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Thread: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    115

    Default Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    Since LO's three month growth spurt 2 weeks ago, I've been plagued by plugged milk ducts: I'm getting one every few days and it's starting to really wear me down.

    I'm doing everything I can think of to prevent them from happening:
    taking lecithin supplement
    drinking a lot of water
    taking iron supplement to prevent anemia
    taking vitamins
    trying to eat well
    not rushing or limiting baby's time at the breast
    breastfeeding on demand (I even offer more, especially when I'm working on getting rid of the plug).

    I've looked at the bag I wear and how I wear it to make sure it's not the culprit. I've examined all my clothing for signs of being too restrictive.

    The only other thing I suspect is that I may be turning over on my stomach in my sleep, putting pressure on the breast. I really try not to do that, but when I'm really tired and in deep sleep I don't have control over this.

    I'm at my wits' end and getting anxious, waiting for a new one to pop up any minute (naturally it's not the plugged duct itself I'm worried about, it's the possibility of it turning into mastitis).

    Any advice would be really appreciated, this is driving me NUTS!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    23,402

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    Sorry, mama! I know you have been dealing with this frustration for a while now and you've been a real trooper about it! I am sure you've done this, but just in case, did you check your bra? Underwire bras are often responsible for plugs. Using a non-underwire bra, or just going braless for a while might help...

    Regarding tummy sleeping, you might try this old trick: sew a tennis ball into a pocket on the front of your pajamas. When you turn over onto your stomach, the tennis ball will be uncomfortable and cause you to roll back onto your back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    I have the same problems. I go through phases when I have several plugs a week. LO is 9 months and this comes and goes, not always related to growth spurts. I think some of us are just prone.

    I do get them b/c of sleep position too, and I know what you mean about turning in your sleep. I don't sleep on my stomach but I get them if I sleep sideways in the wrong angle (putting too much pressure on one breast, or having my PJ tee snag the underarm). What has helped is to prop myself with pillows (kind of like in pregnancy). They help keep me more or less in the right place. And also, sleeping on my back sometimes gives me plugs too, for some reason.

    How about your bras? I can't wear a nursing bra, or I get plugs. I wear a big and gently supportive sports bra. The other thing I do when I'm in a plug phase is to constantly check and massage my breasts for signs of a new plug so I can nip them in the bud. I do this especially in the shower and when baby is feeding. Also, sometimes I notice that milk pools on one side of the breast if I stay in the same position (sleep or not), so if I have a chance I massage the breast to redistribute the milk even when there's no plug. This helps the circulation.

    Oh, and do you have oversupply? Correcting my oversupply has helped a lot.

    With all of this, some little plugs are still inevitable, but they're manageable and go away within a day, sometimes within a few hours of popping up. You just learn to live with them I guess.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    mommal, thank you for your kind words! I don't wear an underwire bra, at home I have nursing tanks that are pretty loose-fitting and I have two well-fitting and not-too-snug nursing bras that I wear outside the house. I've had both of these for 2 months, so they shouldn't be causing trouble now. Thank you for the tennis ball trick, I may have to try that.

    kmanih, thank you for sharing. Have you ever had a plug turn into mastitis? That's my biggest fear and one of the main reasons why I find dealing with them so exhausting...
    I'll try pillows for positioning myself better when I sleep - I don't think I ever turned over on my stomach completely last night, yet I woke up with a plugged duct, so it may be awkward side sleeping too. I'll try breast massage as a precautionary measure - thank you for the tip!
    I don't think I have oversupply - at least there are no signs of it that I can see...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    i know what you mean about the fear of mastitis, that's also what drove me crazy. i'm happy to report that at 9 months and countless--seriously, countless, i can't even remember how many--plugs, i never had mastitis. i even had two major plugs, one of them took 25% of my breast, it was giant and took 3 days to get rid of--still no mastitis. i think some people are more prone to infection than others.

    but i'm also obsessive about cleanliness--always wear a new bra and top everyday, am always washing my hands, and in the shower i let the hot water run on my breasts (no soap though).
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,452

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    I've had major plugs and mastitis, but the plugs never turned into mastitis. The mastitis just came up.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    23,402

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged ducts. Frustrated!

    Same here. Multiple plugged ducts, but only had mild mastitis once, when my DD2 was a brand new newborn and I had massive, massive oversupply. Like so much milk that when my midwife came by the house 1week postpartum, she blurted out "OMG, your breasts are HUGE!"

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