Blood In Breast Milk: Should You Worry?
Blood in breast milk is a rare condition. It is hard to notice unless you are expressing or your baby spits little bits of blood stained milk. This can scare you when you first notice but there is no need to worry. This article will help you understand why blood appears in breast milk (causes) and how you can deal with it.
What are/can cause blood in your breast milk?
Bleeding or cracked nipples. This is the most common cause of pink or red streaks in breast milk. When the nipples are cracked and bleeding the child will take in some of that blood as he/she breastfeeds. Most lactating mothers don’t notice this. The blood should stop oozing once your nipples heal.
Watch this video on YouTube to learn more about nipple problems what to do about Nipple Pain – Breastfeeding Series
Rusty Pipe Syndrome.
This refers to the small amounts of blood in breast milk that is seen during the first week after you give birth.Blood may get into your milk ducts causing the color of milk to look orange, brown or rust in color. Even though it doesn’t look fit to breastfeed your baby, it’s advisable to continue breastfeeding as the body clears out its milk ducts. This condition is not serious or dangerous and it disappears in a few days on its own.
Most of the time the little blood you see in your breast milk as a result of bleeding nipples is nothing to be worried about. However, if it does not go away in a few days contact your doctor. There some forms of breast cancer such as Paget’s disease or ductal carcinoma that can cause bleeding from the nipples.
It is a breast infection and can produce blood stained milk from the infected breast. It is usually accompanied by symptoms such as swelling, fever, redness and pain.
Is it safe to breastfeed your baby if there is blood in the milk?
It is safe to continue giving your baby breast milk even if you notice it has blood in it. A small amount of blood in your breast milk will not harm your baby. Large amounts of blood can change the flavor of your breast milk and the baby may refuse to breastfeed. If you child is nursing well and is not vomiting, it’s safe to continue breastfeeding. If the problem does not go away on its own in a few days, you should consult your doctor.
Does blood in your breast milk mean blood in Baby’s poop?
When your baby breastfeeds on milk containing blood, its poop may be a little darker than normal, or you may see noticeable blood in the diaper. If you are sure the blood is coming from your breast milk, then it’s alright. However, if there is more blood or the poop is bloody, contact your baby’s doctor immediately.
What can you do when you see blood in your breast milk?
- Don’t stop breastfeeding your baby. Continue giving your child breast milk if there is a little bit of blood in it. You can always call your baby’s doctor or your doctor for more information.
- If you are sure the bleeding is from a cracked nipple, care for that problem. Make sure your baby is latching on correctly and use a safe nipple cream, soothing hydrogel breast pads or your own breast milk to help heal the cracks and protect your nipples. Read more on nipple problems, their causes and possible treatment.
- If your breastfeeding is very painful and you need to stop breastfeeding for a little while to allow some time to heal the nipples, make sure you pump the milk to maintain a constant supply for your baby. You can use alternative feeding methods like feeding bottles. You can get very good feeding bottles on amazon.com.
- Be on a very high alert for signs of an infection such as swelling, redness, fever or tenderness. If you notice one of these signs, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for correct diagnosis and proper treatment. Read more on breast infection here.
- If the cause of the bleeding is not clear and you can’t see where the blood is coming from, you can wait for a few days to see if it goes away. If it does not go away in a few days, visit your doctor for a comprehensive examination.
While blood in milk may not be such a worrying factor, it is very important to seek necessary medical help when the bleeding persist. Keep a keen eye on the changes in your breast milk to ensure your baby stays healthy.
Please feel free to comment on this article and/or ask questions about your breast milk. We are always happy to help.