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Thread: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    56

    Default One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    I nurse my 5-mo-old exclusively and for the past two days have been sore on one breast. I don't know what it is or what to do about it. It hurts the way a black-and-blue mark does. I can't sleep comfortably on that side, or carry the baby or my toddler on that side as the contact causes pain. If I'm just going about my business, there's not much discomfort.
    I thought it could be a plugged duct, but I do still have some milk on that side and there doesn't seem to be any engorgement. It's hard to say if there's less milk than usual since I don't usually pump. I did pump yesterday to see if that would help, or if I could pass a plug, but no luck with getting any plug to appear. I did get some milk - not much since it was after nursing - but towards the end of the pump there was a little bit of milk that seemed gooey.
    Any thoughts? Ideas for relief? I was at the OB about a month ago and the breast exam was fine.
    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    I get that from time to time. I've been nursing my DS for 14 months. I have never had a milk bleb, which is visible, but I've had several plugged ducts. I can usually feel a plug, but this last time, it was in my "higher producing/faster flowing" left breast, and I just nursed him laying down, even a few times on all fours and he underneath me. Yes I know that sounds really weird but it works. It also works to use heat, a wet warm washcloth or heating pad prior to nursing, add an extra pump session even, and do a lot of compressions while nursing in the area of the pain. Lastly it works for me to point his chin in the direction of the source of the pain, i.e., if the plug/pain is toward the right of your breast, cradle nurse or position yourself lying down so that his chin is going that way.

    FYI - I always produced milk with a plug. So they never must have been that serious but boy do they hurt!
    , , , , ,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    Thanks garsmum- this is helpful because I'd expect to have engorgement with a plug, but it sounds like plugs don't necessarily stop all milk flow, so maybe that's where there's no engorgement?
    Any insight as to how long this could take? It's lasted a couple days so far.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    Yes it definitely sounds like a plugged duct, to me. Can you feel a painful lump in the area the pain is originating from? I agree with all the advice from garsmum re: resolving a plug. I would also recommend that you nurse, nurse, nurse as much as possible on the affected side; that will help get the plug out faster than pumping in my experience. Also take warm showers and hand express while doing breast compressions in the area of the plug. Also avoid underwire bras until the plug is resolved, if the plug is anywhere near where the underwire sits. I really found warm showers with hand expression very helpful, along with nursing a lot, and could usually resolve a plug in a day or two that way. You won't usually have engorgement with a plug unless it's very large, at least I didn't, because most of the (many) milk ducts in the breast are still flowing; it's just one that's clogged.

    I would recommend working pretty hard to resolve the clogged duct ASAP so you don't develop mastitis. If you develop redness of the affected area or a fever, you may have mastitis and may need antibiotics to resolve it. See your doc if this happens. Otherwise just work really hard on resolving that clog.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 38 months ; now trying to wean. for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    9,157

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    plugs do not stop or in many cases, even reduce milk flow, because plugs are typically only in one or some ducts, and a mother has many in each breast. If mom has a bleb (a plugged nipple pore) again, most mothers have several.

    Here are good articles on plugs. http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/mastitis/ and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf If you try the above posted ideas and the ones in these articles, and the pain does not resolve, you might want to see a doctor or an IBCLC. here is info on mastitis just in case http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...atcanyoudo.pdf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    Thank you everyone. I have been doing compressions and hand-expression and do feel less soreness, though still some tenderness now concentrated closer to the nipple area. Is it possible for a plug to pass or disappear without me realizing it? The first time I had a plugged duct with baby #1, I remember a tiny white dot appeared on the nipple... I removed it, not realizing it was actually the plug, and milk immediately started shooting out (I was shocked!) and I felt instant relief. (Clearly a very vivid memory for me!! )
    Is it possible for the passing/ relief to be more gradual though? This seems sort of anti-climactic compared to the sprinkler effect I recall from last time!
    lllmeg - those were very helpful links, thank you. (I had to laugh when I read the suggestion to lean against the washing machine during the spin cycle! )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    9,157

    Default Re: One Tender Breast - why? relief?

    Is it possible for the passing/ relief to be more gradual though?
    yes. I had a monster deep breast plug that I finally got rid of with vibration (personal massager, not washing machine, but that is an old LLL tip ) and it exited gradually and I never 'saw' any plug-like material come out. I assumed it went into baby.

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