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My daughter's boobs are 'buggered', she says

(27 Posts)
Breadandwine Sat 30-Nov-13 22:55:59

My daughter is BFing a 13-week-old - and is extremely concerned that her baby is not getting enough milk because her breasts are covered in lumps and she feels that her ducts are blocked.

The baby is asleep, but she says this is because he is shattered by trying to feed.

She's been anxious about this for a while - but the bottom line is that, to the outside observer, the baby is thriving.

What can I or my wife tell her to reassure her? (We're not on the spot, unfortunately!)

tiktok Sat 30-Nov-13 23:20:20

Sounds difficult - blocked ducts are not shown by the breasts being 'covered in lumps' but by lumps (actually, usually only one, at a time) being palpable inside the breast. Ducts don't get blocked in the plural.

If the baby is gaining weight appropriately and developing well - and by 13 weeks you can get a really good handle on this and be pretty sure whether this is the case - then he's almost certainly getting sufficient milk.

It sounds to me that you are worried about your daughter's mental health here - am I right? Is she in touch with a health visitor? A good one will be capable of assessing the health of the baby, and also be able to see if the mother's emotional and mental state might need further investigation.

DeathByLaundry Sat 30-Nov-13 23:26:25

Just to echo tiktok, I had blocked ducts repeatedly and it was always a problem of one area on one breast at a time, and it was sore and hot. It never bothered my babies at all (apart from maybe they didn't appreciate me feeding them at all sorts of angles top try and clear the duct!).

If her baby is thriving but she still anxious then she does sound like she needs more support generally. I feel for her. Looking back, I was horribly anxious at that time. I think the above advice is very sound.

ilovesmurfs Sat 30-Nov-13 23:32:32

I got a lot of blocked ducts when bfeeding, I found it helpful to use a wide toothed comb to comb my breasts, firmly but gently from down under my armpit, over the lumps towards my nipple. I did this in the shower/bath or with a bit of moisturizer.

Or let gravity help and I laid baby onthre bed and knelt over baby on all fours whilst feeding!

Breadandwine Sat 30-Nov-13 23:40:14

Thanks to both of you. That's pretty reassuring.

She's just phoned a BF counsellor and received some advice - which is to keep trying to feed. She's been told to have a warm shower and massage her boobs - but basically to just keep keep on keeping on. smile

She says he hasn't done a poo for a couple of days and hasn't done much weeing. Together with not thinking he's getting much milk, that's added to the anxiety.

Not too worried about her mental health in general, but she does take things to heart, sometimes (and who can blame her? Not me and her mum!)

Thanks again, folks.

Breadandwine Sat 30-Nov-13 23:42:08

Thanks, ilovesmurfs I'll tell her that. smile

CrowmarshGibbon Sat 30-Nov-13 23:46:47

I recommend she gets herself to a bf support group too. anyways goods to see someone face to face and for them to check baby and boobs. Can you find a La Leche League or Baby Café in her area?

SteamWisher Sat 30-Nov-13 23:49:36

I'd be worried about the lack of wee. How much is baby going?

tiktok Sat 30-Nov-13 23:58:16

Always difficult to tell if a baby is weeing much - if she uses disposable nappies it's impossible.

One tip is to put some cotton wool inside the nappy or a muslin. Neither of these is particularly absorbent and any wee will be seen/felt by the nappy changer.

Lack of wee = dehydration, true enough, but there are always other symptoms long before it gets to that stage.

Lack of poo = normal in a bf baby beyond newborn.

I bet he is fine though of course if she has a blocked duct, it needs to be dealt with.

Breadandwine Sun 01-Dec-13 00:14:31

Thanks again, everyone!

It's all gone quiet, ATM. I'm inclined to agree with your last comment, tiktok. She's had panic moments before, but - the babe continues to thrive!

I'll keep you all up-dated with her/his progress!

Thanks! flowers

CuckooAtchooUhOh Sun 01-Dec-13 00:17:55

Hi B&W

I would try to separate the issues.

Are there problems with breasts.

Is baby getting enough milk.

Is your daughter's anxiousness an issue in itself.

If your lovely grandson is continuing to gain weight, and is not crying with hunger non stop, then he probably is getting enough. If he seems to want to feed more than usual he could just be having a growth spurt. They can leave you pretty numb at that stage! Within a couple of days though, your dd's milk will have increased for demand again.

Are her breasts actually causing any pain on the lumpy areas or is it more uncomfortable? I know with my dd I used to massage them while feeding her. Think putting hand on outskirts and smoothing downwards firmly towards nipple. Sometimes they can get a bit lumpy while waiting to be drained! Kneading out the lumps can help. Hot bath or shower and the same actions will also help.

If it was mastitis I think she would be in a lot of pain and they tend to look a bit inflamed?? Was fortunate enough to escape that myself, but maybe someone else can help.

If you feel that your dd is more anxious than usual then, apart from saying that it is completely normal for mums to feel like this sometimes, I would definitely recommend her talking all concerns though with her HV who will hopefully pick up if your dd is not quite right and it is more than just the 'norm'.

Bfing is very demanding, very draining work! However much we as mums might enjoy it. It is still utterly exhausting sometimes. I think this is not helped by the on demand principle of bfing and fact that we can't measure what our babies have had so we don't get the reassurance that they've had enough.
This is where we have to trust nature that if baby isn't screaming with hunger, and continuing to grow then we are doing/giving enough.

If he is having a growth spurt he might seem less satisfied for a while but he needs to keep sucking to send the signals to increase supply. He will have more than he knows what to do with soon enough, if this is what is happening!

Mine used get lumpy/bumpy/ripples/lopsided grin all sorts! Just have to keep massaging etc. I used to do it while dd feeding. Sometimes she couldn't keep up with the extra flow and would come up gasping for air, milk flying in all directions.

It really is hard to say without seeing first hand, but sounds like she may just be exhausted and worrying in a completely normal fashion. Some advice and reassurance from Dad (and Mum) bit of rest and I'm sure she'll be fine!

CuckooAtchooUhOh Sun 01-Dec-13 00:19:22

Sorry time delay! There were only 3 posts when I started typing! Sorry if I've missed anything - will go back and read!

CuckooAtchooUhOh Sun 01-Dec-13 00:32:41

...and grin grin grin at the thread title!! Just saw it.

The knuckle kneading motion was a particular favourite of mine B&W. Sure you might be able to help with explaining some techniques?!
When breasts are full & lumpy it is like trying to get your dough from the recently combined smooth, firm stage to the elastic, supple just before pizza assembly stage. If that helps to know what you're working with! wink

Think your dd has got an ace dad X

MrsFlorrick Sun 01-Dec-13 00:46:46

I'm not sure how long the crying and suspected lack of milk has gone on for? A few days?

Sorry B&W, this is a bit TMI blush

I had a massive dip in supply with both DC between 8 and 9 weeks after they were born. This turned out to be the return of my period! Yep. Back again so soon both times and despite exclusive BF!

And each month the three days pre period and one day after start, my supply would fall to very low and lots of crying.

I worked it out the first time my period came with DD and after that I would pump like a maniac during the week before my period and freeze milk so when the supply went just before, I would top up with expressed milk.

Same happened again after DS was born. This time I was lazy and just topped up with formula just before my period.

It's the estrogen surge which causes the dip in supply. You need higher levels of progesterone to stimulate the lactation hormone (forgotten name of it duh).

Oh and the reason I worked it out with DD, erm, my period came and I thought I was hemorraging (post partum bleeding gone mad or something) so I phoned GP who was a bit over bearing and said eh yes that's your period, remember those! And I said how is that possible as I am exclusive BF and she said BF doesn't stop it. She also told me that I would have a drop in supply for BF and to consider pumping and freezing milk to top up with (she could hear DD wailing in the background).

Could that be it?

Don't know about the lumpy boobs. Mine went through lots of phases both times I BF and it was quite odd but can't recall exactly what or when (too tired to wonder at the time).

Hogwash Sun 01-Dec-13 00:52:51

I agree, separate the issues here. Blocked ducts are one thing, anxiety is another and needs support and possible intervention. Is this her first baby?

It's so long since I had a new born, but if the baby wasn't getting enough milk, he'd be crying wouldn't he, not sleeping? (unless he was very seriously dehydrated, presumably).

Is this also an anxiety issue in you too?

Breadandwine Sun 01-Dec-13 01:14:11

In the morning I shall direct my daughter towards this thread, then she can take from it what she needs. I think you're right about separating out the two issues - it is her first baby, and quite naturally she's anxious. I well remember our anxiety 36 years ago! grin

You're also right about her needing to get some rest. We've said all along that when the babe sleeps, she should also get a nap - even if it's only a few minutes, but she can't seem to manage this - yet.

Is this also an anxiety issue in you too? Not in the slightest - I was just looking for reassurance where ever it could be found, and Mumsnet, to me, is the place to go.

Don't worry about tmi, MrsF, this is Mumsnet, after all!

Thanks again, everyone!

EarSlaps Sun 01-Dec-13 06:18:43

Oh your poor daughter. Breastfeeding is bloody hard work, but extremely rewarding. Is your grandson following his curve on the chart? If so, he's getting enough for him. My ds1 was on the 0.4th centile and I worried loads (especially as DH and I are both above average height, in fact DH is 6ft2 and built like a rugby player). However our wonderful health visitors were always so reassuring that he was fine, as he was just following his curve and someone has to be there! Age 4 now he's still really skinny and eats like a sparrow (unless it's cake or cheesy pasta) but he's very bright, active and rarely ill!

In terms of her boobs, could she be wearing a too tight bra at all? I had to wear very stretchy soft bras as my boobs changed in size so much between feeds. These were so comfy and gave a great shape too. Warm water and a bit of a massage in the shower helps move things along too.

Bf babies often don't poo for days- a friend of mine's dd used to go once every eight days! Disposable nappies hide the wee- not sure if you can still get them, but I think Huggies Newborn used to have a stripe that changed colour when they were wet, that was quite reassuring. If her DS was dehydrated there would be other signs too.

I think it's really hard around the 13 week mark as people always tell you supply should have settled down, but mine was all over the place with ds1. Plus you see other people's babies growing like weeds and wonder why yours isn't (Ds1 only went into 0-3m clothes at that age, whilst some of his friends were already growing out of 3-6m stuff!). Friends might have started moving their babies onto bottles and talking about how many ounces they drink too, and you just can't tell when bf.

As long as he is showing that he is healthy, then she's doing amazingly. Please tell her to listen to the wonderful tiktok on here, and point her in the direction of the Kellymom website. After reading that before ds2 I felt so much more confident, so breastfeeding him felt so much easier.

EarSlaps Sun 01-Dec-13 06:26:27

Oh, and I never really managed to nap either- they always seem to make me feel worse- but just a feet up rest helps too. And feeding lying down in bed at night really helps with rest, I made sure the bed was safe for co-sleeping and we both dozed off, only waking up to switch sides occasionally.

Celia1978 Sun 01-Dec-13 07:51:02

Just wanted to add that I also had very bumpy boobs, especially when they were full just before a feed. They were blockages or anything, just one of the mysteries of milk supply…

atomicYuleLoghurt Sun 01-Dec-13 08:09:17

Hi there OP it sounds like you're daughter is very anxious and it might be a good idea for her to have a chat with the health visitor about the anxiety. Babies don't tend to sleep for long periods from exhaustion at trying to feed. They cry and cry and cry then maybe sleep a bit then cry and cry. If he's not getting enough milk he will not be putting on weight.

My first baby was exclusively breastfed and only pooed once every 7 days. it was cheap in nappies but blimey Sundays are like a rising tide of Korma.

I suffered from post natal depression with all of mine and it took the form of anxiety and catastrophising about everything. This sounds quite similar to your daughter and perhaps it's worth talking to the GP or health visitor about? There's also a thing called the Edinburgh scale which is a handy questionnaire that you can do to gauge postnatal depression. You can Google it.

atomicYuleLoghurt Sun 01-Dec-13 08:11:54

Also just to add, 13 weeks is marvellous for breastfeeding. Has your daughter considered topping up with a bottle of formula once a day. Maybe this would give her a mental and physical break especially if her partner can do it? Maybe she just is looking for someone to tell her this is OK? I Bfd all of mine but one of them just didn't gain weight, so I topped up but still Bfd till a year as well.

CuckooAtchooUhOh Sun 01-Dec-13 09:19:29

Hello Bread&WineJuniorette (waving) thanks brew

I breast fed my dd for 17 mths. Apart from introducing solids from around 6 mths and taking water in sippy cup later on, she was exclusively breast fed only. Little madam! Even turned her nose up at expressed breast milk. Had to be straight from the cow supplier aka me!

But what I do remember and was discussing on phone with my (exhausted) sister the other day (who has a 6 mth old exclusively bf'd), that bf'd babies don't seem to fill out as quickly as bottle fed. Both hers and my dd for instance were/are more petite than other similar aged babies, but by 'eck are they solid!

Even now my dd (8) is on petite side height wise (but so am I), however, try to lift her and she is like a rock! Absolutely solid - but not fat in least!

From what I remember bottle milk is more fattening, so babies might appear to be growing faster who are on formula. Whereas breast milk is your leaner, meaner healthier version, so a bf'd baby won't necessarily fill out as quickly, but what he does have is genuine bone/muscle growth so it's actually much better on the inside than it might appear on the outside.

Sounds like you're doing a fab job! Think MrsF's advice is really interesting, and well worth looking into!

Really, really try to get your naps in when you can. Sleep deprivation turns us into shadows of our former selves, and any stress on mum can have an effect on milk production too. I used to consciously relax shoulders, deep breathe, think happy calming thoughts when starting a feed. It all helps 'let down' the milk.

And massive Well Done!!!!! thanks We all worry our heads off about everything when they're that size and every other size from what I'm discovering Make sure you're eating and drinking enough yourself! And then get some rest!!!

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 09:59:30

Hi B&W I had a couple of blocked ducts when breastfeeding and I massaged them out. Needs to happen otherwise there's a risk of infection (possibly mastitis - can't get remember).

DS wasn't getting enough milk (mine was thin) and cried a lot as a result. He also did not gain weight (failed to thrive - horrible phrase). If your dgs is staying at about the same percentile at each weigh-in and seems happy, the problem is your daughter's anxiety. She needs to ask for help with this. I didn't and had a nervous breakdown five years ago...

My milk dried when he was 4 months and he went onto bottles, slept brilliantly and cried A LOT less.

Breadandwine Sun 01-Dec-13 14:10:33

Hi folks

Just to report that things are a lot brighter this morning - my daughter is employing some of the ideas on here. He's done a poo and is weeing like a good 'un!

We've just been on Facetime with him and he is happy and contented and gurgling away. DD is very tired, but a lot more positive. Hubby says she has these moments every couple of days - we just have to ride the waves.

Thanks for all your interest and help. As soon as I get my laptop back I'll update the pics of Oscar on my blog - but here he was up to about five weeks ago.

He looks just as healthy

Cheers, B&W

Hogwash Sun 01-Dec-13 15:41:44

I hope you don't think I am being rude, but will your daughter mind you talking about her breasts on-line when you identify yourself in your photo? (was looking for a photo of the baby you refer to, but saw some rather nice baking instead!).

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