The ability to gestate, birth, and then nourish a child via my body amazes me. It's truly a miracle. The fact that milk-producing structures evolved from sweat glands is mind-boggling.
I've dropped down to 5 milk-pumping sessions per day. I generally get about 10 ounces of milk at each session, with about 5-7 additional ounces at the first morning session (the girls, they do fill up overnight). I've had my share of plugged ducts, as I did with Peanut, but I've had the additional fun of mastitis and a milk blister. I've been the poster child for breastfeeding problems.
The mastitis came as a surprise. I felt fine when I went to bed with no obvious plugging. I woke up the next morning engorged, in pain, and with a fever. I denied it was anything worse than a plugged duct (even though the side of my boob was rock-hard and tender), took some Tylenol and went to work. I rode out chills and the funky out-of-sorts feverish feeling till noon and went home. I took a peak in the mirror and between the red streaks running up the side of my boob and a 101 degree fever, I could't deny it any more. I was able to get an appointment right away. A shot and some oral antibiotics took care of it. I did have the extra fun side effect of puking from the oral meds. I lived on crackers, rice, broth, ginger ale, and baked chicken for a week. I'm back into all my prepregnancy clothes and weigh about 7-10 lbs less than I did before getting pregnant - not the way I wanted to get there.
Everything I heard about mastitis sucking was true. It tore me up. It probably took me a good week or two to feel better.
Next came the milk blister. I still let Bean latch on with the nipple shield once or twice a day. He was very fussy one night (he acts like he's teething, but no toofies yet) so I put him on the boob. He chewed the heck outta me, even with the nipple. I notice a swollen area the next day and figured it would go away without any problems. A few mornings later I woke up with plugged ducts and couldn't get them to drain. When morning break rolled around I pumped again and was hugely engorged over half my breast. I looked like I had a bad bood job with ripples along the top and side of my breast and my nipple half swollen. That's when I noticed the blister, which I couldn't remove.
I went straight home after work. An hour of hot wet washcloths alternated with pumping finally loosened the blister enough to allow the milk out. I have never felt such relief.