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Thread: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24

    Angry Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    Has anyone else dealt with this? I seem to get at least one or more per week. I've gotten better at noticing them right away and working them out, but if I don't it can take a couple days to get things back to normal again. I've gotten more vigilant about my fluid intake - I drink 2 liters of water per day. My DD is 9 months old. She bf's on demand when home with me even at night where she still wakes several times. I work part time 20 hours per week and pump every 2.5 to 3 hours while away from her (which works out to 3 times per day). One thought I had is that my pump schedule and her intake when home with me are not in synch, so perhaps my body is confused about how much milk to make and when. Sometimes I get the plugged duct at work, sometimes it happens at home, so I can't seem to blame one environment or another. I've gotten them even when going braless for awhile. Its never the same breast or the same location. I've thought perhaps teething might be to blame. She's been working on her uppers since Christmas - one finally cut today (yay!) Have other moms dealth with this? And any ideas of what might be the cause or possible solutions?

    Thanks!!

    ~June in Maine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    Hi there,
    Wow, dealing with recurrent plugged ducts is not easy! You are commended for sticking it out! There are many causes of plugged ducts. Have you seen this?

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMarApr06p68.html

    This might be helpful too. (Not LLL)
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/mastitis.html

    Some things moms have done to help with recurrent plugged ducts are:
    Add lecithin to their diets:
    http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vi.../lecithin.html
    Check calcium intake. Moms find that about 1000mg is about right.
    Reduce saturate fats in their diet.
    Change positions. This might sound strange, but upside-down nursing (with you on all fours, breast hanging above dd) has been very helpful for lots of moms.

    Could you tell me more about your milk supply and pumping situation? Do you get just enough for her to eat when away from you? Or do you get a lot more than she needs?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for your reply and the links. I found the LLL one and the one on lecithin very interesting. I'd seen the Kellymom one before. I do use massage and compression everytime I nurse or pump and heat if I get a clog, although I do like the idea of trying it even when I don't have one. I had wondered about my diet. I eat a very lowfat diet due to my own acid reflux issues, but I have been concerned about my calcium intake. The medication I take for my reflux has recently been linked to poor absorption of calcium - I had just asked my regular PCP about taking a supplement and he did recommend it, but I just hadn't gotten around to buying it yet.

    I had heard about upside down nursing before. A mom friend of mine who had similar clog issues recommended it to me months ago and I'd totally forgotten about it. The gymnastics we go through for our little ones

    Early on I had been making much more milk than my dd needed at daycare, but once the hormone driven supply transitioned to supply and demand it leveled out and actually I began making less than she needed. This happened around 6 months so I began introducing solids at daycare to try to make up for the difference. Initially this led to some bottle refusal issues and she wanted more solids than milk. I was not ok with that so now the dcp will only offer milk and no solids until she's had at least 12 ozs of milk. I didn't want her to wean too early.

    I use a Medela PIS pump at work and I work 3 days per week M, T, W and as I mentioned I pump about every 3 hours there. I nurse dd at 7am, then pump at 10, 12:30 and 3:00 then nurse dd again around 6 when we get home from dc. Then we nurse again an hour or so later before bed. I pump about 10 to 12 ozs per day, and typically I pump more on my first day back to work and less on each subsequent day. On days when I am home I pretty much nurse on demand which tends to work out to be every 3 hours. She also still nurses through the night - I put her to bed around 7:30/8 then she typically wakes around 10:30, 1:30, 3:30 (and often every hour after that until about 6:30) I'm currently trying to back this off and am worried that will make my plugged ducts worse as I'm trying to encourage her to sleep longer.

    So thats more about my situation. Probably more than you needed or just brought up more questions for you! I do appreciate your input and will definitely try the calcium supplements and look into the lecithin idea. BFing is so important to me I really want to make it work as long as I can.

    ~June

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    I used to get them often wearing an underwire bra but now that I'm in a softcup I haven't gotten one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    882

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    I need to wear underwire, but I found that the cups were just a little too small. So, I upped the cup size a bit to provide more room and no clogging problems anymore (bras that don't fit right can cause clogging).

    HTH

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    I've never used underwire bras and go braless when I'm not at work or out in public and still get clogs and in weird spots like right on top. I've gone almost two weeks now though without a clog which is a record since Thanksgiving. Maybe it was all the holiday stress! Thanks for all the tips.

    ~June

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Recurrent plugged milk ducts

    this is what helped me but didn't eliminate the problem all together.

    Adding Lechithin to my diet (can be found in the fish oil vitamin section).
    Only wearing soft cup bras.
    Massaging my breasts. I did this when I felt full and couldn't pump but I would especially massage when I had a plug and I would knead and work it out. It would hurt, but it helped. Sometimes doing this in a warm bath.

    I know it can be so painful! The good news is now that my son is older I get them a lot less.

    Good luck!
    Lisa

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