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Thread: Blocked duct: oversupply, bad latch, or bad bra

  1. #1

    Default Blocked duct: oversupply, bad latch, or bad bra

    I had a blocked duct last week and I'm try to determine the cause to prevent its happening again. Was it just poor latch or could it be oversupply? Or maybe that new nursing bra with underwire? My baby is two months old. He was five weeks early, but perfectly healthy. The article about oversupply on this website give the following symptoms for oversupply, of which we have a few.

    Baby cries a lot, and is often very irritable and/or restless: some days, usually more in the evenings like I've been told to expect
    Baby may sometimes gulp, choke, sputter, or cough during feedings at breast: occasionally during nighttime feedings
    Baby may seem to bite or clamp down on the nipple while feeding: since about three weeks he has loved to bite down and shake his head at the end of feeding on each breast. This got a little better, but for the past couple weeks he's been pulling back and pushing with his hands a little at a time until I finally take him off. It is usually when he is done truly feeding and is just comfort sucking. Occasionally this will happen in the middle of a feeding. I think that this results in a poor latch
    Milk sprays when baby comes off, especially at the beginning of a feeding: no
    Mother may have sore nipples: Yes, when I let him comfort suck on the second side for a long time after he is finished eating, they get a little sore, maybe from poor latch at that time
    Baby may arch and hold himself very stiffly, sometimes screaming: no
    Feedings often seem like battles, with baby nursing fitfully on and off: occasionally he is a sleepy eater
    Feedings may be short, lasting only 5 or 10 minutes total: no
    Baby may seem to have a "love-hate" relationship with the breast: no
    Baby may burp or pass gas frequently between feedings, tending to spit up a lot: Yes. He had lots of painful gas episodes until I cut out dairy from my diet. Now he has lots of gas, but it doesn't seem to hurt him
    Baby may have green, watery or foamy, explosive stools: Not green or foamy, but definitely watery and usually explosive. At about four weeks his stools changed from the consistency of mustard to completely liquid with no consistency at all by six weeks. We saw the doctor and she said she thought it was just passing stomach bug or maybe his stools just undergoing normal change. They've gotten a little better since then, but not much
    Mother's breasts feel very full most of the time: no
    Mother may have frequent plugged ducts, which can sometimes lead to mastitis (breast infection): no, but also dealing with milk blister

    Additionally, I pump a few times a week to give him a bottle so he is used to it when I go back to work in a month. My husband gives him the last bottle and I pump, so it isn't additional. The past several weeks I've been pumping 4+ ounces a session and the last two I pumped a full 5 ounces. I understand from what I've read that this is a little above average.

    You can see that I have some symptoms, but not all. So I don't know whether it is really oversupply. Baby likes to eat every two hours (like his mama, ha!). Rarely he'll go as long as 3 or 3 1/2 hours. First thing in the morning and last thing at night he will eat every 1 or 1 1/2 hours for 2 or 3 feedings. He is gaining weight. He weighed 5 lbs 14 oz at birth, 10 lbs 10 oz at 6 weeks and about 12 lbs yesterday by our scale at home. I let him eat for as long as he wants on each breast. During the day this can includes a lot of comfort sucking, but at night I only let him stay on as long as he's really eating.

    Sorry this is such a long post, but I wanted to give you as much information as possible to help me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Blocked duct: oversupply, bad latch, or bad bra

    Based on what you're describing, my guess is that you have some relatively minor oversupply going on. Pumping 4-5 oz at one go, having baby occasionally gulp/choke/sputter, very liquid stools- those are all good indicators of some degree of oversupply. But those liquid poops are yellow, the gulping/choking/sputtering is only at night, you don't feel full, the feedings aren't short and the baby isn't resisting nursing. That all indicates that the oversupply must not be too crazy.

    So, what caused the plugged duct? It could be the oversupply, it could be the new bra, it could be the latch, or it could have no clear explanation. I think you have to go with "no clear explanation" when you're talking about a single isolated plug. Now, if you get a plug every time you wear the underwire bra, or every time you notice your baby's latch being off, then you might be able to pin down the cause. So the best thing to do at this point is to just be patient and pay attention to your body!

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