Thursday, April 15, 2010

Got (clogged) milk (ducts)?

You roll over in the middle of the night and wonder why someone is jabbing something really sharp (not a knife, maybe a hot poker? Because it's painful, but kind of burn-y, not pointy) into the side of your right nursing device.

That is to say, your breast.

I tried to ignore it. Mainly because it was 2 in the morning. X had just visited (because, you know, at 13 months, why should he sleep all night?) and was back in his crib in Sawyer's room. I needed to sleep.

So when X was back in our room at 6:20, I was more awake and realized that holy mother of G-d I'm in pain.

It could only be one thing: clogged milk ducts.

If you're not wincing like a man who's listening to you talk about neutering your dog, then you've either not breast fed a child OR you've been lucky enough to have completely smooth sailing (I still love you regardless, I do!).

The rest of us? You know what I'm talking about. The lumps that feel like gravel in your breast. The sore, sore lumps that start under your armpit and move all the way down to ground zero.

I have been chasing X around like a crazy woman today trying to get him to nurse. Apparently he only has interest when it's a) completely inconvenient or b) the middle of the night or c) a AND b.

Oh, he humored me. He agreed to nurse. But he wasn't really into it, you know? He just didn't get the job done. In fact, he laughed at me. I was massaging the area while he nursed to try to unclog whatever is in there (is it like a hairball or what? How do these things even get clogged?) and he giggled. Reached up and smacked me in the nose. Pulled my hair.

And I'm all, "Look, pal. I've given up eating food for a year to nurse you. I've stayed home when I've wanted to go out because of your schedule. I've done EVERYTHING for you and now all I'm asking is that you suck like my Dyson vacuum and HELP YOUR MOTHER OUT!"

Yeah. That worked real well.

Earlier today I took Sage to dance class, where I hang out with the other mothers while the kids dance. I pointed out to my friend that one of my breasts was twice the size of the other. Because the milk is not coming out.

So I'm talking to the rest of the moms, telling them about my clogged ducts. Every one of them shuddered - because it's not a feeling you forget.

And as I'm going on about it I'm rubbing. I'm describing in great detail how much it hurts (rub rub) and how I hope (rub rub) it doesn't turn into (rub rub) mastitis.

The other women were completely unfazed. Because they totally related. Told me their stories of Milk Duct Hell and what they did to try to get rid of it before it turned into the dreaded mastitis.

I'm hard-pressed to think of any group more supportive then mothers. Yes, we can be horrible and competitive and judgmental. But when it comes down to it, motherhood is a universal experience.

We've all been there. The moms I know? They make me feel not so alone, that it's okay to grope myself in the hallway of a gym because they've got my back. And in this case, my front, too.

I'm just hoping I don't have a "Mastitis: I didn't die but I wanted to" story to tell.

Maybe I should go wake X up from his nap. He's got work to do


Janine Benedict said...

UGH. I DO know that feeling. It is dreadful. I hope it clears up ASAP.

Sarah said...

Can SO relate... I've had more plugged milk ducts that I can count. I've managed to avoid Mastitis since H was born, but this week, it gets even better: Thrush! The absolute worst.

Cheryl said...

Sarah - Had thrush with Sawyer. Not. Fun. I sympathize!

Janine - It is dreadful, isn't it? Still going strong, unfortunately..

Marit said...

Sorry to hear. Have you tried turmeric? My lactation consultant suggested taking a spoon of turmeric in a glass of water before going to bed. Oddly enough, it's worked every time. I now have turmeric supplements next to the bed just in case it's needed though it's not hard to get this little girl to nurse ANY TIME and ANY WHERE - oh boy! Good luck.

Unknown said...

BOOO! This was funny but terrible. Apparently pain makes you hilarious.

Jill said...

Oh, you poor thing. I have totally been there at my daughter's dance class with a good group of moms. Actually, they have become some of my best friends! I love the mommy bond we all have. Keep us posted. Hopefully X can get the job done!!

kirsten said...

I love that my mom friends don't judge me, but I always judge myself. (as in, "ooh, was that weird that I was totally grabbing at my boob in the hallway??")

anyway. Those plugged ducts suck (ba dum dum), even worse when they're old enough to really resist feeding when they don't feel like it.

Hope you feel better!

Cheryl said...

Marit - I have not! Knowing my luck, X would be allergic to it! Now X is going to think the buffet is open again. We were not nursing on demand anymore, but after today's extravaganza, he'll be back for more!

JoAnn - That's because I'm delirious. And I probably bruised myself with all that pawing.

Jill - Yes! The mommy bond formed while waiting around for our kids - it's the best!

Kirsten - I didn't mention that there were TWO DADS also in the hallway, did I? And I didn't even care! My boob hurt THAT MUCH!

MiniMe Mom said...

UGH! Thrush and mastitis ended my breastfeeding run with BX.

It is so aweful! Hope it clears soon!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by my Double Wide today!

The Mayor! said...

Hey chickie!! Drop by Crazy Town, you've been honoured for all your honest crap LOL....get your acceptance speech ready!! :-D

SJ said...

Ow! I feel for you. I had a plugged duct not to long ago it was horrible. Hot shower and massage helps.

Lindsey aka the modchik said...

I swear I got a phantom twinge of pain in my right breast when I read that post! It's been 3 years since I BF but you are right, as with childbirth too you never really forget THAT level of pain, we may suppress the thought but... well let's just say I can empathize with your hot poker pain.

DRINK MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF FLUIDS!!! have you tried ACV? (Apple Cider Vinegar)

go to - its my GO TO place for all health related (sidenote: allergies too! I have a 4 yr old who has chronic stomach issues and did the testing for foods and her results were very similar to your Xs... we could talk days about this)

... anyhoo try that site and search clogged milk ducts. And check out the healing properties of ACV <-- I swear by it.

I'm glad we found each other yesterday :D I see you blog on OC mom's with Marcy (the Glam Life) ! I'm part of her OC Blog Crush group. Small world, or maybe not so small.

Angelica said...

Oh so sorry!!! Mastisis sucks!! I do hope you avoid it! Just calling a nursing day and I am glad you had some moms near you that were there for you! that is so important!

The Mayor! said...

So, I made you another button....cause I didn't like the first one...that is all! ;-)

BTW, since I have finally managed, after 10 yrs of nursing, to shove those clogged ducts in to the deep dark recesses of my brain, I have no comment! HA!

Stephanie @ dial m for minky said...

Oh my God. I've never had that...knock on wood. But I can imagine! And Holy heck, YIKES!!!! I wish I had a magic answer.

AiringMyLaundry said...


I didn't have a plugged duct but I did have bleeding nipples for a bit. That was so painful.

Stopping by from SITS.

Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey said...

You poor thing. I can so relate. It's been awhile, but I still recall how painful it was with my last one.

The worst part was that I had so much milk and it was like water so I had to bottle feed every second feeding and had to get rid of the extra in a hot shower.

Stopping by from SITs

Adelle said...

Ok, who can resist that teaser you just posted on Facebook? Got my attention...

So sorry - I did wince and hunch my shoulders when you tweeted yesterday. Ow. A pain like no other. Hope X gets to work soon and gives you some relief!

Natalie | Make Today Great said...

never been there - not a mom yet! But I think that sounds soo painful!

Capital Mom said...

The only way I could deal with that was to get my son to nurse upside down so that his chin not nose was near the blocked duct. That always seemed to work.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I just worked up the courage to read this, it is a feeling you never forget! Last week on girl's weekend I thought I was getting one by the time I go home but thankfully Little Miss went to town. Seriously if there was a Tenacious Breastfeeding Mother Award you would win hands down! Your boobs are in my thoughts!

Aimee Larsen said...

Whew! I've been there. Those things hurt. I really don't miss that part at all. I your little "Dyson" or "Hover" as I called mine, is successful. I was stopping by from SITS, glad I did. :) Please visit me sometime.

Lucy said...

Ugh--I've done the clogged milk duct thing. Super fun--NOT! Luckily it was pretty short-lived, but while I had it I was one unhappy camper! Hope yours cleared up fast!

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