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HELP-Blood in Breastmilk

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Help! I am freaking out a little and am hoping some other breastfeeding mamas might be able to tell me what is going on.

About two weeks ago I noticed that the milk I had pumped at work was a little pinkish. I guess a tiny bit of blood had made it into my milk. My breast was a little sore as well. I called the lactation consultant and she thought it might be a broken capillary. I didn’t see blood in my breast milk after that until today. As I was pumping I noticed that my milk squirting into the pump looked more like blood and that the milk in the bottle was more bright red than pink. I called all of my doctors today. My internist passed a message on to me that she doesn’t “deal with lactation issues” (time to find a new doctor) and I was on hold with the ob/gyn clinic for 35 minutes. I was finally able to reach the ob/gyn on call this evening who wants me to come into the office to be evaluated tomorrow. When I spoke with one of the nurse’s at the ob/gyn clinic earlier today she told me that I should see one of my doctor’s so that I could be referred to a breast specialist and for a mammogram. I also spoke with both my mother and father (a doctor and nurse specializing in breast cancer) who told me that a mammogram would do little good since I am breastfeeding and recommended that I get an ultrasound instead. The ob/gyn on call did tell me to continue breastfeeding my daughter.

I guess what I am wondering is have any other mothers experienced this before? Should I be worried? I am not running a fever or showing any signs of an infection. I also can’t find any visible cuts or scrapes on my nipple, so I don’t think it could be from that. All I know is that my breast is sore and bleeding and that weaning my 10 month old daughter is not an option I even want to consider.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 13
I can't comment on your exact situation but have seen many moms safely breastfeed through what looks like alot of blood. Just keep BF and see what comes of the exam.
post #3 of 13
First of all, . I can see where that would be really, really scary!

Please know that there could be several different explanations for this, and none are life-threatening, or breastfeeding-threatening, and all are fairly short-term.

1. Damaged nipple. You've pretty much ruled this one out.

2. Vascular engorgement AKA "Rusty Pipe Syndrome". Often in both breasts, but sometimes just in one. Dairy cows get it too. :LOL It occurs because of a combination of increased blood flow to the breast and rapid breast growth. Generally, though, this occurs right after birthm so let's rule that one out for now.

3. Fibrocystic breast disease, which is not as freaky as it sounds

4. Intraductal papillomas, a small benign growth on a milk duct
This usually clears up on its own.

5. Broken cappilaries, which can occur with breast pump use

Generally, there's no treatment except time, and the blood won't hurt the baby, though it may skeeve out the mama.

Be peaceful!
post #4 of 13
The blood will not hurt your daughter - even if it's caused by an infection. Even if it's a lot of blood, the milk is still nutritious.

I am glad you are working to get this figured out for yourself. While your daughter is not at risk, it could be something that needs to be treated for your health.

Shame on your internist - perhaps she misunderstood, but it's not a "lactation issue" but a breast health issue. I understand if she cannot help you with supply issues like a lactation consultant, but this is more about your general help. I'm glad the ob/gyn will see you tomorrow.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for advice/comments. I have calmed down considerably in the last few hours and your comments have helped me a great deal. I guess I will just have to wait and see what the doctor says in the morning.
post #6 of 13
Just a warning- it's very likely that the Dr. you're seeing has little to no experience with lactating breasts. Personally I wouldn't worry, but would wait it out a few days.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am thinking that I may need to talk with LLLegue if I don't get any good answers. Hopefully the ob/gyn will be able to tell me something. Sadly the internist I was seeing has very little experience with lactation. I wasn't happy with the care I was getting from her in general.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
In case another mom runs into this problem, I thought I would post an update. I saw my doctor today and she did an exam. She couldn't find any signs of infection. She thought the blood might have come from a small crack in the skin, though she didn't see any today. She said that the breast pump could have caused "trauma to the breast". She is sending the bag of bloody milk from Monday that I brought in today to the lab and will let me know what she finds out. She said that if it happens again she will send me to the breast clinic at the hospital for additional testing. However, she didn't think that it was anything serious. She also spoke to one of the other ob/gyns in her office who is nursing her baby and it turns out the same thing happened to her. It only happened once and then went away. I am just going to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

One good thing is that this has finally motived me to go to a LLL meeting on Monday. I kept meaning to go, just hadn't done it.

Thanks for "listening" the other day when I was freaking out.

post #9 of 13
I am so glad things seemed to turn out alright! Thank you for the update.
post #10 of 13
I'm glad you got it checked out and that everything is ok.
post #11 of 13

Blood in the milk


Glad things turned out fine!


For future reference:

Blood in the breastmilk is actually pretty darned common. Many, if not most, moms who pump a great deal either exclusively, or while working, will have pump some pink tinged blood at least once in their pumping career. Although in MOST cases the amount of blood is small, some moms might actually see quite a but of visible blood. This is actually VERY common, much more common than you might imagine. Second to "my breast hurts" it is one of the most common reasons I get emergency calls from worried nursing mommas.

The breast is extremely vascular and even a small nipple owie can cause pink-tinged blood. Bloody discharge is common when a plugged duct resolves, and is common when mom is getting over a breast infection. You can also see bleeding when there is truama to the breast, as well as the other issues listed by one of the previous posters.

BUT, the important thing here is that IF everything else seems fine, the blood has arrived suddenly, and goes away within a reasonable period (usually about 12 hours) you don't have to worry.

I certainly won't make a BLANKET statement about this, but if I saw blood in my pumping output I wouldn't even call the doctor at all unless I had symptoms of some kind of breast infection.
post #12 of 13
after reading this, I'm firmly convinced: skip the OBGYN, every mama needs their own LC!!!

I also had blood in my milk when DS was 4 months. I think it was from him (he popped out two teeth later in the week, so I think he was gumming me hard); my LC said BF through it. I did. He grew, peed, and pooped. He's fine. Your babe will be too! Glad to hear you've gotten some peace. I hope LLL gives you some support.
post #13 of 13
Thank you for the update! I was actually thinking about you.
I am so glad you will be going to a LLL meeting. I went to my first meeting the month before I was due with my first son, and I never regretted it!
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