The One Side Effect of a Plugged Milk Duct That No One Else Will Tell You About

Spoiler: It’s That You Might Catch on Fire.

Charlie is now one year old, and as such, I am in the clear to ween him without anyone in their right mind telling me that I’m doing him any kind of disservice. (The World Health Organization recommends at least two years, but those guys can fuck right off.) And in fact, I’ve already started fielding questions about when I’m going to get him off the boob so that he doesn’t end up with crippling Oedipal issues. Since my primary goal in life is to avoid conflict and to avoid getting yelled at by anyone, I nursed dutifully until his first birthday and then really put on the breaks. Weening is supposed to be a drawn out, strategic process, so that no emotional or physical issues crop up. And by emotional issues, I don’t mean “Oh I have so many feelings about my baby getting so big!” so much as “Oh this drastic halt in endorphin release is making me suicidal!” But I was really, really keen to stop pumping at work, and so I stopped pretty much cold turkey a couple weeks before Charlie’s first birthday. And since then, it’s been a fun contest with myself to see how long I can go without nursing before either me or Charlie breaks. And so, duh, I have a plugged milk duct. Fortunately, there’s been no suicidal ideation.

About an hour ago, Charlie fell asleep downstairs with his granddad, so I have a bit of time to myself upstairs, mostly dedicated to cooking and cleaning (because I’m exemplary at being domestic, you see!). For the last 24 hours it’s felt like Charlie’s been biting hard every time he nurses on the right side, though it’s clear that he’s just doing his normal thing, so I thought I’d take advantage of the alone time to get half-topless in the bathroom and see if I could identify the issue and work it out under some warm, running water. Great news: yes! I seem to have cleared the plugged duct. And as I was moving into trying to hand-express milk under the water to make sure everything was getting back to normal, I heard a funny sound, like maybe the sink wasn’t draining properly. So I put my head a little closer to the sink, and then I smelled some burning and my head felt a little hot and OH MOTHERFUCKER I DIDN’T BLOW OUT THAT CANDLE ON THE SINK AND NOW MY BANGS ARE ON FIRE. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! I quickly stood up and briefly thought, “Phew, good thing I caught that before it got bad,” before seeing in the mirror that my hair was still very, very much on fire, and switching my inner monologue from relieF to, “Oh my God my HAIR IS ON FIRE! BIG FIRE! IN MY HAIR!” Like flames shooting up from my head on fire. I smacked myself on the forehead with my wet hands a couple of times, and then, blessedly, my hair wasn’t on fire anymore.

Ask me about my sexy bald spot!

My hair and its ashes in the sink. Note the strategically placed votive by the toothpaste, for ease of flame creation.

A significant amount of hair came off in chunks upon the smacking and landed in the sink or clumped around my fingers, and significantly more came out in the subsequent shower.

Yesterday, I put product on my bangs for the first time in literally ever, to see how it looked. For the record, it looked nice. But it can’t have helped matters. Now I have noticeable stubble. And everything still smells like burning.

I may have mentioned this before, but Andy is certain that, even though he’s four years older than me and a dude, he will outlive me. And that my last words will be, “Wait– Ah, shit.” I’d like to argue against that grim notion, but I don’t have the track record for it.

So, to breastfeeding mothers everywhere, let this be a lesson to you: Be sure to wean judiciously, lest your hair burst into flames.

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One comment

  1. I am so glad you are okay and I’m sorry about your bangs. Forgive me for laughing so hard that I was crying!! Xoxo MIL

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