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Thread: Plugged ducts again...painful

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    206

    Default Plugged ducts again...painful

    Last night I woke up at 2 am with a very painful breast (left). A small area on the side of the breast is very painful, but not red, and the area is not hard as I've experienced with previous plugs--most of mine are in the right breast, not the left. Also, with most of my plugs I will find a little white spot on the tip of the nipple that I can work out, then the milk releases and I get relief. Not so with this time. I've tried everything: manual expression, then waking LO to nurse, then manual expression, to bed with a hot water bottle, then nursing followed by manual expression and hot water bottle. It still hurt when I woke up, so I massaged, then manually expressed, then pumped. Nothing. The milk seems to flow out the various nipple pores efficiently, so I'm thinking this plug is deeper within the breast.

    Now I'm stuck at work with no access to LO who might nurse it out (will try that immediately upon returning home). I was able to manually express into a sink, but it did not help. I have my pump with me today, but I don't think it will help right now. I have to teach 3 hrs of class here in a bit, then drive to day care, then finally home later today around 5. Meanwhile, I've been taken ibuprofen and lecithin capsules.

    I'm very frustrated and worried that this could turn into mastitis if I can't get it resolved today. I've had plugged ducts last up to 24 hrs, but can usually unplug them by manual expression or nursing within about 6-8 hrs. I just started back to work full time 2.5 weeks ago. LO is 14.5 months, nurses at bedtime and once overnight. I had been nursing him down for his 2 naps, then switched to 1 in the afternoon in preparation for work, and now I just pump or nurse when I get home to relief a little pressure (if pumping, I get about 1/2 to 1 oz from each breast). I had hoped that by this week I could eliminate the after work pumping session, but if I'm getting plugged ducts again I really need to pump or nurse more. UGH!

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,209

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    Hi andie, couple thoughts from one plugged duct mama to another! First, I have had plugged ducts for longer than 24 hours without mastitis. Of course you do want to do everything you can to get the thing out, but just wanted to reassure you that sometimes it can take a bit of time to work it out, and you're not necessarily doomed to have mastitis if it takes a little longer, though of course it's good to be on the lookout for that. Second, sometimes I have had success with the pump even when baby was not able to get the plug out. Usually what would happen is that I would work on the plug at home, then have to come to work, and continue with the pump at work, and I've gotten some plugs out that way. One trick is to just pump that side and massage the breast at the same time. Third, the plugged duct issue really flared up for me after pump weaning at a year. Prior to a year, one plug. After pump weaning, every week. I am very responsive to stimulation. So just the bump in supply I would get after more frequent weekend nursing was enough to make me over-full in the early part of the week, and then I would get a plug. I tried lecithin, didn't help. So I actually went back to pumping once a day for a period of time. But now I'm off pumping again (LO will be 18 months next week) and so far so good - I think it's been three weeks now. Anyway, you may just need to play it by ear and keep pumping as part of your routine at least some of the time. One other thing you didn't mention - sometimes I've had really good success with gravity nursing. Getting on all fours on top of baby and letting the breast dangle into her mouth. For whatever reason different "tricks" work for me for different plugs. Like sometimes it's the heat/massage in the shower/nurse. Sometimes it's the gravity nursing. Sometimes pumping seems to do the trick. Plugged ducts are a pain!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    42

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    hi. i experienced plugged ducts before until my LO was 1 month. i had more milk and my baby was very sleepy which caused the problem.a friend of mine advice me to massage the area in a circle motion, do warm compress(i use small towel) then nurse LO and express the milk after session and when done apply cold compress(i use cabbage). the pain last 2 days, at first even 3 days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    206

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    Bummer...still hurting and now the red streaks are appearing over the whole side of the breast. Boo. Last time this happened I had an infected milk duct that became an abscess that required anti-biotic treatment (but luckily no needle aspiration, I think because it was caught early). I had it checked by ultrasound just to make sure it wasn't something worse.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    Oh, I hope that's not the case this time .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    38

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    I had a similar problem while I was on Vacation in Vegas. it was my first time away from my dd who was 18 months at the time. It started out exactly like yours did I got the red streaks and was freaked out I had mistitis. I called a friend where I live because I didn't want to go to the E.R. In Vegas. I was scared they would put me on a medicine where I couldn't breast feed when I got home :-( I pumped but I think Pumping made it worse it was telling my body to make more milk, because I was pumping so much trying to get the pressure/pain that was literally in one part of my boob. Every where else on my boob was fine except one spot which was also warm to the touch. Scary stuff
    Good news is what worked for me was manually in the shower with warm water running over me just squeezing and squeezing all different positions with my hands around the nipple almost like you were milking a cow. You could tell when I got the plugged duct because it just kept squirting on its own once I got it. Also there was some stuff that looked like a worm that came out first too. I think that was the dried milk? Also squeezing over a toilet with a warm washcloth also helped. Once I got home my dd nursed away:-) I was sore for 2 days after. Good luck and I hope this helped.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    38

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    I took the longest showers ever because it seemed to help with the pain to. Not to mention how long I milked myself lol. Sorry I hope you feel better GOOD LUCK.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    206

    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    Turns out it wasn't a plugged duct; breast was not full or hard to the touch, was still soft/floppy, but was very painful on the side with redness that started to spread. Talked to my Dr; we both thought it was another infection, so I started anti-biotics right away. Within 12 hrs, the pain and redness was nearly gone! I also kept a hot water bottle on it and took a long hot shower, which I think helped too. My only thoughts to what caused it is maybe it was due to the day-time weaning while at work and the bra that I wear to work. I wear a supportive bra with defined cups. At home, I wear one of those stretchy bras, and it's now one size too big because I bought it while 9 months pregnant, so after having the baby and the engorgement of exclusive nursing, my breasts have gotten smaller and my rib cage has returned to normal. They're comfy to wear at home, but make my breasts look very sagging, and as my full time job is teaching where I know students are staring me down, I don't want that look. But perhaps I will have to consider getting some other supportive bras that maybe are not as tight. This one doesn't have an underwire, but when I get home I trade it in for the comfy one and it feels better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Plugged ducts again...painful

    Glad to hear it is getting better!

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