Warning: Not for male readers (if you even exist) unless you want to know how much women suffer when we breastfeed.
I woke up one night last week with that all too familiar soreness and ache in my left boob and knew immediately that my ducts were somehow blocked again. I quickly tried to massage the area and kept getting Noah to nurse from the same boob, but things didn’t improve. It was weird because it was the lower part of my boob that was causing pain, and usually, that’s the part that gets emptied the fastest. I suspect it was caused by the bra I was wearing some time before the blockage occurred, as it wasn’t one of my usual ones and was probably a tad too tight. I really regret buying so many nursing bras beforehand because all but two of them can’t be worn now, and I’ve had to buy new ones after I gave birth. I thought I was being well-prepared but I guess not!
Anyway, the blockage couldn’t have come at a worse time (yes, I am fully aware that there’s no good time at all for these things to happen) as I was already down with a bad sore throat and cough. I had lost my voice and my cough was so bad that poor Noah kept getting badly jolted during his feeds. And when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, both my nipples started getting really sore and I dreaded having to nurse my baby boy. It’s during moments like these that I always wonder if I can bring myself to continue breastfeeding, and I get hit by huge waves of guilt for even thinking about stopping because I’m too weak to take the pain. Things got so bad that I started taking Panadol before I had to nurse him, just so that it wouldn’t hurt as much. 🙁
When Noah spat up pink milk during one of the 4am diaper changes after his feed, I freaked out and woke C up. We didn’t know what to do, but because Noah was smiling happily at us, we figured that he should be fine and went back to sleep. I nursed him from the same boob for the next feed too, just to see if the blood was coming from me instead, and true enough, when he spat up after that feed, the milk was tinged with a few patches of blood. I called the PD’s clinic just to be safe and C decided to work from home too, just in case he had to drive us to the clinic. I must say that I really like our PD quite a bit, because she called me back after a while to find out what exactly happened, and told me that the blood was probably from my nipple rather than from Noah. She also told me what to look out for, in the unlikely event that Noah was the one bleeding, and was generally very reassuring. At least she didn’t ask us to bring him down and charge us for a physical consult! A few hours later, I noticed blood stains on my breast pads and after another painful feed, I saw blood coming out from my right nipple. So yes, I had blocked ducts on my left boob, and a bleeding nipple on my right. Woohoo.
On Friday, when the blockage didn’t seem to be clearing despite the many painful massages that C had given me, I decided to seek help from a massage therapist whom my friend, Motherkao, had recommended. Thank God she was working that day, even though it was a public holiday! She managed to clear the blocked ducts for me and things are now back to normal again. Breastfeeding really isn’t as easy as some people have made it out to be. I really pray that I won’t have any more problems breastfeeding…