I have a sore breast. The LLLI FAQ on breast pain says that sore breast occurs "when the milk flow is blocked. Breast feels tender. There may or may not be redness or a hard spot in that area of the breast."
I have had mastitis and a plugged duct before, and both times my breast was severely engorged. I recovered by frequent nursing, rest and hand expression. This time I was not engorged, and I don't see redness or feel a hard spot. I have been nursing from that breast quite frequently, and then also hand expressing, and it feels like I am fully emptying the breast (there is always a little milk but it doesn't look like a plug), but the soreness is not going away.
The soreness woke me up last night, and has been bothering me off and on all day, including when nursing and hand-expressing, it's like sometimes it touches a nerve and there's pain. Not horrible pain, but sore.
So if the milk flow is blocked, does that mean there is a plug in there somewhere I have to get out, even if I can't feel the lump? Is this the only cause of a sore breast like this? My breast looks completely normal. Do I just have to rest, nurse, and wait it out? I just noticed Andie613's post earlier today, where I see the problem was not a plugged duct in the end at all, but an infection.
I was actually wondering if the soreness was related to not having ENOUGH milk, as sometimes I feel that my toddler is sucking me dry, especially now that 1) I'm trying to reduce nursing sessions a bit (still nursing many times/day and night though), 2) it's hot out and she's maybe a little more thirsty, 3) she always asks for both breasts now (never did before, as I had a ton of milk), and 4) my breasts have gotten smaller (back to their pre-baby size). Nevertheless after nursing I can always still hand express some milk so I know there is milk there.