This post is about breastfeeding…consider yourself warned.
I haven’t had any issues with breastfeeding other than the initial shock that I imagine every new mom goes through in the first few weeks. Read: Dang, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be…no wonder I’m burning something like 500 cals/day!
No issues until last week, that is. Fortunately, I was able to nip them in the bud fairly quickly.
Tuesday afternoon I noticed that when my arm brushed against the side of my boob, it felt kind of sore. After some cautious prodding, one spot in particular felt slightly hard. I ignored it but noticed the sensation again later in the day. As bedtime approached, I remember saying to Pa, “Hey, the side of my boob is sore- just thought I would let you know.”
A combination of discomfort and Frankie washing himself as close to my body as possible woke me up at 2 AM. I wasn’t in any kind of serious pain, but I couldn’t turn onto my side due to soreness and a little throbbing. After about half an hour of laying in bed, trying to figure out what was going on, I got up to self-diagnose myself by way of the Internet. It’s all a little foggy as it was 2:30 AM, but I think I had an epiphany that I might be dealing with a plugged duct. I searched google using the phrase “plugged duct” and found this.
Kellymom is an extremely helpful website and every symptom listed for a plugged duct described what I was experiencing. I felt good about my new role as Kelly, M.D., and went back to bed where I lay for the next hour and a half, uncomfortable, waiting to get up for the day. (Why didn’t I pump to help out myself out, doctor’s orders? Good question! I blame my lack of cleverness on the time of day.)
I finally fell into a light sleep and when my alarm went off at 5:10, I was ready to nurse. Wednesday morning happened to be a running morning for me and Pa. He gets up earlier than I do since he runs longer (and outdoors) so I went out to the living room to announce my diagnosis before I nursed Lula. After a brief discussion, he asked if I was going to run and I said I would see how I was feeling after I nursed.
Nursing was pretty painful on that side but I read that the pain would alleviate once nursing was wrapped up so I persevered.
My boob felt better after nursing and I got myself down to the treadmill. Secretly, I was hoping that I would be in too much pain to run and would have to walk or skip a workout all together and drink an extra cup of coffee, but I knew I had to at least try to run. It sucked for a few minutes but then I got used to it and surprisingly, I had a decent amount of energy. I made it through my obligatory four miles and was glad I did.
You know you’re a runner when…
For the rest of the day, I offered the plugged-duct boob to Lula every two hours. I texted my sis about my situation when Lula and I were shopping and she texted back this:
lean over the bathroom sink and take a washcloth that you’ve soaked with really hot water and press it on your duct for as long as you can. Do this a few times in a row and keep doing it throughout the day. It should go away by tonight.
I love you for saying it should be gone by tonight!
Once we got home, I tried repeated hot compresses and they worked extremely well to relieve my pain.
One thing I read that scared me was that if the plugged duct wasn’t treated, it could lead to mastitis. Pa gently reminded me that getting up overnight to pump wouldn’t be a bad idea to ensure this didn’t happen. I knew he was right, I just didn’t want to do it…grumble, grumble.
I pumped before I went to bed (at 9:45) and I got up at 1:45 AM to pump again. It wasn’t so bad and Thursday morning, although a little tender, overall I felt much better. I kept nursing throughout the day and by evening, I was a new woman!
It’s a week later and I have felt completely back to normal since Friday. I’m glad that I nursed and nursed and nursed and pumped when I had to in order to keep things moving. I can’t say enough about how much the hot compresses helped with the pain. If I hadn’t ignored the sore sensation I first noticed on Tuesday, I probably could have gotten rid of it before it got worse but, I learned my lesson for next time.
Have a wonderful day!