuase of swallowing air while trying to keep up with the flow. Bleh.



I may go talk to a lactation consultant for help if I don't clear up by tomorrow.

Nichole - posted on 11/13/2008

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Number 1 - don't stress. That will not help. You need to remember to take care of yourself. Get enough liquids and enough rest. Warm compresses will help and when I've had it happen putting the baby's chin towards the clogged duct really seemed to help. Be sure you are not wearing underwire bras! Those will clog the duct on their own. Give your breasts some room.

Mary - posted on 11/13/2008

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Holly, you might want to check why she won't nurse on that side. Solve the cause first, you know? Could she possibly have an ear ache or ear infection? Have you noticed her pulling at/ playing with one of her ears at all? The other possibility is your milk just flows faster or slower from that breast, and she has developed a preference. Walmart has some EXCELLENT ear drops if you think she has an earache, but no infection (an infection needs a doctor) They are called Similisan homeopathic ear drops and I have used them myself and they are SO soothing.

For your sore breast ( I nursed for about 8 yrs total, 5 kids lol and got these several times thruout that time, as you may imagine) You want to loosen up the plug. Warm baths with your breast immersed if you can, long warm showers (both followed by nursing as soon as possible) are excellent ideas. Also get some sleep, a nap or early to bed tonight. Last time I had one a friend recommended what her doctor told her, to take a Lecithin supplement, and that worked very quickly too. She just took it the whole time she was nursing also, to prevent them. Also what Amy said, nurse her in odd positions so that duct gets emptied, sometimes a duct that never really gets emptied correctly gets clogged, so its good to vary your positions all thru your nursing days. I would sometimes nurse lying down, sometimes sitting up. If she's preferring one side, try the football hold, with her lying on her preferred side, but nursing from her less preferred breast.

Another note, after a few years I noticed that I would get plugged ducts after certain triggers. Look back at your history and see if anything like that is present, and then avoid if possible. For instance, if I got to bed too late for a few days, or didnt' get naps, I'd get a plugged duct. If I went on vacation and was afraid to drink the water, so I drank only pop, I'd get dehydrated and get a plugged duct. If I wore a certain bra that was too tight, I'd get a plugged duct.... if I wore an underwire and pulled it up instead of opening the nursing opening (causing a duct to be compressed during nursing)...Not sure if there are any other triggers, but have a look in your memory and see. Once you notice those things and can avoid them life is SO MUCH Easier! God bless and good luck, and happy healing.

Amy - posted on 11/13/2008

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I never had to try it, but someone told me to line the baby's chin up with the clogged area - you may have to lay your baby on the bed and lean over her (awkward, I know!), but it's supposed to work. You said it's happened several times, do you nurse holding the baby in different positions? That may help in the future. Try to relax - the one time it happened to me, I was miserable all day long, then when I sat down to nurse while watching tv (bad, I know:) I forgot to worry about it, and my son was finally able to nurse on that side. Stick with it, you'll be glad you did!

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