As you know, it’s World Breastfeeding Week and for me that means a plugged duct! Yep, that’s right, I woke up Monday feeling feverish and my left breast was throbbing and sore. I was wondering why the night before I had the chills when I woke up once to switch sides. I’d also felt the breast soreness during the night upon switching sides but I was too tired to really think on it.
It was tender to the touch and I could definitely feel a mass inside. It was also a bit swollen. I still had the chills. I recounted my breastfeeding schedule the day before and realized Clark did not nurse as often as normal. We had a busy weekend. To make matters even worse, it HAD occurred to me that I was wearing an under wire bra. I don’t normally wear an under wire bra but it was the only clean bra I had that day. Plus, I carried Clark in the Ergo baby carrier several times over the weekend which can contribute to pressure on the milk ducts.
In any case, I did not feel well and immediately started applying natural methods to help rid the situation. This is my second go at nursing, my first go my son had thrush but we overcame it and nursed a few months short of baby number two arriving (18 mos.). I’d heard about this happening and in fact I think it might of occurred with my first. I was completely engorged and remember having to massage my breasts in the shower. Oh, the memories! I figure a little plugged duct can’t be bad, right?! Okay, maybe not. A plugged duct can be painful and annoying. I believe, in my case, I’m somewhere in between. I haven’t experienced terrible pain but I do have a “wedge” in my breast and I have to constantly massage it out. I know you’re thinking this can’t be fun…
I’m sharing this with you because breastfeeding isn’t always easy and it does have it’s ups and downs like anything else. I will say, though, that there is a point though and I do believe it’s different mom to mom/child to child…a point when there is solitude and peace and the bond is strong, a path has been paved and it’s pretty much smooth sailing. My baby is 4 months old and is also teething which means were still in the early stages. Each experience is different.
5 Ways to Relieve a Plugged Duct:
1. Heat: Apply moist heat to the affected breast/area for 10 minutes 4x a day. You can get this done by taking a shower or bath but that seems to be less eco-friendly. Heat will help soften up the plugged duct.
2. Leafy Greens: Cabbage is a great for relieving a plugged duct! Place a warm or cool cabbage leaf inside bra and replace every 2hrs.
3. Brasserie: Go wireless or bra-less if you dare! An under wire bra can be constricting to the milk ducts.
4. Nurse Frequently: Nurse, nurse, nurse the affected breast! Make sure baby’s latch is in the correct position for proper drainage. Baby’s chin pointing toward plug. You can also manually express if need be to keep milk from building up. You want to keep the affected breast drained.
5. Massage: Rub firm spot in a circular motion do this while nursing and in between nursing your baby. Massage will help loosen plug.
Make sure you drink a lot of water and according to my twitter friend @donielle incorporate more vitamin C into the diet too (technically, that’s 6 ways, now!). If you’re drinking plenty of water, get some rest, take a body temp. bath and your low grade fever should go away.
Today, I feel much better about the problem. As long as I continue with the above regimen I feel like it will be gone within the next day or so. The hard spot feels smaller and my breast has not been sore or swollen. Thank goodness. This is just a bump in the road. Oh and in my case… I’ll be waiting to wear Clark in the Ergo baby carrier since the strap puts pressure on my milk ducts!
It’s my breast issue and I’ll cry I want to!
[This post was written by Leslie Quigley.]