I've struggled with plugged ducts A TON. As in, I've had at LEAST 20 in the last 7 weeks. I am doing really good if I go 3 or 4 days without getting plugged. Often I'll get plugs in both sides within one day (yesterday and today). But I'm at my whit's end.
Pretty much every time I see a white dot on my nipple so I believe it's clogged nipple pores, and not a deep plug. Every time I know she's relieved it while nursing (because she all of a sudden starts gulping and the plugged spot gets softer) I can check afterwards and see the the small white dot is gone. So far, the best thing to get rid of them for me is to take a long, hot shower, and then dangle nurse IMMEDIATELY after the shower. Also note that I've never struggled with oversupply, so that's not the issue. And I've never been able to manually get rid of them by hand expressing or pumping - only she can do it.
What I'm doing to prevent:
- I've had a lactation consultant say the latch looks good
- I try to make sure she drains each breast each time
- I take lecithin supplements - 4 capsules each day (according to what kellymom says)
- I've cut a lot of the saturated fat out of my diet (I still have some, from milk mainly)
- I only ever sleep on my back
- I try to hold my purses in my hands so they don't rub against my boobs
- I have gotten a new bra that is supportive, no underwire, and not too tight
- I pump before going to bed at night so that I don't go too long between nursing sessions.
- I try to drink a TON of water every day.
- I've tried going to bed with nursing pads soaked in olive oil so that waking up the pores would be soft. Couldn't tell if that helped or not - perhaps I should start wearing pads with olive oil all the time, not just at night.
She sometimes sleeps through the night, sometimes wakes up once. She only gets breastmilk, although during the day while I work she gets two bottles (I nurse at lunch). The past two nights she's slept straight through the night and woken up around 7 to nurse. It doesn't seem plugged then (although I am engorged), but then it shows up later. It also gets plugged when she doesn't sleep through the night so I don't know if that is correlated at all. I've thought about waking up every night and pumping to keep the milk flowing, but I really don't want to have to do that forever. I hate pumping and I need what little sleep I get.
I don't know what to do. The last few weeks have been a nightmare of painfully hard breasts, hot showers with lots of massaging, dangle feeding a screaming baby who wants the milk to come faster, and constant fear of when I'm going to get plugged again. I really want to breastfeed for a whole year, but every time I get another plug I get so discouraged. I don't even know how I've made it through these last few weeks still nursing. I don't know how I can go 9 more months of this. I keep thinking "This will be the last time.... I will finally get over this... this can't be how it's going to be forever." And then as soon as breastfeeding is enjoyable again, another one pops up.
Help! How can I get this to stop (besides weaning....)
Also, is there ANYthing else that could be causing it? I've done more reading on this than I care to admit but I'm stumped. Nothing I try seems to help. Could dairy cause them maybe? Would cutting dairy out of my diet help?