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Why You Should Not Get A Massage Lady To Clear Your Blocked Ducts

I realised I had blocked ducts on Friday morning when I woke up, even though I latched a few times in the night. They were painful. by 9am I was in so much pain, I took panadol to soothe it. Fever kicked in too. I called all the recommended Massage Ladies from my mummies groups and managed to get a particular Mdm Y*** to come down to help me. She was a very nice lady. And I think she did manage to clear some.

My breasts were still really painful the next day. Mdm Y*** even messaged to see if I was better. Very good service follow-up! 🙂 I then started taking the anti-inflammatory pills from the GP. And continued with my panadol. By Monday (just 2 days of taking the pills) most of the pain was gone and I had no more fever. But I could still feel lumps.

On Tuesday, a particular Mdm I** came to clear for me. She stayed for less than 1 hour and I think my lumps were maybe slightly better, but they were still there.

I was at my wits end. I want to continue breastfeeding. The blocked ducts were irritating me. I was in pain. Should I call another massage lady in? After speaking to some mummies, I decided to call an LC the very next day for help. I had no idea why getting an LC was not one of my options earlier.

I asked for an appointment with a Lactation Consultant at Mount Alvernia Parentcraft Centre, and got a slot with Sister Kang at 11am. I was hopeful. 🙂

Sister Kang is a very nice lady and she is very skillful too! She saw me for about 45 minutes. And through this 45 minutes, not only did she help me clear my ducts, I also managed to learn a lot from her about blocked ducts. And I hope to share all these with you, because in future if I get a blocked duct, I will go straight to an LC and not an ML, and I hope you do too!

  1. Most massage ladies do not know how to clear the blocked ducts properly. They end up making it worse for some, and injure the breast tissue for some. Note that I have only ever called recommended massage ladies who are good at the breast to massage for me. Previously some have helped me clear before. But maybe those were easy to clear cases. This time, the 2 recommended ones have not been able to clear.
  2. Sometimes lumps you feel might be dilated ducts or breast tissue. For eg. sometimes the breast is hard, but disappears when you pump, and it comes back again. Those are not blocked ducts. those are dilated ducts. Or, after you pump and sometimes you can feed tendon like things. those are not blocked ducts either. They are breast tissue! So yes, I had both of these and they were “diagnosed” by both the LCs that saw me that they were blocked ducts!!!
  3. From the day you realise you have Mastitis, even if you do go and see a doctor to take antibiotics, it can escalate into abscess within 2 days if not cleared properly. You will need to get it massaged and cleared as soon as possible. Best is to see an LC to clear once you feel the first onslaught of pain.
  4. The milk from blocked ducts can be quite salty, so some babies might not like it. And when they don’t like it, they refuse to latch. And the blocked duct gets worse. And maybe you think, why is my baby on a milk strike? This information is new to me. I had not known that breastmilk can be salty!
  5. On Friday when I found out I was engorged, I pumped out some milk at 9am (Shown in the pic below) When left to settle in the fridge, there was a very obvious brownish or dark yellowish paste in the milk too. I was horrified. Was that pus? Did I have abscess?? I found out, the yellowish/brownish milk is just thick milk. They are not pus as pus is in the breast tissue and not in the milk ducts.

Moral of the story, is to recognise the pain and get an LC to attend to it as soon as possible. The only time it cannot be massaged is when there is abscess but then they can refer you to the breast specialist immediately. The LC will be able to access and differentiate which area is blocked, which is a dilated duct, which breast tissue. They will be able to access to see if it is a serious case where you have abscess already and need to be referred to the breast specialist to remove the pus from your breast tissue.

Damage done: $110.(It is $90 for those who gave birth at Mt A) or $160 for a house visit. I had spent more to give to the massage ladies and endured the pain which did not clear my breasts and added more distress to me. I think it is very worth it. And I gained valuable experience and knowledge too. In future if I do get blocked duct, or if any of my friends get a blocked duct, no more recommending massage ladies. I will only recommend lactation consultants from now on.

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[Sponsored Review] Pigeon Steam Sterilizer 

This post is written in collaboration with Pigeon.

Previously, I did not believe in steam sterilizers. When my first child was born, I wanted to save that $100 and use the traditional boiling method to sterilize the milk bottles. I cannot tell you the number of times I got burnt by the hot water splashing on me, by accidentally touching the sides of the pot, and melting the bottle tears because they came into contact with the pot. I succumbed and got a steam sterilizer.

Pigeon sterilisers are aesthetically pretty. The are sleek and round. They are practical to use too as it is large.

Here you can see that there are 2 layers in the sterilizer. The height of the top layer is adjustable according to your needs. For example if you are using small (short) bottles, you can adjust the height of the top layer to be lower, and on the top, you will then have more space for the bottle teats, covers, and you can even put in your pump parts to sterilize.

I “test packed” with the pigeon wide necked bottles. You can see that when I have put the 5 bottles in, there is still a lot of space available. The bottles are stuck in to the plastic fixtures at the bottom of the bottom layer of the sterilizer. I tried nuk premuim choice bottles with it and it fits as well!

If you have bottles that are taller than the pigeon bottles, no fret because there is a lot of space available on the top layer even after you have placed your bottles inside. You can also choose to remove the top layer completely if you want to.  I have tried using the sterilizer without fixing my bottles into the fixtures at the bottom of the sterilizer. In that way, I can actually put in 5 large bottles, 2 small bottles and all my pump parts for 1 sterilization cycle.

What I like about the pigeon sterilizer is that it requires very little water to sterilize. The box said rapid steaming in 6 minutes and it is really that fast! Yes, I actually went to time it. What’s good about this that no doubt you will have to descale it. All warmers and sterilizers are the same. But for the Pigeon one, the surface area to descale is very small. That is a BIG plus point!

Another good point of the sterilizer is the dome shape of the cover. I didn’t know that this would be a plus point until I used it. So, guess why it is in the shape of a dome? After sterilizing and when I wanted to remove the bottles to use them, usually we will remove the cover and all the waterdroplets will drip down. However, it being in a dome shape, there was no such problem! I simply placed the dome down on the table top while I removed the bottle I wanted and then covered the sterilizer back again and the water droplets remained in the cover!

The Pigeon Sterilizer also comes in a compact version that is large enough for 2 bottles and I love to bring it with me when we go travelling or using it for the pump parts in the office. These are all sold in major shopping centres and departmental stores in Singapore.

For more information on the sterilizers and other Pigeon products, you can check out the Pigeon Singapore website HERE.