Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weekly Tutorial: How to deal with a clogged milk duct. Also known as how to have the biggest meltdown ever.

Any male readers, navigate away.  You won't even want to read what I am about to disclose.  The sheer horrors are unimaginable.

I nursed Little Man for exactly 8 weeks. 

I have mentioned before that I was not the biggest fan.

It may have had something to do with the fact that despite what the professionals tell you, the initial "zing" of pain that happens when Little Man latched did not go away.

It also may have had something to do with the fact that I had to do the middle of the night thing all by myself. 

But my guess it that it had everything to do with my clogged duct.

It happened around 5 weeks. 

It was a dark and stormy night...ok, so actually, it was a bright winter day after just having sat through a blizzard at my mom's house. 

We were on our way home from visiting my parents.

On my last day of the visit, I had noticed a firm little knot on one side. 

It felt a little like this was sitting on my chest: 

I did a little research, figured out what it was.
My initial response was something like this

But I did everything they said:

*hot compresses
*nurse on that side first

But the next morning as we were packing up to make the 6 hour drive back to the lovely land of Delaware, I could barely pick up the baby for the pain in my left upper quadrant.

And for the next 6 hours, I pumped, I massaged, and heated said pain.

Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you have driven past every trucker on the east coast while using a battery operated breast pump.  And I won't even get into the necessary massaging/heating that has to happen.... 

All while riding in the front seat next to your husband trying to cover yourself with a Gap sweatshirt that, despite the fact that it is a men's extra large, isn't big enough to cover your inflamed and engorged breast. 

After what felt like a small eternity we arrived home with a sleeping baby and a very exhausted mommy. 

Just in time for the baby to wake and to have to nurse again.

Oh, the  pain.

I was up all night long.  Not because of the baby, because of the pain.

I kept a compress on it, then I would pump and massage it (read: squeeze the fire out of it, while sitting in my rocking chair, crying like a baby girl)
I was battling a bad case of tired, angry, frustration....

Occasionally, Techy would roll over and say something like, "Still?"

Ahh, ever helpful Techy. 

Honey, have I mentioned how much I love you?

But really, you shouldn't respond to my pain like that unless you want to see me like this:

Eventually he said, "I don't care how much money it saves us, you are not nursing next time!"

While, I sat, and heated, and cried, and pumped, and massaged, and heated, and cried (read: think obscenities as loudly as possible) and pumped, and massaged.

Eventually, the pain subsided enough for me to fall asleep with the compress over my chest.

And eventually, after several more days of the same old ridiculousness, the nice little lump left me alone.

3 weeks later, I stopped nursing, and pumped bottles for the little guy.

2 months later, my milk dried up.

And I danced a jig of sheer, ecstatic joy.

So yeah, that's how I you deal with a clogged mammary gland.

The truth of the matter is that nothing but a whole lot of heat, a whole lot of massaging, and a whole lot of tears are going to help you get rid of the bugger.

You can thank me later...

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