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Thread: Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    42

    Default Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

    Ds is 13 months and still nursing strong!

    However, whenever he has a bout of teething (DS has 8 teeth so far, and a canine tooth just pokeded through) I have a variety of nursing issues. He sometimes doesn't nurse very frequently during the day (I try cold teethers bagels etc. in his mouth before offering, offer often, sometimes give him medicine before bedtime). Then, at night, he nurses quite a bit. From the early morning hours on, he awakens frequently. We cosleep, with DS between DH and I, and because DS hadn't been waking much at night before this last bout of teething, I lazily pop him on while we're both half-asleep, in sidelying position, mostly on my right side (the side that is towards him while we're sleeping) and his latch probably wasn't quite right. There are also times during the day when I've noticed his latch is rather shallow on that side, but I am having a hard time correcting it. He pushes away from the breast with all his might when I try to latch him deeply. All of this is a perfect storm for clogged ducts.

    The last few days this pattern caused a bleb on my right breast, leading to a clogged duct. I have gotten blebs/clogged ducts there maybe 5-6 times in that breast (and twice in the other one, from neglecting it while dealing with the first clog) since DS was 3 months old. Just to add to my history, that right breast has been a source of woe from the very beginning. It had a very bad crack that took about 6 months to heal. I had LCs look at our latch a number of times the first few months, and everything looked OK to them. I think he just eventually outgrew whatever he was doing, plus I had a bit of yeast in that breast that was preventing it from healing (so I added a post-feed vinegar wash to my routine for quite a while and that finally did it). I have also always suspected that the fact that he has a slightly asymmetrical cry/smile (from pressure either in utero or during labor) had something to do with our latching problems. My right nipple doesn't look the same anymore.... there are deep grooves in it where the crack healed, and I think this, too has made me more susceptible to clogged ducts somehow because the skin is different there.

    Tonight, as I was painfully massaging my breast in the shower, picking at a bleb, putting on hot compresses, and pumping (DS had already nursed to sleep and just didn't get it), I thought there has to be a better way. This time, part of my breast tissue was raised (like a vein sticking out) and it is extremely painful (I've never had that before and am curious to what it is... the milk duct? some kind of horrible subdermal friction blister?).

    I was thinking about what I should be doing differently, and one thing I came up with is that I really need to start varying nursing positions when I suspect DS is teething. But with an older child, it seems like it's not that easy to come up with them. Additionally, I'm curious about whether other people have had success taking lecithin, and whether that would really help in my situation. What about GSE? Any other advice is welcome. I'm not sure my clog is resolved yet (it's hard to feel for a lump because my breast is so sore) and I'm wondering whether I really should add the epsom salt soak, too? Sorry for the novel!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

    Hi,
    I had some similar issues for a long time. Specifically, I had repeated problems with a blocked duct on my right breast, and it was ALWAYS the same duct. Happened every two weeks or so for eight months or so. The nipple was always sore but I figured that was due to the (almost) constant need to open the duct.

    Anyway, long story short, it turned out it was due to yeast, presumably in the duct. Once that got treated (I used grapefruit seed extract for a week and topical miconazole cream for two weeks, both available over the counter), I have had no more problems (!). I otherwise didn't really have typical "yeast" symptoms so it never occurred to me that that yeast might be the source of the problem.

    I also do take lecithin, 1 teaspoon 2x/day. I don't really know if it helps or not but since I had issues for so long, I figure it may be worth it for me.

    Not sure your problems are due to yeast, and you are probably right in that your son's latch doesn't make things better, but I thought I'd share my experience in case it's helpful.

    Best,
    Jill

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

    Thanks! That is something to think about. I happen to have GSE around for my cloth diapers, and I wonder if some Jack Newman's ointment could stand in for the antifungal cream you mentioned.

    I also wonder.... how exactly does lecithin work? (ie. what part of the clogged duct problem does it address?) Are tablets as good as the powder?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

    I'm not exactly sure how lecithin works . . . as far as I know, it makes the milk less "sticky." I assume this happens because the lecithin changes the viscosity (?) I would think the tablets and the powder should be the same. I use the granulated stuff that comes in the big canister because it's cheap. Could give you a brand name but since I'm in Germany that probably wouldn't help much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Recurrent clogged ducts due to teething

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, I took tablets (orally) that contained the grapefruit seed extract . . . for me, this was important since I don't think GSE topically would have reached the source of the problem.

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