Breast abcess - even with milk leaking from wound you CAN continue to feed!

by Louise Baker

I have recently finally healed from breast surgery, which was as a result of a breast abcess that needed draining.

I wanted to share my story as I was told, following the surgery that I would have to stop feeding my baby boy due to milk leaking through the wound - however this has proved to be untrue and so other mums should be aware that they can keep going!

My breast infection turned into a breast abscess that wouldn't respond to anti-biotics so I had to have the surgery, which was not pleasant as my abscess was very large! However, after surgery I was able to breast feed as the surgeon had made the incision off the nipple, so so far so good - at least the pain was gone and I finally felt more human again!

However, one week later I visited the surgeon to have the wound and breast checked and she found that I had milk running out through the wound. Her reaction was that I had to take tablets to stop my milk as otherwise the wound wouldn't heal due to the constant flow!

As most breast feeding mums can imagine I was devastated as little 'un was only 8 wks and I was striving to get to 6 months at least!

After further discussion with her there seemed no other option, but luckily we were traveling back to UK (I was living in India at the time and had had my boy and the breast surgery out there) so she delayed prescription and suggested I see somebody in the Uk.

We immediately arranged an appointment for the day after our return and luckily I was met with a much more positive and pro-breastfeeding approach which resulted in my being able to continue feeding with absolutely no problems!

My wound possibly took a little longer to heal but ultimately it did with no problems! In fact the milk meant that the wound was being kept clean and I had no issue at all with infection, bearing in mind its an open wound that has to be packed daily.

So, for all those mum's frantically googling for re-assurance like I was, message is 'Don't stop feeding, get second opinions and use this website'! It seems in most cases there is no need to stop.

Comments for Breast abcess - even with milk leaking from wound you CAN continue to feed!

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 17, 2011
Thank you!
by: Kelle

Wow, thanks so much for posting your story! I have an 8 wk old and have just been through EXACTLY the same thing! My wound is also leaking milk and as it is a weekend I haven't been able to ask my surgeon if it is ok.

I felt huge relief when I read your story!


Mar 04, 2012
huge relief
by: Anonymous

I feel relieved when I see such stories shared.

I had an I&D done 3 weeks back and now it appears I have another abscess. I am praying to God that it wont' be true.
I had consulted another surgeon and she suggested to stop breastfeeding altogher. I was totally devastated. She told lactating mothers will get recurrent abscess and only way is to stop breast feeding and lacatation altogether by taking tablets.
I wish my I&D wounds heal soon and I do not have to go for another I&D.

Mar 07, 2012
2 months later...
by: Anonymous

A couple of months after my surgery and I am still breastfeeding:) my abscess was 5cm deep and took nearly 4 wks to stop leaking milk but I am so happy I persevered. I also thought the abscess had come back, but it was just the way the wound was healing. I have had no other problems since:)

Oct 21, 2012
I&D breast abcess
by: Danielle

I had an I & D on my breast abcess 9 weeks ago (8/14/12) and am still leaking milk from the wound, which is still 4 cm deep. Any of you lovely ladies that have had the same thing have any ideas for me to get it to heal faster? I'm so tired of packing it everyday. Thanks in advance :)

Apr 24, 2013
by: bluemoon

as for me, it seems the time has come for weaning

Apr 24, 2013
Hang in there!
by: Kelle

Sorry to hear that:( I remember how frustrating it is. I'm sorry but Ii don't have a solution, but mine was 5cm deep and took a month to heal so hopefully you only have a few more weeks. I know it's horrible but you're doing a great job and soon it will be a distant memory:) xx

May 28, 2013
breast abscess
by: Dee

I had an I & D 6 weeks ago due to an abscess. I felt a lump while I was pregnant directly below the nipple that was the size of a dime.

I was told it may be a clogged duct at the time. Then once my son was born and he started feeding the lump got huge. It was probably the size of a walnut and became very painful. I had the abscess aspirated but the infection was too deep and i needed surgery to remove it. I had 6 different kinds of bacteria, none of which were staph, which i heard is most commonly present in a breast abscess.

The surgeon made the incision around the aereola so I could not pump or feed from that side. I am breastfeeding from the other breast.

The incision was 4.5 cm deep and is now about 2 cm deep. Milk has been pouring out of the incision until about a few days ago and it finally seems to be slowing down.

I now can feel a section of my bad breast starting to get hard; it feels like a clogged duct. I am nervous that I will have to give up breastfeeding if I get mastitis.

I have been putting warm compress on the clogged duct area but I am not sure it's helping. I can't stand in a hot shower because I dont want a lot of water to get into the incision. I feel like it's one thing after the next. Hopefully i can continue.

Oct 12, 2013
My abscess experience: the surgeons were wrong
by: Kim

After a long labour and c-section, my immune system was low and I got an infection that caused a breast abscess. My baby was two weeks old. The abscess went quickly from a red spot to requiring an incision and drainage when antibiotics didn't clear it up. The surgeon told me sometimes milk leaks out of the wounds and if that happened I would have to stop breastfeeding so I was very concerned since my baby was so young. They made a 2cm incision and I had a hole that was about 1.5 cms deep.

Two days after surgery milk started leaking from the wound. Another surgeon told me I could keep breast feeding but it wouldn't heal until I stopped. What? That was supposed to be 2 years down the road! All the midwives and LCs in the hospital said they didn't see why milk in the wound was a problem - the moisture may make it take longer to heal but the milk would keep the wound sterile. They also said milk usually comes out of these wounds because they invariably cut through milk ducts during surgery. My midwife asked an actual breast surgeon who said as long as I didn't have a fistula milk leaking out of the wound would be fine. From my understanding a fistula is when the milk duct gets blocked and creates its own path through to your skin, rather than just a duct that is cut through. (On a side note, my LC knew a woman with a fistula who breastfed with it for 5 months until it healed.)

After the surgery I started feeding my baby off that breast to make sure I didn't get blocked ducts. I had a pretty big dressing near my areola but I made sure it wouldn't block the baby's nose when feeding. I only fed for a few minutes at a time cuz I didn't want too much milk leaking from the wound. (In hindsight, I don't think it would have made a difference and after a couple of weeks I started feeding equally from both breasts.)

At night my wound would saturate my thick dressing in spite of the fact that it was "waterproof" and I would wake up with smelly milk all over my shirt. When it was still leaking a lot after 4 weeks even though the wound was shallower and smaller I was worried. But after 4.5 weeks it just stopped. Now, after 8 weeks, there is no more hole and the skin is almost closed up... and I am still breastfeeding.

So don't let any surgeons tell you you can't breastfeed because they are wrong! It's not easy, it requires adaptations, and you may have trouble if your wound goes over your areola but you may be able to use shields. I still can't pump from that breast because the pump won't suction over the dressing so my supply is somewhat low but I my baby is still almost exclusively breastfed.

Oct 23, 2013
question for Louise Baker
by: maham

i wanted to ask which person did u see in UK???

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Invitation 2.