NEED HELP WITH FORMER MASTITIS/CLOGGED MILK DUCT...PLEASE READ!!

Brandee - posted on 03/18/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I need HELP moms!! I'm reaching out because I have not been able to get help elsewhere. I have to tell the entire story so beware that this will be a long post, but I hope that you will bear with me. I am a first time mother and my son is 6 months now. I was exclusively breastfeeding him. About 2 months ago, I noticed some discoloration in my areola. No pain, just discoloration. About two weeks later, I noticed a lump on the bottom of my breast and it got a little painful. I never stopped breastfeeding although it hurt when my son latched on initially, but it subsided after a while.

The week of February 18th, it got progressively worse. It got VERY painful, I became more engorged and my son didn't want to feed from this breast anymore. Let me add that before I could still pump a normal amount of milk from the infected breast before this week. When he turned away this infected breast, he still fed from my other breast. At this point, I attempted to pump from the infected breast, but I never got more than an ounce. At that time, I was using a manual Medela pump and an electric Playtex pump. Everyday it got worse. More painful. Sharp, shooting, burning pains. I couldn't sleep.

I went for a walk-in to my primary doctor (OB/GYN). He immediately said it was an infection and prescribed me antibiotics and recommended I go to the ER for an ultrasound and an aspiration. He also told me that the antibiotics would flush the infection through my breasts so do not breastfeed my son during this time. I went to the ER and they said I had a fever of 102. They did an ultrasound and found no strange fluid in my breasts. They performed no aspiration because of this. They prescribed me more antibiotics and sent me home. I go home, take the antibiotics and still not feeling better.

I visited my local WIC office and the Lactation Consultant there looked at my breast and told me it looked like an abcess because my skin appeared very shiny and thin. She told me that it looked like it would burst open at any point. She then told me to go back to the ER. I went back to the ER on March 8th. They did another ultrasound and the doctor performed a drainage that day. He punctured a small hole on the side of my breast and used a syringe to suck out about 7 ounces of milk. At that point, my breast felt relief because it was emptied, but I was still in pain. I was sent home with more antibiotics and by March 11th, my breast was full again and I was back to not being able to pump any milk out. All the while, my son is on formula because of what the doctor told me.

I went back to see a Lactation Specialist on March 12th and she saw my breast and said the answer is to get the milk out via my son or a hospital grade pump. Try hot showers, warm compresses, all things that I've been told before and I had been trying. The next day, March 13th, I went back to my primary doctor and she told me the same thing as the lactation specialist. Get the milk out. She told me to stop taking the Bactrim, but continue the Augmentin and to try to put my son on the breast again. And again with the warm recommendations and try a beer to get the milk flowing. I tried that same day about 3 times to put him on the breast and again the next morning twice. He did not want to take either breast. I asked my primary doctor to refer me to a BREAST SPECIALIST/SURGEON because I was getting NO answers and NO relief. I'm in pain all day besides very temporary relief from the Vicodin that they prescribed at the ER.

I had an appointment with a breast doctor on Friday March 15th. In the meantime before that appointment, I went back to my local WIC office to see my lactation consultant and her boss. They both looked at my breast again. We tried using the pump to try to get milk out. And her boss looked at my nipple and said she SAW clogged ducts/blebs inside my nipples. She explained to me that it was like a pimple that was ready to be burst. She asked my permission to go inside and try to unclog them and I gave her permission to. After a while of trying, I was in pain so I asked her to stop. They let me take the Medela electrical pump home to see if that helps. She told me cold compresses, try green cabbage leaves and to see if maybe I can unclog them myself. At this point, I can't even see my nipple so I refuse to do that. This was the most sensible answer/solution to my problem I've heard during this entire time.

The next day was my appointment with the breast doctor (a man). I told him the story, he looked at my breast and tried to hand express some milk out. He says "Well it appears to be coming out now". I'm like Yes, it always comes out initially and then it stops. He brought in his female nurse to "give me some pointers" because she breastfed her three children. She told me nothing I hadn't heard before. And I asked "What kind of doctor are you because I asked my doctor to refer me to a breast specialist/surgeon" He said "I am a breast surgeon, I deal with breast cancer and breast lumps, I can't help you get your milk out of your breasts." At this point, I AM ENRAGED!! Moms, if I break my toe and go to the podiatrist and complain. The podiatrist is not going to tell me "Oh, I'm sorry. I don't work on toes. I only work on heels." IF YOU ARE A BREAST SURGEON, YOU SHOULD KNOW THE INS AND OUTS OF WHAT COULD GO WRONG WITH A BREAST, NOT JUST ONE PART!!

So here we are at present day and I am reaching out for help because I don't know what else to do. I've done everything that I can do at home. Warm showers, hot compresses, cold compresses, cold cabbage leaves, pumping, etc. NOTHING works. It appears that the infection is gone because I know longer feel a lump, but the pain is still there. I am still in pain and I still can't get more than less than an ounce out of this breast. It appears that I have clogged milk ducts inside of my breasts. I need to know how to go about resolving this issue. What doctors do I need to see? What should the doctors be doing? Please help moms and again, I apologize for the long post.

Thanks in advance!

3 Comments

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Christina - posted on 03/19/2013

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So if you have stopped breast feeding, are you you still pumping the uninfected breast? Because if you weren't, I would think you already would have been drying up. I'm not an expert but what I do know from experience, is that if you stop breastfeeding anytime, what happens is your body stops producing the milk. If you wean your baby off like I did, then you slowly dry up. For example, everyday you stop a feeding and you may be a bit full for a day but it slowly goes away over the course of time. If you stop cold turkey, you will get very full (probably painful) for a few long days but it does eventually dry up and everything will go back to normal. It is painful do do it that way but it sounds like things are painful for you anyway!

Brandee - posted on 03/18/2013

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Thanks for the comment!

No, I'm not breastfeeding at all at this point. He's been on formula for quite some time now so he's kind of turned off from my breast. I'm wondering, will letting my supply just dry up solve my pain problem. Because my uninfected breast will just keep filling up I guess. And my infected breast will just keep causing me pain. I don't know the process of stopping breastfeeding so I'm not sure

Christina - posted on 03/18/2013

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Oh my! Ouch! I agree that the most sensible comment I read was that it seems like maybe the ducts in your nipple is really clogged. You are maybe getting a little out at first because a bit is able to pass through but not enough, obviously. Kinda surprised though that the warm compresses and stuff haven't helped it. Anytime I've had clogged ducts (many times) massaging A LOT seemed to always relieve it. Although, it worked best if I massaged it while my babies were eating. Makes sense because the milk could work itself through. Maybe because he won't nurse on that side, it's just not working it's way through....and it's hard to massage the nipple area when you are pumping because it covers the nipple! Are you still breastfeeding from the other side or has this ended him nursing? Not sure how you feel about this advice but if it's this painful ,maybe the best thing is for to stop and let things dry up? I would think that it would get very painful but at least once your body stopped producing the milk because your baby wasn't wanting it anymore, the milk would stop building up in the one breast.

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