Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I have a plugged duct. I know how to get my plugged drain to get going, and actually, this has been kind of similar and I think I'm on my way to working it out (I have an emergency supply of antibiotics courtesy of me begging my doctor yesterday to give them to me before a foot of snow falls today, juuuust in case I spike a fever and develop mastitis). Except I've experienced a sudden drop in my supply--from both breasts, even though the plug is only in one. When I pump in the evening (so that S. could share in feeding Max by giving him a bottle of expressed milk), I was getting upwards of 9 oz. This was just two days ago. In the last two days, I've put out far, far less--maybe, maybe 2 oz. per side. What gives? Is it the duct? I have been feeding him more often to unclog things and move them along. Another change--the long sleep stretches. If my supply is "evening out," this is not a good place to be at.

Any BFing advice, oh wise internets?

Just when I thought everything was going awesome with breastfeeding. I should have known better. Erg.


Whozat said...

This might not be an appealling suggestion, but you might try pumping during the night or wee hours, during the long sleep stretch. Supply is higher and sensitivity to the stimulation is higher at that time, and it will make up for any loss of "instructions to make milk" due to skipping that (those?) nursing sessions that he's now sleeping through.

Also, you probably already know this, but is a great source of info for all things breastfeeding-related, including plugged ducts and supply concerns.

Mikhaela said...

Yes, Kellymom is great. I also have a big pile of breastfeeding books, my favorite being Breastfeeding Made Simple... I also recommend finding a breastfeeding support group with a good leader (either La Leche or a lactation-consultant-run group)... I found it super helpful.

Anyway, when I got a plugged duct, it didn't affect my supply and it thankfully never became mastitis, but it was super painful.

I nursed frequently on the affected breast, took showers and directed warm/hot water onto the affected area, and took ibuprofen. I think it took about two days to clear up, for me anyway.

The supply drop is another issue, though I'm sure a plugged duct could cause a temporary dip -- it's true that supply regulates over time, based on supply and demand. And for many women, 2 oz per side is totally normal at a single pumping--above average, even. Especially from an evening pumping session, because supply is lowest in the evening. I wouldn't worry about this too much unless it KEEPS dropping, since 4 oz is more than enough for a newborn at a single bottle feeding.

Pumps often aren't as efficient as direct nursing, either. So they're not direct evidence of how much baby is getting except for bottle feedings, if that makes sense. (That said, I am back at work and I know I pump more in 10 minutes than my baby eats, as I've had her weighed by an LC before and after feedings. She generally eats 3-4 oz. at a time, but I get about 6 oz. total when I pump).

hope that is helpful!

stacey said...

the pumping and showers and frequent feedings are all good ideas. also, make sure you're getting plenty of calories and fluids. more even than you think you need.

Heather said...

Another possible solution is to "nurse like a cow." Sounds nice, huh? Kneel over your babe so your breast is just hanging untouched by any support. And nurse. A lot. Not so comfy but I've found it to work better than the "point your baby's chin at the plugged area."

Good luck.

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