Blood In Breastmilk

Finding blood in breastmilk, is nothing to worry about; it’s actually very common, especially in first time breastfeeding moms.

The blood cannot harm your baby, the blood consumed will pass through your baby's digestive tract, as a bowel movement, therefore, you can continue to breastfeed.

Mom will usually discover the blood, either in pumped breast milk, inside her baby’s mouth after breastfeeding, or in her baby’s stools.

So what Causes Blood in Breast Milk?

All of the below breastfeeding problems usually end quickly and are not considered serious…

  • Cracked broken nipples and nipple blisters can cause blood in breast milk.
  • Read more about identifying the cause of your cracked nipples. 
  • Vascular engorgement: Also called rusty pipe syndrome, due to the rusty color of the milk. This usually occurs immediately after giving birth. A first time mommy may notice that her expressed milk is orange or pink in color. This is due to the increased blood flow to her breasts, which is needed during the development of the milk producing cells. The blood will usually disappear within a week or so after birth.
  • Broken capillaries: This is due to breast injury. Rough treatment of your breasts, or pressing your breast too hard whilst hand expressing, and/or using a breast pump incorrectly.
  • Inraductal Papilloma: Fibrocystic breast condition is the result of small, harmless tumors in the milk ducts. These breast Papilloma tumors are usually only found in one breast and cannot be felt with the hand. Papilloma breast bleeding will usually subside on its own, without any treatment.

Read more here about the causes of Fibrocystic breast condition.

Treatment to Stop Blood in Breastmilk

  • The best thing to do, is to wait it out. Time will give your breasts and nipples, a chance to heal themselves and you can continue to breastfeed during this time.
  • If it is too painful to continue to breastfeed, you can pump milk for a day or two, to give your breasts a chance to heal. Make sure you pump at least 8 - 10 times per day, to keep your breast milk supply sufficient. If the bleeding continues past two weeks, it's best to contact your physician or lactation consultant.
  • Ensure that your pump is at a comfortable suction level and speed.
  • Be gentle with your breasts while hand expressing breast milk.
  • Treat your sore or broken nipples.
  • Proper latching on can prevent sore, cracked nipples.
  • Treat engorgement.

What if Your Baby is Drinking Too Much Blood?

Warnings about your baby drinking blood in the breast milk

  • If your baby seems to have a lot of bloody diarrhea, it is best to get to your doctor.
  • If your baby’s jaundice seems to be getting worse, it is best to pump and dump until the bleeding stops.
  • If you have any diseases or infections that are contagious, you should stop breastfeeding until the bleeding stops. 

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with blood in breastmilk

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