Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

  1. #1

    Default plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    After reading up on plugged milk ducts, I am not sure if I have one. I have a lump in my left breast, near the top, almost underneath my armpit. It has been there for about 72 hrs now. When I found it I immediately started showering with hot water, trying to massage it out, applying heat, expressing a little bit after nursing. (Keep in mind, I have a 12 month old who only nurses about 4x day plus 2-3 times during the night, and it is hard to get him to nurse much more than that because he just doesn't want to.) It gets down to the size of a blueberry after nursing and then gets up to the size of a quarter.
    Here's where I am confused: everyone describes plugged milk ducts as incredibly painful. Mine doesn't hurt unless I press on it, and then it feels like I'm pushing down on a bruise. Also, it doesn't seem to be getting bigger or worse. So... does this sound like a plugged duct?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,925

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    Hi in my experience plugged ducts themselves can be pain less. Blebs which occur right on the nipple are usually very painful especially when baby is nursing. But I personally have had plugs large and small and did not even know I had them until I began to have symptoms of mastitis and investigated and then found a plug.
    And yes you can definitely get plugs even when your baby is a toddler. Any lactating mother can get the plugs.
    I would suggest trying vibration, a cold compress to reduce inflammation, and maybe nursing baby upside down. All of these ideas and more can be found in the tip sheet about plugs and blabs that you can find on this website in the tearsheet toolkit.
    If you're concerned this may be something else, you might want to see your doctor. But it sounds consistent with a plug to me.

  3. #3

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    Thank you for your response... it's crazy because a lot of the info out there about plugged ducts talks about how painful it is and they fail to say that it isn't necessarily painful always! While it is comforting to know that plugged ducts don't always necessarily cause pain, I am still where I was on Friday (that's 5 days ago now).... Painless lump in breast that I can't seem to get rid of. It hasn't gotten bigger or worse. No symptoms of mastitis- I feel fine. Should I have gotten sick by now? I just feel at a loss of what to do! Do I just keep massaging it? (I've been at it so long now and have seen no results that it seems pointless.) I've also tried inspecting the nipple to see if I find a plug and I don't see anything, but I could easily be mistaken. I'm having a hard time taking a course of action since I've tried just about every suggestion out there, short of pumping, since I don't want to increase my supply and make it worse.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    How are you feeling today? One thing that many moms find helpful is to take a very hot bath and use something like a hard comb to massage the painful lump/plugged duct. Sometimes the plug can last a long time, even if there is no red spot and no mastitis. However, I haven't encountered a lump that changes size after nursing, but it might be that the plug is getting drained but keeps getting plugged again?

    I've been nursing for 2 years and have had probably 30 plugged ducts, hot baths and comb massage always worked for me. If the lump persists and is still painful perhaps ask your midwife/obgyn/health care provider to take a look?
    and Mama to two little girls

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,925

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    I've also tried inspecting the nipple to see if I find a plug and I don't see anything, but I could easily be mistaken.
    That is because your plug is not on your nipple. Those types of plugs are called blebs and usually are visible (like a blister) and typically really hurt when baby nurses. Plugs are caused by a lump of milk fat 'plugging ' the duct, and this can happen anywhere in the milk duct, and the milk ducts are all the way up the breast, under your arm etc.

    Have you tried cold, vibration, nursing upside down? Massaging and massaging when massaging is not doing anything is probably just causing inflammation. Try these ideas, the ones for plugs not the ones for blebs: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...plugsblebs.pdf

    A breast lump that will not go away even with these efforts may need to be looked at by doctor.

  6. #6

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    Thank you, ladies. And thank you for explaining the difference between a bleb and plug. I definitely had those confused. Nope, don't have a bleb.
    I have tried vibration, yes. I noticed the sheet said to try the spin cycle on the washing machine. I'll try that tomorrow. I have also yet to try soaking in epsom salts. I'll try that tomorrow too.
    My LO would only let me nurse him upside-down for a minute, so I did the next best thing and pumped upside-down. (And I massaged on and off). I wasn't sure how long I had to do it for it to be effective but I pumped for maybe 5-7 minutes?
    Could it be a partial blockage? Does this happen?
    I still don't have any engorgement or decrease in supply (LO doesn't seem to complain)... it doesn't FEEL like milk is getting "backed up" around the rest of the breast (just have that small, quarter-sized lump). NO pain or tenderness (the 'bruised' feeling I had before came as a result of me massaging the area over and over again really hard when I first found the lump). I thought for a minute it could be a swollen lymph node but I think it's too far down to be that. So at this point i've scheduled an appointment with the doctor for Monday morning. Trying not to worry until then. :-(

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,925

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    I am glad you are seeing a doctor. This is actually sounding less like a plug to me, (although yes it IS possible to have a 'partial' plug, which is why they will often get smaller after nursing (some milk squeezes by the plug) and bigger again between feedings (from the milk that is being blocked).) But the fact that the plug does not change size at all and appears to not be budging with your efforts sounds less like a plug.

    That said, I also doubt it is anything worrisome but still think good idea to see doctor. Let us know what they say.

  8. #8

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    I had a dr.'s appt this morning. OF COURSE, the lump reduced drastically in size last night, over a week from when it appeared, to the point where I could hardly feel it. Woke up this morning and went to the appointment, and the doc could feel it, but had a hard time finding it. The tiny lump she did feel, she said was almost certainly benign and could be anything since I'm lactating and things are always changing in the boob area. She said it MIGHT be a lymph node, but it seemed it was too low for that. Also, she said she didn't think it was a milk duct, because it wasn't close enough to the nipple. (I thought ducts spread out pretty far?).... which leaves me with the question, WHAT THE HECK was that?! She said to watch it for the next week or two, but the fact that it has almost gone away is a really great sign. If after a week or two I still feel concerned, I can go get a sonogram.

    So, I feel great that it's basically almost gone.... but still... any guesses as to what it could have been? Has anybody out there ever had a mysterious, painless lump appear and then disappear in their breast while breastfeeding? So weird!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,368

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*katienjohnny View Post
    . Also, she said she didn't think it was a milk duct, because it wasn't close enough to the nipple. (I thought ducts spread out pretty far?)....
    I think there may be some confusion in how we refer to the anatomy of the breast. Sometimes the word "duct" is used in a general sense to refer to the system of glands and ducts within the breast. Other times it is used in a more restricted sense, referring only to the terminal, surface outlet of that system.

    Breast tissue does extend into the armpit. There's an anatomical structure called the Tail of Spence that contains mammary glands and which is a frequently plugged area- it's way back there so it may not be well drained, and it's where pressure from bras or bags can fall and cause plugs. That being said, the Tail of Spence was probably a footnote or an extra credit question on your doctor's endocrinology exam... Not a big focus of her medical education, unless she happens to be a breast specialist.

    which leaves me with the question, WHAT THE HECK was that?
    Because the lump has basically vanished, and did so overnight, a plugged duct is a very likely explanation.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  10. #10

    Default Re: plugged milk duct (?) with toddler

    That makes sense to me. Thank you!

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •