Real Life Breastfeeding Stories

Breast Engorgement is NOT Breast Cancer

One of the more dramatic phone calls I ever made was to a mother whose baby was one week old.

Our program had a set of questions we usually asked during a follow-up call, including was the mom experiencing any engorgement or soreness.  This mom described a lump she had found in her breast.  I explained that sometimes during engorgement you can get a lump or bump under the skin and how she could resolve it.  She started crying.  I asked what was wrong.  She said, “I thought I had just had this beautiful baby and now I had breast cancer”!

While it is possible to have cancer while you are breastfeeding, and anything suspicious you should have checked out, it is very rare.  This story had a happy ending.  She did indeed have a plugged duct which resolved with the measures we discussed and she went on to enjoy her beautiful baby.  But she had worried for several days without calling her doctor or seeking any additional information.  Fear certainly can do that to us.  It would be an understatement to say that she was relieved to find it could be something besides breast cancer.