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help, advice needed. not sure if its engorgement/blocked duct or mastitis

(18 Posts)
laksa Tue 29-Jan-08 20:50:16

woke up this morning with what felt like engorgement in my right breast however it is only on the top half of the breast and I can't express much out of it and even though I have put my baby to feed on it 4 times today, she has failed to make the hardness go away. she has also been getting frustrated as she couldn't seem to get enough milk out (not sure if the reason is blocked duct or just that I had continuously fed on that side today so less milk left in it)

This afternoon I went to the doctor as was worried that I had a blocked duct and would develop mastitis but she said I was engorged and to put cabbage leaves on it hmm I have had savoy cabbage on my boob for 4 hours now and the baby has had another go at feeding with no luck, can anyone tell me if this is really engorgment or something more sinister. I feel achy in the breast but it hasn't got any worse and I have no temp. Its just that normally if my breasts are too full/engorged then expressing/getting baby to feed relieves it and the breast gets soft, this isn't happening and I'm confused!!

Sazisi Tue 29-Jan-08 20:55:20

I'm no expert, but have had mastitis (and it was grim ); what you describe sounds pretty much how mine strated, although I was like this fr a few days before mastitis developed. Watch out for a high temperature/sweats.
Try expressing in a warm bath and keep massaging the hard area?

verylittlecarrot Tue 29-Jan-08 21:02:26


Hang on I'll link you to a blocked ducts thread

Sounds like a blocked duct to me - ie not mastitis yet. Savoy cabbage will do nothing to help clear a blockage I'm afraid, but lots of good advice on the thread

wait a mo...

verylittlecarrot Tue 29-Jan-08 21:04:49


Check for tiny tiny white plugs in your nipple, if you find one and can squeeze it out you'll be amazed at how it can clear the hard area extremely quickly.

laksa Tue 29-Jan-08 21:14:12

have tried hot bath/hot flannels and hand expressing/pump but can't get anything out of it sad will look at the link. Oh god I don't want to get mastitis as had thrush at the beginning and antibiotics don't help that do they? Am going to try expressing again xx.

verylittlecarrot Tue 29-Jan-08 21:22:22


Under a bright light, gently squeeze nipple softly between finger and thumb and examine for tiny little white dots (smaller than a pin head) These plugged nipple pores are what can cause the back up of milk, and if you find one, you need to "ping" it out by squeezing it (don't use nails, obviously, just pressure from fingertps)

think of a champagne cork and a bottle of shaken up champagne just dying to pop...


laksa Wed 30-Jan-08 14:37:27

Oh my god, I spent all night expressing, getting baby to feed and having hot baths. I made another doctors appt this morning and demanded antibiotics just in case the worst happened. I spoke to the nct breast feeding counseller and a midwife/breastfeeding contact. They all told me things I already knew.

This morning I was in tears with pain. I sat in the bath and massaged like crazy and combed my breast with a plastic hairbrush (don't have a widetoothed comb). I then looked for white dots on my nipples (couldn't find any last night) I saw what looked like one and spent ages trying to get it out then used a pair of tweezers and managed it I then got my plastic hair brush and brushed down my breast and a torrent of milk spurted out grin

Thankyou so much VLC, you are wonderful!! Who knew that something less than the size of a grain of sand could cause such problems. I love mumsnet, nobody in RL gave me any advice worth tuppence.

I never realised how important breastfeeding has become to me till this happened. Thankyou again.


verylittlecarrot Wed 30-Jan-08 19:16:18


The relief is magical isn't it! grin

I get those pesky plugs at least once a week but am now pretty expert at pinging em out before the milk backs up so they are far less of an aggravation than they used to be.

Get that baby on thy breast to make sure it drains properly and doesn't recur.

I am of the (completely unscientific) belief that blocked nipple pores cause more blocked ducts than people realise, but they are so tiny and difficult to spot.

So glad you are doing better. Do be careful with those tweezers though (I'm more of a "nipple squeezer" myself) - I wince every time I give someone this advice for fear they are a little over-zealous and do themselves damage.

Very chuffed for you though - result!


laksa Wed 30-Jan-08 20:55:26

Am feeling very achy in that area as the duct had been blocked for about 24 hours and I did get a little overzealous with my hairbrush! I know what you mean about the tweezers but I just couldn't get the little sucker to budge with my fingers and figured that clean tweezers were a better bet than my finger nails. I also phoned the breastfeeding counsellor to tell her I had resolved the problem and she turned round and told me that she'd heard about the white dots on nipples thing...well why didn't she tell me then hmm

Anyway thanks for the advice, I hope it doesn't happen again too soon but at least I am armed now. I agree with your unscientific belief...don't you just love mumsnet, its like a community of wise women of the village passing on their knowledge smile


verylittlecarrot Wed 30-Jan-08 21:19:31

You are most welcome! I've benefitted from oodles of MN advice myself, so it's nice to be able to give back something.

Go easy on that sore boob, maybe a little gentle hand expressing in the shower and keep feeding on that side to get it back to it's former glory.

Lovely pics on your profile, BTW!

laksa Thu 31-Jan-08 09:56:54

thanks VLC, your little one is lovely too! I was so worried about being engorged that last night I set my alarm so that I fed at least every 3/4 hours which felt funny as I normally pray for a long stretch at night. and my daughter had just started to go 6 hours which was bliss...will go get expressing in the shower, my life has become so glamorous since having a baby hmm grin

glimmer Thu 31-Jan-08 22:08:30

How interesting! I had one of these blocked nipple ducts the other day, squeezed it out (by instinct) and the pain that I had had in that nipple went away. Nobody had ever heard of it or seen one! Didnt get any noticeable milk blockage though, just nipple soreness, as if somebody had bitten into it (DS has no teeth and doest chew!) Now, mine was quite "deep" and also bled a little. Wasnt sure if/how to disinfect it. In the end I used a little gin an d rinsed it with clear water before the next feed. Thought that was better than disinfectant. Do you have any advice on that?

verylittlecarrot Thu 31-Jan-08 22:16:08


<applauds glimmer's ingenuity>

No helpful advice, but lovin the gin-on-nipples touch! Can only recommend a follow up swipe with tonic and a slice...

did your lo approve?

Actually, sometimes I notice the sore-ish nip feeling and pop out a plug before the milk backs up. Sort of my early warning system.

laksa Fri 01-Feb-08 09:30:29

lol, glimmer, I won't tell social services if you don't!

Can I ask if either of you have ever had mastitis from a blocked duct further up. What I mean is, have you only ever had problems with nipple plugs which are relatively easy to solve if you know they are there?


verylittlecarrot Fri 01-Feb-08 15:23:48

I've never had full blown mastitis, but have had blocked ducts where I haven't discovered the plug. These are the real buggers that can get really sore and hard, and sometimes red skin above the block.

However, generally, using all the conventional wisdom, (combing boob, massage, heat etc,) combined with hand expressing, has usually forced the blockage along and I've cleared things wihin a day or so.

I would say that 90% of the time I find a plug, either immediately, or after a bit of massage and expressing.

Bizarrely, I now "know" my nipple pores quite well, and know where to look depending on which bit of my breast feels backed up!

I used to be normal too, Laksa. sigh.

jazzystar Fri 07-Mar-08 21:11:48

Thanks all,
After googling Blocked ducts this evening in a bit of a panic as my boob was a bit red and i was concerned it might be mastisis, i was relieved to find your comments that fitted the bill exactly. i have found my white pin head and am engaging in all remedies as we speak! phew...

this is my second babe i am breastfeeding, my daughter fed so frequently i don't think my ducts had a chance to Block! My son has a much more laid back approach to feeding. I am sad that none of my friends are breastfeeders so i am unable to seek there advice on this count, was glad to her your experiences as mothers ideas are so much more practical than the books, don't you think?

verylittlecarrot Sat 08-Mar-08 12:34:07

Any joy, jazzystar? Had a 'ping' yet?

MrsMaybury66 Tue 28-Feb-17 21:29:06

@verylittlecarrot I don't know if you are still active on this site anymore and I'm pretty sure we aren't even in the same country, but I quite literally came and created an account here just so that I could thank you.... I have been breastfeeding my third (& last) child for 3 months now and having such a hard time with what I thought was blocked ducts, praying that he would wake more through the night to nurse because I stay in so much pain.... I just read your post in desperation about the "nipple pings" and tried it and everything just started flowing like crazy!!!!!!!! I had to give up nursing with my first two children because of the pain, but after my "pings" I feel more relief than I can even describe.... Thank you so so very much!!!!

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