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Question for my fellow boob-feeders:

My boob hurts. Why?

(What, you need more to go on? Ok, it hurts over in the side, sort of up towards my armpit. I suspect it is bruised from squeezing the damned thing to try to fit it into Owen's mouth after he's slept 6 hours and I'm ready to pop, but if that's where it hurt that one time you had mastitis I would sure appreciate hearing that before my OB closes for the weekend.)

(No fever, so I'm pretty sure it isn't mastitis. Doesn't seem to be a latch problem since it hurts nowhere near where the little bugger clamps on like a starving shark. Plugged duct? What does that feel like? Something else?)

Comments (36)

The fever has been my big sign for mastitis in the past. Honestly it sounds like a duct thing. Maybe a hot shower, hot compress and lots and lots of nursing on that side? When I have tried to pump it out it never works and then you stick a kid on it and it's like...ahhhhhh- much better. Gross- when did we get this way??? Dear God. Sorry you are hurting :-(

Ok- first? I thought that you were telling us your new nickname for Owen. Ha!

Now I realize you're in pain, and I have no good ideas. It made me laugh, though! Not you in pain, I mean. The bit where I misunderst... Oh forget it.

I hope it gets better!!

I had the same thing with my daughter and assumed it was a blocked duct.I sat in a hot bath with a hot face cloth over the area and massaged it really hard while expressing.It hurt like anything but was completely better after a few hours.I had no fever or anything either,just a really painful hard area which felt really bruised.Hope my info helps a bit!

Yep, sounds like a plugged duct. Massage, massage, massage. Nurse, nurse, nurse. And apply heat, just like others have said. A plugged duct that is not addressed can lead to mastitis, so make sure you are dilligent.

Could definitely be the beginnings of a plugged duct but you would normally feel a lump after a while because the milk will back up behind that spot. If that's the case the best things you can do (besides nursing lots) is hot compresses with a facecloth, massaging it in the shower and more nursing. Most times I was able to get rid of it in a few hours (like between 4 and 10) and that way you don't get mastitis (yay!).

Is it a specific lump that hurts or just the area hurts? If it's a lump, I agree with everyone else that you're probably getting a plugged duct. I had them a couple months ago when I stopped bf'ing and it was so freaking painful. I did the same as everyone has already said - took ibuprofen, very hot baths (as hot as I could stand it), and I'd massage the lump in the bath. It hurts like a mother during the massage, but well worth it in the end. I think if you don't take care of it now, you will end up with mastitis.

Very likely a plugged duct. Most feel more like a bruise than a plug. I get them ALL THE TIME so email me if you have questions. I've tried everything!

FYI, DON'T massage it unless you're pretty sure where the plug is. if you massage to far up the milk duct, you run the risk of damaging the duct if the milk is backed up and has nowhere to get out, does that make sense? So be careful with massage.

Honestly, the only thing that REALLY works for me is nighttime nursing. Take the baby to bed and let him nurse all night from that breast (nurse on the other one now and then to prevent engorgement, but concentrate on the plugged one). You'll probably wake up with a pain-free boob.

Nursing as much as possible on that breast is really the best way to go. Nursing in the bath or right after a shower is great too.

This part is kinda fruity, but works for me - if you're still having trouble tomorrow morning after night nursing, try visualizing it - doesn't really matter how you do it, but visualizing free flowing milk helps me more than taking lecithin.

I think you have gotten enough advice. Just happy wishes from me!

It sounds like a plugged duct to me too, I had one for the first time with Suki. I swear, I really thought all breast feeding issues would be over by baby two. But I know you're probably not cleared for baths yet so I will tell you this crazy yet effective technique La Leche League taught me when I called them near tears: Put some hot-as-you-can-stand-it water in a big bowl, make Chris put the cameras far far away, and then put your boob in the bowl. It only took a few minutes of kind of massaging down from chest to end for my woes to cease. You can feel the difference so if this is going to work for you don't worry that you're going to miss it. Also, boob soup is excellent blog fodder whether it works out to be your solution or not.

I haven't read the rest of the comments, so I may be repeating something...

Sounds like a plugged duct to me. Apply warm compresses and when you nurse, and change your poisiton so that his chin is pointed towards the painful part. That is where the most suction comes from, so that will help to unclog it.

OK, don't laugh, but a friend recommended this to me and it totally worked on my clogged duct when hot baths, massaging and the other "tricks" didn't. I filled a clean gym sock with rice and tied off the end with a rubber band. Then I nuked it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and put it on the affected area for as long as I could stand it. Same theory as the bag of frozen peas but in reverse. It worked after 3-4 sessions with the sock. And then I promptly threw the rice away because, well, yuck. Good luck!

Do you also want USELESS advice? 'Cause I got some! I've had that happen and be mastitis, and I've had that happen and NOT be mastitis. The thing that made it mastitis is that after a day or two I felt awful--weak and sore all over. That was the only thing that was different.

When I DID have mastitis, it was on the weekend. I called the OB's answering service, the OB called back and diagnosed over the phone and called me in a prescription.

Not mastitis. You'd KNOW if you had mastitis. But it does sound like a clogged duct and you need to address it before it turns into mastitis. I echo the other comments. One additional idea is applying a wet washcloth to the affected area with a heating pad on top of it. Something about wet heat helps to unclog better than dry heat. Also? And I'm not just saying this, have a glass of red wine. It might be an old wives tale but I was told it thins your milk temporarily and can help to unclog. If nothing else, I FELT better after that (BIG) glass of red wine. And if you are concerned about passing the alcohol onto Owen, make sure you have about 4 hours before nursing him again. Alcohol peaks in breastmilk 2 hours after drinking.

HEy look! Other readers know stuff about boobs! Um, feel better soon :D

I used to get these all the time with my daughter until I started taking fish oil every day. Works wonders on getting ALL ducts in your body working smoothly. Good luck!

Does he kick you there repeatedly while he eats?

(I'm asking from experience nursing a boy baby.)

I have no idea...but I all of a sudden have boob pains. I hope you find something to soothe the pain very soon!!

Sounds like it could be a plugged duct. I have not had one before but I've read that you are supposed to point the baby's nose in the direction of the sore area when nursing to try and unplug it. Like I said, never had to do that before but it's worth a try, eh?

I know this sounds ridiculous, but you have to turn the baby so that his chin points to the area that hurts while you nurse him -- it sounds like that would be a football hold. if it's a blocked duct, they just prescribe nursing and more nursing, and the majority of the milk removal comes from the side where the chin is because of the lovely chewing motion.

um, wow, the person before me just said the exact oposite thing. don't ya just love that? feel better.

I think you need to get Hotty Pediatrician to examine and give an opinion. Mastitis is tres sexy you know.


ow! bummer. best to nip it in the bud, earlier the better.

phytolacca, a homeopathic remedy, should not only clear it but prevent it from going the mastitis direction. the safest medicine to take while nursing. a 30C potency is probably easiest to find, one dose every hour or so until it clears.

magic, i tell you. pure magic.

and of course, nursing and pumping like crazy, rest and fluids, heat and massage will certainly help.

hang in there! surely that dollface is worth it...

Definately gonna go with the plugged duct theory.

I used to get them in that exact same spot on my right side. The cure? Sounds a little funny...but it works.

Lay Owen on the floor and you get on all fours. It just lets gravity do the work and accesses different ducts.

When the pediatrician told me to do that, I thought she was nuts...but it really worked great!

I haven't read all the post so I'm might just be repeating a lot of what everyone else said....but I'm saying clogged duct. Had the same thing a few weeks ago in the same location as you. I'd massage it while Rosemary nursed, while pumping and in the shower. It eventually worked itself out.

Clogged milk duct. I was a certified (guess I still am) breastfeeding counselor. I had the same problem when I was breastfeeding the best child ever (my oldest) who began sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old. Clearly he is not the best child ever, because Owen has him beat. I agree with some of the others who encouraged the hot shower/bath dealy. It will hurt for a little while. The main thing is to get the clog out. Good luck.

As others said sounds like a plugged duct. With mastitis at least for me MY GAWD the pain, fever and constant crying (from me) was fairly noticeable from the moment it started. When I had plugged ducts I massaged while my son nursed. It hurt but it also (oddly) felt better and they went away fairly quickly. With mastitis, I could not even imagine putting my fingers anywhere in that region without SCREAMING.

Sounds like everyone before me has the advice covered so I will just send my best duct opening vibes your way.

I'll add that an electric heating pad worked best for me as a hot compress. On low, and watch the heat level all the same, but it lasts longer than anything else (being all electric and fancy). Massage too, if you can stand it.

Mastitis, for me, was a pain more reminiscent of "oh my god if you touch my boob I will KNIFE YOU YOU *&^&%(*&)@!" Ahem. Whereas a blocked duct was "Oh god this huuuuurts". Just for comparison.

Good luck with unplugging it!

Ditto...blocked duct. I used to get them when I'd accidentally sleep on my stomach, putting pressure on the boobs. Hot compresses worked great for me, and if it really kills, take a tylenol. It should resolve itself, but if it does not, call your MD!

I second the person who said to get on all fours and nurse with the boob dangling.
1) It really does encourage different milk flow.
2) It worked for me on the very first try--like magic, three or four little sucks and *pop!*, ahhhhh.
3) It's hilarious.
4) Chris will be way jealous of the little fella.

In the same book where I read this little tip (that I clearly LOVE... the heat didn't seem to help much in encouraging flow, but dangling! Now that's where it's at!), it also reminded me that usually a clogged duct is a huge red flag that you're doing.too.much. They strongly encouraged just resting for a day or two and giving your body a break. That seemed to help too. Or it was just that I needed someone to tell me that I needed a break so that I could justify spending a couple of days watching an endless stream of tv. I'm just saying... it sounds like you're handling the transition freakishly well, and are perhaps on an adrenaline rush. That's how I felt for weeks after #2 arrived. And then it all crashed in on me and I was totally overwhelmed. I wish I had taken more time to just veg at home. And I should have used a babysitter a little more for the toddler so I could have more time to bond with baby. Anyhow, just some unsolicited and probably unhelpful advice on parenting. Don't you love the internet?

Like so many others have said... sounds like a clogged duct. I would get them all the time with my youngest. I would make sure that was the side he started on more often and massaged the area while he was nursing.

Hope that it doesn't get any worse and guess it's a good thing that it was freezing outside or your little guy might not want to be naked any more...

What worked for me:
- Dangling
- massaging
- hot showers and nursing in the shower (not so hot)
- pumping a bit after nursing

Hope you feel better soon. Gorgeous kids, by the way.

I'm surprised at how many readers have had mastitis. wow. They've given you good advice. I hope it isn't mastitis. Good luck.

Nudie Owen in the carseat is a riot. He looks really cranked.

My guess is Ducy on the Verge of Blockage. Total blockage, you'd know. Hot water bottles. long showers, and lots o' nursing should cure it.

Hey, how's this for an idea? Lay Chris on the floor & position yourself over him on all fours? There will be no jealousy issues & he'll for sure be able to suck that knot right the heck outta there. Feel better soon, sweetie.

i had a blocked milk duct when weaning one of them off once (tryed to do it too abruptly) but there was a definite lump.

have you had thrush problems at all? apparently that can get inside your boob as well and be v painful.

i've had a few weired aches and pains this time, which have turned out to be tweaked muscles (over enthusiastic hand expressing I think) which righted themselves. If no lump, then I'm going for this as the problem!

Beth, I'm just getting over a blocked breast and had similar symptoms. Both breasts actually kinda blocked at the same time (strange, I know)...I was able to get one of them going again with hot showers RIGHT before I nursed and then deep massages.

I ended up going for ultrasound treatments on my other took 3 treatments and things are back to normal.

I hope you are well and that this has resolved itself by the time you are reading this comment.

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So the Fish Said...

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