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Thread: Help! Possible clogged duct?

  1. #1

    Default Help! Possible clogged duct?

    First time mom here and LO is 5 weeks old. I had mastitis in my left breast a couple weeks ago, that got cleared with antibiotics but my production is still half of what it used to be even after pumping about 2 to 3 times a day between feedings to try to increase supply. I can feel a couple small hard lumps in that same breast but in a different location than where the mastitis was that have been there for several days now but they are not painful at all. I had my pp appointment yesterday and my doctor said it feels like a clogged duct. So I've been trying to no avail to unclog it. Hot shower, applying heat, massaging, straight up mashing on it, pumping, always starting to nurse on that side. Nothing has changed. So my question is - is it even possible to have a clogged duct that isn't painful and doesn't result in mastitis after being there for several days or is this something else? What else can I do to unclog this thing? Starting to stress about it pretty bad which doesn't help anything... any advice or prior experience with this would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,295

    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    Hi jenlf. Heat and direct massage at the plug site may be causing more inflammation. These are no longer considered the best way to deal with plugs although of course they may help, it all depends on the mom.
    I am linking a more recent resource with other ideas for dealing with plugs: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf It also talks about blebs, those are plugs that appear on the nipple surface and hurt a great deal, and need to be approached differently, so do not be confused.

    Regular Plugs can last a long time and it is certainly possible that they do not hurt. Many times moms are not even aware of them, especially when the breast tends to fullness. No need to stress over it, but it probably is a good idea to keep working on it to prevent the blockage getting larger.

    Would you like to explain more about why you are concerned about your milk production and consequently are pumping? Is baby getting supplements? Increasing milk production when it is not needed is a cause of plugs, as is unneeded or too much supplementing. Yes you want to express milk frequently when dealing with a plug, but pumping can possibly cause a plug if the pump does not extract milk all that well (a baby who is nursing poorly may cause the same problem.) So if you want more input in that area, let us know.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    Thank you for the resource and for responding.

    I primarily breastfeed and pump for 1-2 missed feedings a day when I have my SO give her a bottle. With the mastitis and now the plug, I've been trying to pump a few times between feedings just on that side to increase supply, I was getting about an ounce and a half out before and now it's only producing half an ounce during the day and an ounce in the early morning hours at it's peak. My doctor also told me yesterday to increase pumping to try to get the plug out.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    My right side produces 1.5 - 3 ounces depending on the time of day and she nurses great. I give her an extra half to 1 ounce during the day from milk that I've pumped if she gets fussy and still acts hungry after she's nurses and depleted both sides. That happens about once a day but not every day either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    Ok, so it sounds like your milk production is actually fine and you do not need to increase it? Pumping 1/2-1 ounces on one breast is normal in this situation, actually, since baby is primarily breastfed, and if baby is gaining fine while primarily breastfed then your production is by definition normal, even if you do not pump that much. If a baby is gaining fine, there is no need to supplement. Babies do get fussy, this is normal and this does not mean they need more to eat. Getting more on one side than the other when you pump is entirely normal. Of course it is possible that the plug is making milk extraction more difficult on that side as well, but the answer in that case is to clear the plug, not increase milk production.

    Here is a good article about what is normal when pumping: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/pumping_decrease/
    and a good one on what to expect with a newborn: http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/newborn-nursing/

    Since baby nurses great, and you are having issues with plugs and mastitis plus baby is still very young, my best suggestion is to try the ideas in the article I sent for clearing the plug, and to avoid future issues, try to avoid bottles or supplementing at all\ for a while, and encourage baby to nurse frequently. Pump if you have to- for example, to clear a plug or relieve engorgement (if baby is not doing the job) or if you will be separated from baby and need the expressed milk for the separation. Your SO can offer much to your baby and give you a break without feeding baby. Here is more about that: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; May 10th, 2017 at 12:42 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    Wow thank you so much for all the information. I had some pretty unrealistic expectations for production and misinformation on top of that. This really took some pressure off. I'll try some of the other techniques to work on the clog.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,295

    Default Re: Help! Possible clogged duct?

    You are welcome! Yes many moms expect to pump tons of milk. Moms who actually do pump many ounces at one sitting are often experiencing over production which is a situation that carries many possible problems.

    Breastfeeding is pretty simple. Baby gaining normally + mom comfortable = "all is well, no extra effort needed" 99% of the time.

    I once had a plug that backed up the milk so badly the lump was as large as my open hand, or about half my breast! Nursing really really frequently helped, also I used a personal massager for vibration and that helped eventually break up the plug.

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