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My absence last week was due to having a clogged milk duct. A clogged milk duct generally only affects one breast at a time. Essentially what has happened is that at least one duct hasn’t drained properly and therefore it is clogged. This clogging can occur for several reasons, most commonly: sleeping on one’s belly, restrictive clothing, interrupted feedings, and incompletely emptying a breast, amongst others. Some research I found notes that women who have oversupply issues are more likely to encounter a clogged milk duct at some point in their breastfeeding adventures. If a clogged milk duct is not treated quickly and effectively, it likely will lead to mastitis, which is very serious. In other words, you Do. Not. Want. Mastitis!!
Here are a few resources which discuss clogged milk ducts and mastitis:
Here’s how I resolved my clogged milk duct:
After one and a half productive days last week, in which I’d skipped meals, not had enough fluid intake, and Baby had multiple interrupted feedings; I found my body giving warning signs of something. My right boob was tender and sore a bit and by bed I had begun to feel a barely there dull ache. In the morning, I had a very slight fever. My boob was still sore feeling and during the night it had been downright painful to feed Baby. Fearing the worst, mastitis, though figuring it to likely be a clogged duct, I decided that monitoring the very slight fever, taking a hot shower, massaging the boob where it hurt the most, drinking plenty of fluids, and essentially doing nothing else but feeding Baby was the route to go. By bedtime the following night I was sore all over! There was absolutely no denying that I had a slight fever and practically in pain as a result.
In my usual tenacity, I decided that so long as the fever doesn’t get much worse, Baby continues to feed well, and the boob didn’t feel worse I’d just keep going. The next morning I was noticeably hot to the touch, almost shivering, and still painfully sore. My fever had by then gone to 100.4. This was getting close to my limit when it comes to fevers. Hot shower and more rest/sleep it was. I continued massaging the area that was sore and tough. I also used a couple of warmed comfrey pads to aid the clogged duct in unclogging. All was well by that night, as the fever had all but disappeared and the boob wasn’t much sore anymore, despite a tad residual soreness in the body. Luckily, the milk duct was unclogged within 2 days and I recovered fully. No mastitis for me!!!!