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Thread: Plugged duct Not going away. Now what?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    108

    Default Plugged duct Not going away. Now what?

    So I felt a hard wedge-shaped lump in my right breast yesterday afternoon. Since then I've been doing all the usual prescribed things: having the baby nurse as much as she would (and give her the affected side first), heat before nursing, cold in between, ibuprofen, massaging the area, drinking a lot of water, and as much rest as I could get.

    Unfortunately it's still there 24 hours later. Not as hard as yesterday, but still here. What do I do now?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    Sometimes it takes time and work. I had a big wedge-clog and it took 3-4 days of massaging, moist heat, and nursing/pumping round the clock for it to go away completely. What worked the best for me was hot showers. I hand-expressed in the shower, and I took like 3 showers a day! And nursed immediately after the shower. It did the trick. Also plunging my breast into a bowl of hot water for total moist immersion. Massaging very strongly with the whole side/palm of my hand. At the suggestion of an LC I used moisturizer (Cetaphil, which is neutral) to keep my skin from getting too chafed, and to make massaging easier. I nursed as often as I could (at least every 2 hours) and pumped every 1.5 hour. Note that I dry-pumped for the most part (with a rented hospital-grade pump) but the pumping action helped.

    Finally: I started with cold compresses in between and cabbage leaves for the engorgement, and in my case both made things worse. I think the cold congealed the plugs more and constricted the ducts. When I stopped the cold compresses is when I finally started to dissolve the plug.

    Keep working on it... it happens and sometimes the plugs are bad like this. Also keep an eye on your skin and on your temperature. If you have a fever or if the skin gets very red you might have an infection and need antibiotics.

    Good luck mama! It'll get better!
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    If it's not as hard, you're making progress. Don't stop. Because the "Now what?" if you can't get rid of a clog is potentially mastitis, unfortunately! Some clogs are really stubborn and require a week of diligent work. It sounds like this one is responding (it has changed); keep it up. If you feel like you have the flu, get a high fever, etc., call your doctor, you may need antibiotics. Hoping you can break down this clog and that won't be necessary, though.

    I've been reduced to nursing the clogged side and pumping the other side at least part of the time, in order to get my child to nurse the affected side more. I would then massage and massage WHILE he was nursing. A day of this would usually get the clog 75% reduced, if not gone altogether.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Denver, Co.
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    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    If it's not as hard, you're making progress. Don't stop. Because the "Now what?" if you can't get rid of a clog is potentially mastitis, unfortunately! Some clogs are really stubborn and require a week of diligent work. It sounds like this one is responding (it has changed); keep it up. If you feel like you have the flu, get a high fever, etc., call your doctor, you may need antibiotics. Hoping you can break down this clog and that won't be necessary, though.

    I've been reduced to nursing the clogged side and pumping the other side at least part of the time, in order to get my child to nurse the affected side more. I would then massage and massage WHILE he was nursing. A day of this would usually get the clog 75% reduced, if not gone altogether.
    they can take time. I worked on one for over a week once. Ugh. A disposable diaper makes an awesome hot compress, btw.

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,593

    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    This article has some other interesting ideas. My favorites? leaning over baby to nurse and using a "personal massager' (or an electric toothbrush) on the plug. Also, consider taking lecithin? increasing fuids? diet ideas? http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    108

    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    kmanih, thank you so much for your post. After I read about your experience with a cold pack a light bulb went off in my head. I did notice that every time I used heat, the lump would soften, but every time I used cold, it got harder, but I just didn't put two and two together!! I stopped using the cold and stepped up the heat applications (followed by massage and hand expression) or nursing and the plug went away completely by the end of yesterday!

    Thank you for your support, ladies! Thankfully it's all OK now, but it was stressful 36 hours. I really should watch sleeping on my stomach, as I suspect that was what caused the plug to begin with...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*luckypixie View Post
    kmanih, thank you so much for your post. After I read about your experience with a cold pack a light bulb went off in my head. I did notice that every time I used heat, the lump would soften, but every time I used cold, it got harder, but I just didn't put two and two together!! I stopped using the cold and stepped up the heat applications (followed by massage and hand expression) or nursing and the plug went away completely by the end of yesterday!

    Thank you for your support, ladies! Thankfully it's all OK now, but it was stressful 36 hours. I really should watch sleeping on my stomach, as I suspect that was what caused the plug to begin with...


    Great news! I know how stressful it is... when I had my plug, my supply plummeted in both breasts. I almost thought it would be the end of BF for me. This forum was such a source of comfort and advice, it really saved me.

    And funny about the cold, no? I was using cold compresses following the advice of an LC, and all my books on BF say the same thing. Perhaps it works for some women? I was so glad that I realized it was making it worse for me, and I am now doubly glad that this was helpful to you too.

    Also funny... my plug got worse from sleeping in a bad position. Except that for me, it was sleeping on my back. I think the breast hangs in a way that stretches out and compresses the ducts? The best for me has been to sleep on my side, switching often at night and making sure the breast is not smushed or caught in the seam of my PJ top. I think switching sides helps because part of the problem for me is that milk "pools" when I'm in the same position for too long.

    Anyway, enjoy the clog-free breastfeeding!
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    Glad it cleared up! If you find you get clogs frequently, you might consider the PP's suggestion of lecithin. Really helped me!
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,593

    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    Cold packs can be helpful for relieving the inflammation and pain of engorged breasts, and thus if a mom is engorged and has a plug (often being engorged leads to plugs) that may help the engorgement part of it. But thanks for pointing out that cold packs could be counterproductive for plugs. It makes sense.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Plugged duct Not going away. Now wha

    FWIW, whenever I had a plugged duct, hand expression in a really hot shower worked the best. A heating pad did nothing. For some reason, it was the moist heat that made the difference for me. I don't know why!
    Karen
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