WARNING: For female audiences only, because, to borrow the UOB Ladies’ card tagline, the men don’t get it.
During one of the wee morning feeds on Friday, I noticed that my right boob was hurting very badly, as though I had been punched and had a really bad bruise on it. Thinking, rather foolishly, that I had slept on my side for too long and somehow squished my boob, I didn’t do anything about the pain, apart from whining to C about it and popping two Panadols. By evening, I had developed a fever and was feeling really lousy. I didn’t think I had blocked ducts initially, as my breast didn’t feel rock hard. Some parts were slightly hard, but I thought it was the norm. I started to panic and tried calling the TMC breastfeeding hotline, but they had closed for the day. A quick chat with the 24-hour clinic nurse wasn’t much help and I was at a loss as Noah was also crying nonstop and refusing to sleep. Thank God that my parents happened to come over for dinner that night and my mum helped to pacify Noah. My mum even stayed the night just in case I needed help! Anyway, I remembered that my second godsis’ MIL is a lactation consultant and in my desperation, I asked my godsis to contact her for advice.
I thank God that her MIL is such a nice lady, who spoke to me for a very long time over the phone. She asked me various questions to identify my problem and once she deduced that I had blocked ducts, she taught me how to massage my boob to try and clear them, and also told me to pump out whatever excess milk I had after nursing. I haven’t pumped my milk out in quite some time as I prefer latching him on directly and I’m also way too lazy to go through the whole process of washing and sterilising everything. It’s very time-consuming and I would much rather be sleeping, thank you very much. Auntie told me that I had to try my best to clear my ducts by myself as the fever was an indicator that I had an infection. She also said to take Panadol for the fever and pain, and that, together with the massaging and pumping, should help.
My fever broke quite quickly, to my relief, and the swelling subsided as well, although not completely. However, more complications arose. I developed a huge blister on my nipple and a white bleb had also formed. Auntie was extremely kind and actually came to my house on Saturday evening to help me out, after numerous phone calls on Friday night and Saturday morning. She massaged most of the lumps away, used a sterile needle to burst the blister, and helped me to manually express some milk out to clear my ducts. She also noticed that there was quite a bit of bruising at the bottom of my nipple and told me that I had to use the football hold to nurse Noah, as my skin looked like it was going to split open. So many issues! Sigh.
I’ve been pumping after most of the feeds since then and boy, is it a hassle. I’m also puzzled because auntie says I have too much milk, to the extent that it sprayed out when she was massaging my boob, yet when I pump, I produce less than what I used to during my first month. Noah usually is content with just one boob per feed, so I have to clear the unused boob now as well. I’m a little concerned about the lower quantity and now, I’m wondering if that’s the reason why Noah wants milk so frequently. He seems to be gaining weight quite steadily but we will only know for sure if all is well when we visit his PD for his shots.
As for the football hold, I’m still trying to get it right. I’m using the My Brest Friend pillow to help me, instead of the two pillows that auntie suggested, as it provides better support for Noah. Our pillows are way too soft! The problem now is that the bottom of my nipple still hurts, the same way it does when I nurse him using the cradle hold, so I’m not sure if I’m doing the football hold correctly. My left nipple has also begun to hurt, which is strange because I don’t usually have problems with the left boob. Sigh. I also can’t manage to clear all the lumps still and they just keep forming! 😦
I pray that my blocked ducts will be unclogged and that I won’t have to keep pumping all the way till I wean Noah off breastmilk. I also pray that my nipples will heal and that I will not be in any more pain or discomfort. Please, God, hear my prayers and don’t let there be any more complications!