Help ease the boob pain
July 18, 2009 4:47 AM   Subscribe

I woke up in the night with terrible pain in my breast, and it was full and firm, so I nursed on that side, (twice now during the night), with no relief. The pain seems to be more on one side.

Nursing was painful, but I though it could be a clogged duct, so I grinned and bore it, but it hasn't helped. What do I do? It REALLY hurts!
posted by hollyanderbody to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some friends swear by cabbage leaves. They're not alone.
posted by b33j at 4:55 AM on July 18, 2009

Hot compresses can help; can't remember if painkillers like ibuprofen or okay during lactation (it's been a while)? Call your doctor; I had extremely painful lactation early in my daughter's life, didn't treat it and ended up in the hospital with a uterine infection; they put me on a medical ward where I contracted measles.

Over the top, yes, but don't mess around with breast infections.
posted by nax at 5:06 AM on July 18, 2009

Sounds like it could be mastitis. If it is plugged-duct like but nursing isn't helping, that would be the next likely candidate. it doesn't always need antibiotics, but because it can you might conider your weekend healthcare options. If Sunday healthcare is going to be harder than Saturday, maybe consider seeing someone today.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:14 AM on July 18, 2009

Until you get to a doctor try a hot, hot, hot shower massaging the painful area towards the nipple. And keep up the nursing. Monitor yourself for signs of a fever too.
posted by saucysault at 5:43 AM on July 18, 2009

Call your doctor. You'll get a call back from whoever is on call. They can give you advice by phone. You'll likely need to see a health care professional.
posted by theora55 at 6:10 AM on July 18, 2009

very warm chamomile tea bags will help with inflammation but I would make an appointment right away it sounds like a clogged duct and those can get infected and very painful. Good luck...I remember those days. Glad to hear you are nursing!!!
posted by gypseefire at 6:13 AM on July 18, 2009

make sure the baby's nose is pointed in the direction of the sore spot. That's where maximum suction occurs and the blockage may be relieved. But if that doesn't work and soon you need to get help. Mastitis is a bitch.
posted by Wilder at 6:39 AM on July 18, 2009

Hi mama! Lots of good advice above--massage, nursing, warm water and compresses. I am a lactation consultant, but I'm not yours, but I will urge you to call your doctor right away. You have described the classic symptoms of mastitis, and it's not something you want to watch and wait on, it is an urgent condition. Antibiotics are compatible with nursing and if you have mastitis, will provide a lot of relief. If it's not, you still need to be assessed to help you with your nursing relationship with the baby (to see if certain positions or a better latch will help), and/or to get advice about pain and discomfort relief--which you deserve and have a right to. Nursing an infant is difficult work, and sometimes it takes support and help to make it comfortable and to ensure you continue nursing.

You can nurse with mastitis, and it actually will start to help a lot--you can even nurse with an abscess or clogged duct, and it often helps. You're doing a great job, so call your doctor and if you have a lactation consultant, call her (it will likely help to work with both--your doc to get anything medical under control, and the LC to help with position and comfort while you get through this). Don't plan anything for now, plan on resting and taking care of yourself.

I'll be thinking of you! Memail me if you have any more questions! Take good care.
posted by rumposinc at 7:00 AM on July 18, 2009

A little postscript--

there are a lot of different presentations of mastitis--some never get swelling or redness, some never get fever--the rule of thumb is that if you wait until you have all the "classic" symptoms (in some effort to self-diagnose or not to bother your doc or LC) you'll end up in bed for a week or in the hospital. I hate making such dramatic statements, but I just want to make sure a new mom takes care of herself--sometimes she's the last one to get the help she needs :)
posted by rumposinc at 7:04 AM on July 18, 2009

This helped me, but I may have only had a clogged duct (intense pain and fever were my symptoms): 1) taking a VERY hot shower and letting the shower head pound on my breast on that side while I massaged toward the nipple. 2) Nursing the baby with her chin toward the hurting point as much as possible.

Preventive anecdotes from women in my neighborhood lean toward massaging the breast a bit as the baby nurses, from armpit to nipple.

Hope this clears up for you soon!
posted by mdiskin at 8:12 AM on July 18, 2009

Having been to the ER with mastitis years ago--don't hesitate to call someone! They were concerned I may have become Septic. Mine happened quick. Luckily I hadn't become septic quite yet, and they sent me home on antibiotics. Call your physician immediately!
posted by 6:1 at 8:40 AM on July 18, 2009

Response by poster: OP here,

So I took an ibuprofen, warm compresses, pumped, nursed, and boob feels much better, though still slightly tender. (not sure if its due to the pain med or the other treatments). I feel fine you think I should still call a Dr?

Thanks again. I really appreciate you help
posted by hollyanderbody at 9:12 AM on July 18, 2009

Still call your OB. They are used to getting calls on Saturday; it's really not a problem. Mine assessed my symptoms over the phone and prescribed an antibiotic (though I had a fever of 104, so it was a little more urgent). About 3 hours after taking the antibiotic, I was totally fine.

How old is your baby? If under 4 months or so, do you know really really well (like your sister or something) a mother with an older baby? They're much more efficient nursers. Sometimes you just can't get a newborn to clear a breast.
posted by palliser at 9:37 AM on July 18, 2009

Response by poster: OP here:

Baby is 4 1/2 months

posted by hollyanderbody at 9:42 AM on July 18, 2009

cabbage leaves will reduce/suppress your milk production. don't do that.
posted by elle.jeezy at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2009

You should probably still call your doctor, mastitis can be dangerous.
posted by kathrineg at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2009

My wife's lactation consultant told us that if the baby can't help clear the plugged duct to have me give it a try. Works every time and has saved my wife some painful nights.

This sounds more like a plugged duct than mastitis (though I am not your doctor or lactation consultant)

Have you had a plugged duct before? My wife got a ton of these. Warm shower, socks with white rice microwaved to heat them up as compresses, massage and having some help sucking them out were the things that helped her.

Good luck.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2009

Yes, call the doctor. If nothing else, the office needs to know that they might have mastitis on their hands. That way, if you do end up getting worse, they can jump into action.

I had mastitis once and it went full-blown very quickly. Ridiculously quickly. When it's bad it's really, really bad. I don't want to scare you, I just want to help you avoid it if it's at all possible.
posted by cooker girl at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2009

Hot compresses can help; can't remember if painkillers like ibuprofen or okay during lactation (it's been a while)?

For what it's worth, a while ago, I couldn't remember either, until my midwife mentioned that ibuprofen is what they give to you in fairly substantial doses right after you've given birth (at least they did for me)

posted by leahwrenn at 12:52 PM on July 18, 2009

My wife is on 600mg ibuprofen every 6 hours and is nursing our 10 day old son Next to me as I type.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 1:41 PM on July 18, 2009

Call the doctor or nurse anyway. You could be looking at thrush as well. My own symptoms looked like mastitis, got better and then came the intense fever. Save yourself the pain of either the mastitis or thrush by getting some medical care with your doctor or a trained nurse.
posted by jadepearl at 1:46 PM on July 18, 2009

Good idea from bottlebrushtree about having your partner clear the breast if the baby isn't doing it. I didn't think of that; I had my sister's 13-month-old to perform that service at the time!

Update when you're feeling up to it, if you can!
posted by palliser at 7:12 AM on July 19, 2009

Response by poster: OP here:

I warm compressed, massaged, pumped, and nursed, and by the afternoon was feeling much better. Neverheless, I reported it to the on-call Dr. Dr. asked if there was redness or fever (no), so agreed it was probably and clogged duct, and to continue what I was doing. by the end of the day, the situation was almost completely resolved. Absolutely no pain by next morning

Thanks MeFites! It is so nice not to be alone!
posted by hollyanderbody at 12:43 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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