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Blocked duct?

  1. #1
    Hagrid is offline Registered User
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    Blocked duct?

    Hi all,

    I've breastfed my son for 9 months and had a blocked duct 2 months ago. I breastfed my baby more often, massaged the lump towards the nipple and the problem disappeared in a day. This time I have a blocked duct since Tue morning but I couldn't make it go away using the same way :( The lump is not hot like last time and only hurts when I press on it.

    Sorry to be naive. Do I need to see an OB for it? Or lactation consultant? Can I wait for few days to see if I can make the problem go away like last time? Never a fan of doctor...

    Any opinion is appreciated!

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Dear Hagrid,

    It sounds as though you have a plugged duct.

    Milk flows through a duct system in the mother’s breasts. Sometimes an area of the ducts becomes blocked and milk no longer flows as well. A section of the breast may or may not be red. When a mother has a plugged duct, her breast is usually tender and painful. If the blockage is not treated, the area may become infected.

    A sore breast or plugged duct can become a breast infection. This means that not only is the breast tender, but also the mother feels achy, run-down and feverish. Mastitis is another term that may be used. This condition may or may not be treated by antibiotics.

    Whether coping with a plugged duct or a breast infection, the initial care is similar. Nurse frequently, rest and apply heat to the tender area.

    Frequent nursings serve to provide comfort, reduce inflammation and encourage opening the blocked area. Mothers find that varying breastfeeding positions drains all areas of the breast more effectively. For example, if you most commonly use the cradle hold, try the clutch (“football”) hold or lying down to breastfeed.

    Rest is an important component in recovery from sore breasts, plugged ducts or breast infections. To do this, try resting in bed with baby cuddled next to you. This will also encourage frequent breastfeeding sessions to drain the breast. Keep supplies such as diapers, toys, books, the telephone, a glass and a pitcher of water nearby to minimize trips out of bed.

    Applying wet or dry heat with a heating pad or hot water bottle and gently massaging the sore area of the breast before breastfeeding can assist the breast in further emptying. Many mothers find that taking showers or baths and gently massaging with a warm cloth on the sore breast is a relaxing treatment during a stressful time. Another technique is to lean over a basin of warm water and soak the sore breast for about 10 minutes three times a day. This will also remove any dried milk secretions that may be blocking the flow of milk out of the nipple. Breastfeed immediately, while the breast is warm, to help unplug the blocked duct.

    Please note that it is a common myth that it is unhealthy for the baby to breastfeed when the mother has a breast infection. This is definitely not true. The antibacterial properties of human milk protect the baby from infection.

    Many mothers find that changing positions works well. The place of the baby’s strongest suck is where his chin is. Thus try to get the baby’s chin on the lump. This may not be simple because often the lump is around the top of the breast. If so, try lying down flat on your back and put the baby over you. In this way the baby can rotate, like the hands of a clock, around your nipple so that the chin is on the lump. Another way is to feeding lying down but have the baby’s feet pointing towards the pillow.

    One way that seems to work well is to lie the baby on the bed, flat on his back. Then for you to crawl over the baby and dangle your breast into his mouth. It isn’t easy to keep this position but sometimes just a couple of minutes helps.

    If you don’t have a fever, and therefore no infection, there is little a doctor can do for you. Some lactation consultants will massage your breast for you in order to work the lump out. Mothers have told me that this is quite painful – so you might like to try the other techniques first.

    As this has happened twice, can you think of any cause for the plugged duct? Usual causes include the baby sleeping longer and so your breasts staying full a little too long, clothing digging in (this could be a sling/back pack too), getting too tired. Often getting a plugged duct is the first sign that you are pushing yourself a little too much.

    Hope the above helps.
    Good luck,
    SARAH

  3. #3
    Hagrid is offline Registered User
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    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your prompt response and the good advice! I feel much better after reading your message.

    I've tried using the 3 common nursing positions but will definitely try the more tricky ones you mentioned, not sure if my son will cooperate though as you are right about the positon of the lump. It's around the top of the breast.

    The reasons for the plugged duct you mentioned all sound valid. Also, my baby boy is very active and wouldn't stay on my breast for long. As much as I could to minimize the distraction, he always wants to escape after few min. So I couldn't really drain the breast. Both time it happened on the right breast, I wonder if it's because my baby requires a lot of carrying around and his weight put pressure on my right breast.

    At least I have a good excuse to go on the bed now :)

  4. #4
    jools is offline Registered User
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    Hi Hagrid,
    Sarah's advice is brilliant. If it doesn't go, you may need to check it out with the doctor. I had a similar thing, twice with my first child, and on both occasions it turned out to be a cyst which needed to be drained.

    Jools

  5. #5
    Hagrid is offline Registered User
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    Thanks jools,

    Could you let me know how did your doctor drain the cyst? Does it need surgery? Hope not...

  6. #6
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    if u do need to call a lactation consultant, call mrs chee at 94176366. she's currently helping me with my breasyffeding problems, and it doesn't hurt much

  7. #7
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Have heard Mrs Chee is good at massaging blocked ducts too. My ducts used to get blocked quite often and I got mastitis very early on. Boy was that painful! After that, had a masseuse come in a couple of times a week to help with blocked ducts
    Last edited by rani; 05-20-2005 at 04:05 PM.
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  8. #8
    jools is offline Registered User
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    Hi Hagrid,

    No it didn't involve surgery. They checked my breast using ultrasound and then using a needle, just drained the fluid. It was amazing really as I watched the fluid disappear on the screen in front of me. The whole procedure lasted less than 5 minutes and I had about 3 cysts drained. Hope that helps.

    Jools

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