Now that it’s been a full 24 hours, I think it’s safe to talk about my yesterday.
You see, I breastfeed. (Not new information, bee tee dub.) And sometimes, breastfeeding has a Dark Side. Yesterday, I used the Force (gravity) to conquer the Dark Side of breastfeeding.
That Dark Side? A Plugged Duct.
Yesterday, I jumped in the shower and noticed that my left boob was really sore. Like, do not touch it and do not let the water touch it sore. And then I noticed that it wasn’t shaped right. One quarter of my boob was sort of hard and lumpy. The underboob, if you must know. My mind immediately ran through the list of all the things I know can happen to boobs serving terms as milk bags and settled on a plugged duct.
I knew I had to get the milk out to fix the problem but no milk would come out. I tried hand expressing there in the shower, but my boob was locked up like Fort Knox and refused to relinquish control of its supply of liquid gold.
I needed Emma to nurse, but Lefty’s not her favorite. Nevertheless, I tried. Repeatedly.
If you’re unfamiliar with breastfeeding, allow me to (not exactly) explain how this works.
Basically, put baby to boob. Baby sucks on boob. Milk from the duct work inside the boob comes out. Except for when it doesn’t.
Have you ever sucked a piece of strawberry from a strawberry slush or milkshake into a straw and you temporarily think you have a greater chance of your head turning inside out and brains spilling down through your mouth than you do of getting that strawberry up the straw?
That’s what I’d imagine a plugged duct does to a boob for a breastfed baby. Or at least that’s what I think happened to mine based on Emma’s protests.
She would not nurse and I started to panic. Every time I came near her with the boob, she pulled her head away and looked at me with that “You want me to do WHAT?” look. And I’m thinking “JUST DO IT! I’ll buy you a pony!”
I kept thinking about mastitis and how I cannot get sick! I CANNOT get sick. No. Not with two kids to take care of and no help during the day. I cannot get sick. And mastitis is what happens when plugged ducts aren’t cleared. I do not need that. I do not have time for that.
I tried pumping. It made me want to cry. My boobs hate that thing like…well, every simile I can think of is offensive to someone. Suffice it to say that me and the Medela? Not BFFs.
So then, I assumed the position–cow position, that is–and hung my udders right in her face so that she and gravity could do their thing.
Except she just rolled away from me like we were playing some epic game of Steamroller Tag. I’d lay her on the bed and get on my hands and knees over her and she’d roll between my arm and leg, bobbing and weaving and laughing like this was some sort of game. I’d crawl to wherever she’d gone, boob just a’flapping, and try again to get her latched. She’d just roll the other direction.
NOT HELPING, SMALL CHILD.
Finally, FINALLY, after she was good and sleepy, she decided Lefty would work for her nightcap. It was the most excruciating nursing session to date through two kids. It felt like her mouth was lined with tiny razors because of all the times I’d tried to get her to latch before that. I held the plastic edge of her pacifier in my mouth and bit down knowing that if I could birth her without meds, I could get through this. But this hurt worse than her flying out of my vagina at lightning speed.
After putting her to bed last night, for the first time all day, my boob didn’t hurt. It was a Tuesday miracle
I wanted to shout “this duct is cle-ah” but I was afraid no one would get the reference (someone please say you get the reference) so I just poured myself a glass of sauv blanc instead.
Here’s to that never happening again.