When Little E was approaching her 11th month, I started researching proper weaning strategies, and stressing about her nurse to sleep habit. I had recently decided to become a surrogate months before, something that I’d thought about since high school. But living my dreams meant ending our breastfeeding journey. We agreed that the agency would wait until I gave them the green light – that was, when I was done breastfeeding – before moving on in the process.
At last, we had weaned. And I was pretty darn excited about how well it went. No more pumping before bed. I started to feel my independence a little more. After one week, Little E stopped asking to nurse. But I was faced with a new problem.
I had a blocked duct.
I was very aware my breasts were taking on their old form, slowly transitioning back to normal. Prone to blocked ducts, I occasionally squeezed and felt around to see how things were going. At first it seemed great. Then, ten days later, my worst fear was realized. And that’s not even the worst part! I had something I had never experienced before weaning – a milk bleb (I urge you not to Google this).
I initially felt it in the shower. Aware that my boob was a little sore hugging my husband that morning, I massaged my breast and found the familiar, hard lump on the underside of my boob. What I did not expect, was the painful, solid bar that sat horizontally under my nipple. For those of you that have never heard of it, a milk bleb is a clogged milk pore. Unable to hand express, I turned to the internet to see how to unclog my now infection-prone boob.
There was surprisingly little to read about “hard bar under nipple” except for some horror stories on What to Expect. I ended up resolving to pump it out. The problem? I left the pump in my baby’s closet…and she was napping.
I started to squeeze, first at the base of the breast. Hand expressing is not my forte, but I was getting some drops out. After it seemed my breast was flattening out, I moved my attention to the bleb. I pinched my nipple, where a steady flow of milk erupted. I went back and forth from my sore nipple to my sore duct, until I felt I could accomplish no more. To my surprise, I managed to express a good ounce of milk! Not bad for a dried up mom-boob. Yikes! That didn’t sound right!
Anyway, if you are a newly-weaned mom, and you’ve found yourself on this blog for some advice, I hope I can bestow this one little nugget on to you. Blocked ducts are some serious business. Infection, pain, and further complications aren’t worth enduring. When you have a blocked duct after weaning, the LAST thing you should be worried about is your milk supply. I promise your boob will not explode back into producing mode. It’s all about supply and demand, and expressing a couple of ounces to clear up a blocked duct won’t kill your weaning dreams. Take care of your “situation” first, and I promise your boobs will thank you.
Need more advice on blocked ducts? Read my tricks and tips. And don’t forget to leave a comment below! I’d love to hear about your weaning experience.
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