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Thread: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

  1. #1

    Default Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    Sorry this might be lengthy!!

    HERE is the back story:So, my LO is 6 months old. She has been sleeping 11 hour stretches (7:30-6:30) for probably about 6 weeks now, but my left breast is STILL very full/hard EVERY morning. My right is also full for sure, but not uncomfortably so...my left has always produced much more. I've been waiting for weeks for my body to adjust but it just doesn't seem to be happening. It's always a relief to nurse in the morning but difficult because getting a deep latch is hard. I've been dealing with small blisters/cracks (honestly don't know exactly what is going on but have tiny pieces of white dead skin in the very center of my nipple). I've thought about pumping in the morning but have avoided it because I certainly don't want to increase supply :P

    NOW THIS WEEK: I've been handling it alright UNTIL...this last week on Saturday and then AGAIN today, when I go to nurse in the morning my LO latches on, but then my nipple and areola just get really swollen and puffy and barely any milk will come out at all. I don't know what is going on but it's painful for me and frustrating for LO Since the first time it happened, I've tried heat before nursing thinking maybe it's a plugged duct? That seemed to be going ok until today.

    Anyone had issues like this?? Or know what it might be? I've thought about pumping before bed...would that maybe help relieve the morning engorgement?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    Have you tried massage/hand expression before nursing in the morning?

    What about trying a dream feed with her before you go to bed at night?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    I do try to massage/hand express a bit...I also found this http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/r....PFKpUWXj.dpbs and have been trying to do that. On the days that I've had the swelling/puffiness though I'm not able to get much out. I'm not honestly sure what's going on, if it's a blocked duct or what...when I try to google the swelling, engorgement etc. all the info I can find is about milk coming in the first few days PP! Luckily both times it's been pretty much relieved by midday but I'm still sore and man does it hurt for that whole morning :/

    I have never done dream feeds...I hate to wake her when she is happily sleeping these long stretches! But, I might try pumping before I go to bed...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    402

    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    If you pump before bed don't empty the breast, it will only refill! Pump just a bit or even better hand express as it is supposed to be less stimulating.

    There are things called blebs and milk blisters that might cause the pain also? (Never had either so not sure on exact symptoms)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    NOW THIS WEEK: I've been handling it alright UNTIL...this last week on Saturday and then AGAIN today, when I go to nurse in the morning my LO latches on, but then my nipple and areola just get really swollen and puffy and barely any milk will come out at all. I don't know what is going on but it's painful for me and frustrating for LO Since the first time it happened, I've tried heat before nursing thinking maybe it's a plugged duct? That seemed to be going ok until today.
    This does sound like it may be engorgement and/or a plug. If mom is very engorged, the plug can be hard to find. plugs can feel very tiny or huge and there may be more than one. Engorgement can mean fluids and swelling in the cells, not just a back up of milk in the ducts. This is why even with just engorgement it can be hard to extract milk, the ducts are actually congested.

    I would suggest removing milk from the breast more often, and I would suggest baby is better than a pump. Pumps tend to pull fluid into the areola causing worse issues of swelling in the areola. If you do not wish to nurse or baby won't, you can try hand expression. If you wish to pump, I would suggest, pump gently at a low setting. At this point, I think getting the milk removed regularly is most important, if this increases your supply a little that will only be temporary. Also, perhaps some reverse pressure softening prior to latching baby if you are engorged, to help baby get a better latch. Cold packs may help reduce swelling better than heat.

    Looking forward, I suggest that 11 hours is pretty long for a 6 month old to be going with no nursing at all, as a daily thing. That is almost half the day! A 6 month old is not growing nearly as fast as a 6 week old, of course, but they are still needing to pack on weight fairly rapidly compared to older kids. So frequent meals are still the norm.

    I think your body may be telling you that baby needs to nurse more overnight. Milk sitting in the breast signals the body to make less milk, so these long stretches will reduce your milk production, and that may possibly cause problems going forward. For some moms it is fine for baby to sleep longer stretches, but with others, it really hurts production or causes the issues you are seeing. Breastfeeding is a two way street, so nursing cues come from mom and baby. Feeling full is a nursing cue coming from your body. Dream feeds can work really well, especially if you can side lie and nurse. But even if baby is awoken to nurse, that is not going to cause any harm. Your baby will still get plenty of sleep.

    Also if baby is sucking a pacifier at night, or is swaddled, or is sleeping in another room from you, these are things that may cause a baby to sleep "longer" than baby would without these interventions.

    more info: plugs: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf

    Engorged/RPS: http://www.llli.org/faq/engorgement.html

    hand expression: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...expression.pdf

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    Thanks for the insight! She has just gradually slept longer stretches and I've followed her lead on that. I still hesitate to disrupt her sleep to nurse, she sleeps all night and wakes up happy! I go to a BFing support group locally and she has been gaining weight steadily, good diaper output etc. If I did try to do a dream feed...do you suggest I do that before going to bed? set an alarm? Also if I use a cold compress instead of heat would that be something to try just before nursing? She nurses about every 2-3 hours during the day and really the only time I ever have a problem at all is first thing in the morning.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help!! Engorgement/blocked ducts? 6 months

    If I did try to do a dream feed...do you suggest I do that before going to bed? set an alarm
    Whatever works best for you.

    Also if I use a cold compress instead of heat would that be something to try just before nursing?
    Not necessarily. it's an overall technique for reducing inflammation. The only directions I have seen about it is to use a bag of frozen peas or similar and do 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off but I have no idea if it has to be that way. Some moms still prefer heat just prior to nursing. it need not be either/or. you can do cold to reduce inflammation and heat to help relax and get milk flowing. Also you could try the heat on your back rather than directly on your breasts. or no heat. What works for you.

    really the only time I ever have a problem at all is first thing in the morning.
    Yes, of course, because that is when it has been hours and hours and hours of no milk removal! nursing happens at normal intervals otherwise, so, no problems then. But only one long time period of not nursing with normal frequency is all it takes to create many issues, including what you are already experiencing, low production, and even mastitis. like I said, I have no way of knowing how badly this will effect you and your baby in the future, I suspect you have a large breast storage capacity or you would never have been able to go this long without great discomfort. But I would suggest the ill effects you are having now are almost surely due to this very long interval of not nursing/no milk removal.

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