Tuesday, July 21, 2015

That time I almost had to pierce my own nipple

Despite having more free time, I am blogging less. Now that I am popping in, during a long nap, I decided to use this opportunity to share a horrifying story about my boobs.

Warning: This post contains graphic breastfeeding information. Not recommended for pregnant women planning to breastfeed or male members of my family.

Just when I started getting cocky, and thinking that my goal of breastfeeding for a year might actually be within reach (ten months on Thursday!), the universe decided to give me a quick little bitch slap to remind me who's in charge.

It's not me.

I've gotten a million clogged ducts throughout my time nursing, which are about as fun as they sound. The main issue with them is that they can lead to worse problems. So far I've been lucky and they haven't. I would rate them as minor irritations in the grand scheme of things.

Monday night, pain woke me up around 3:30am. I was insanely engorged all around the top of my left side. I tried to nurse, but that didn't work out. I tried to pump, but I was getting nothing on the left, not even drops. Every other time I've had a clog, I've at least been able to get something out, even if it's less than usual. I had Eric help by massaging, which really keeps the romance alive. Nada. I tried to milk myself until almost 5, including using a diaper for a hot compress. Sitting in bed pumping at 4am with a diaper on my boob has been a high point in my life. Then Dalton woke up again, so I tried to nurse again, and he was just pissed that he was ordering a meal and getting jack squat.

Finally everyone gave up on everything and passed out in the bed for an hour until it was time to get up.

The alarm went off, the lights went on, they didn't stir

When my alarm went off, I was naturally quite rested, refreshed, and eager to start a work day with one boob twice the size of the other and throbbing. As anyone in that position would, I took pictures to text to all my friends.

Imagine how bad it was six hours later.

I tried dangle nursing before work (where you pin the baby down and stick your boob in their mouth while on all fours). It was unsuccessful and angered my child. I tried pumping again at work, while wearing a warm compress, in a 95 degree room. NOTHING was getting any milk out at all. I was so upset I had coconut water instead of coffee, because everything on the google said stay hydrated.

I called my OB and a lactation consultant warm line. The LC was calm, clearly used to dealing with hysterical women, and was able to explain what was going on. I picture it like a hose that was turned on but the nozzle wasn't opened. The water is just building up more and more and it's backing up the whole system, and the only solution is to unblock the exit, which in my case, was something called a milk blister, or bleb.

She gave me some advice to open things up.

As soon as I got home, I got in the bathtub. It relieved the pressure and the epsom salts smelled nice, but ultimately, there was no improvement when I pumped after. I got back in, tried again, then called the lactation consultant back and left a sobbing message. I was really starting to panic because my boob was blowing up like those high top shoes from the 90s and I'd done everything every medical professional had told me with no success so I was fairly sure it would explode.

On my way to daycare, the LC returned my second message. She said to continue with all the crap that wasn't working, but if all else failed, I could lance the nipple with a needle.

At that point I was so desperate that it didn't seem completely out of the question. However, I was fairly certain I was in no way qualified to do such a horrifying thing. I called my OB again and left a message. I tried soaking again and nursing, but Dalton wanted no part of that empty buffet.

It seemed my only option was to go to urgent care and ask them to lance my nipple.

I wasn't too happy about this, especially since there's none within walking distance so I couldn't first take ten shots of tequila like I wanted to. But I really needed that milk OUT and my boob was just making more and more. I called my friend and asked her to come over and stay with Dalton (Eric was at work) while I did this awful thing.

The things we do for love.
Thank goodness my friend Kristin is a google fiend. Before she came over, she found a site that says warm coconut oil can help pop milk blisters. I use coconut oil for everything, and at this point was willing to try ANYTHING to avoid this whole lancing thing. I slathered some on, and then decided pointy tweezers were a desirable alternative to a needle, so I went at it. I GOT THE BLISTER OFF!!! And that's the last time I want anything pointy near my nipple. But I was able to pump after that, remove the milk, and return it to a human size, THANK GOD.

Then I felt like this.

What's the craziest thing you've done for love (and/or to save $$ on formula)?


  1. Oh my GOD that is the worst. THE WORST. I'm sooo glad you didn't have to get it lanced. I used to get plugged ducts all the time but never anything I couldn't relieve with feeds /pumping. I haven't had one in a while though, thank baby jesus.

    Oh that picture of your boob is awesome. Mine are actually different sizes all the time now because one seems to have closed up shop and the others doing double time. Yeah, no clue.

  2. I feel like I lived this with you today but I still wasn't ready to read this.


  4. OhMyGod. I feel like all of my breastfeeding horrors combined are nothing compared to this. But hot damn, being a mom is so glamorous.

  5. I literally can feel your pain. Do you take lecithin?

  6. Holy hell. That sounds awful! I didn't even realize that was a thing!

  7. Christ! Makes the Hunger Games sound like nothing!

  8. I can't believe I read that. I am now scarred for life.
    So glad you got some relief without the lancing!

  9. Oh! That's awful! I can't believe you went to school with lopsided boobs and no kids picked up on it. That's exactly the kind of thing they notice and feel the need to ask about or point out. Your friend on the text is hilarious. Glad you managed to solve the problem. Yeesh!

  10. Oh my gosh I can't even imagine. You deserve a medal for that shit. Seriously! I am so sorry you went through that.

  11. What a bad day! Lucky for my warm compresses and pumping seemed to always help. YAY for coconut oil!

  12. I read the warning but kept reading anyway, as a pregnant mother with every intent of nursing for up to a year. Is there any way to prevent these from happening!?!?! this does not sound like fun AT ALL

  13. I'm never cleaner than when I have a clogged duct. So much showering.


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