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 abscess 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 antibiotics so I had to have the surgery, which was not as pleasant as my abscess was huge! However, after surgery I was able to breastfeed 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 breastfeeding 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! The mil,k 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, the message is 'Don't stop feeding, get second opinions and use this website'! It seems in most cases there is no need to stop.

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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???

Dec 14, 2016
Solution for me
by: Anonymous

After having surgery for a breast abscess, my wound started to leak breast milk like crazy. I was constantly changing the bandages and my surgeon told me that if I wanted to have any sense of normalcy in my life I would need to wean and so that the incision could heal properly. My daughter was only six weeks old at the time and I was devastated. I continued to pump for a few more weeks and the leaking only got worse and worse. As a last ditch effort my surgeon decided to put a stitch through the leaking duct as a way to damage it so it would stop producing milk. It worked! Ten months later I am still pumping and able to give my daughter breast milk.

May 28, 2017
Help needed!
by: Anonymous

Hello everyone.
I stopped breast feeding my daughter about 9 months ago..and now after 9 months I've again started having milk flow in my breast.

I got a little it actually okay?

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Abscess and staff infection

by Megan
(California )

I don't know what all causes an abscess, but when they first took a sample for a culture test, they found staph infection.

I had the surgery today, and now around my nipple, I have hard tender lumps. Clogged ducts I assume. Should I breastfeed to get rid of them or is it too dangerous for a baby? I already tried pumping, and it's still there.

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Jun 12, 2013
by: Tracy, CBC, CLD

Hi Megan

Yes, you can continue to breastfeed. The staph infection cannot be transferred to baby via the milk.
It is important that you continue to breastfeed so that you do not get a further mastitis infection.

Please read...


Symptoms of Mastitis

Jun 12, 2013
by: Anonymous

What if I have a crack in my nipple. Could the baby pass bacteria into my breast when nursing.

Dec 21, 2018
by: Tracy

Hi Megan

Would love to hear an update on what happened!

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Recurrent pus forming abscess in breast - what is the cure?

by Aarti thakur

There is a sister of mine who recently had surgery to remove Fibroadenoma. She was prescribed antibiotics and proper dressing for follow up, but the problem is she frequently gets pus-filled spaces in the breast from the area of the wound caused by incision during surgery. Thus it is so hectic for her to drain the pus again and again.

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Dec 21, 2018
by: Anonymous

Hi, Aarti

What happened regarding your sister?

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After delivery, within two days, milk production started ....but my baby was unable to take. So my breast is swollen and finally, pus formed in that breast. So my doctor advised abscess to drain out pus.

All these things happened before six months. Now I got my skin; just a scar was left. Now I am getting a drop of water content from that nipple and feeling pain. I am unable to decide what to do. Please give some suggestion to stop that production.


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Dec 18, 2013
Breastfeeding and abcesses
by: Lysda

If you are still wanting to breastfeed, please know that a single breast can produce enough to feed your child without supplementation for a year and beyond.

If you have made the decision to wean from at least the effected breast, the best thing to do is stop nursing or otherwise stimulating the nipple. This will let your breast know to stop making milk. You can use cold cabbage leaves on your breast to help ease the tenderness, as well as hot showers. If you are trying to dry up both breasts, you can eat sage or large amounts of peppermint, as they have been known to dry up milk supply.

Dec 21, 2018
by: Tracy


What happened? Would really love to know. Thanks

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Abscess on me and baby

by Hina

When my baby was three months old, and she was on breastfeeding. I don't have periods during this, but I got an abscess on my skin, my baby also got the same abscess like me I was so worried.

I was so worried because of the abscess of my baby, I started bottle feeding to my baby then my periods came back and the abscess is gone. Me and my baby then fine now. Anybody can tell me why was this happen?

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Can I stop BF when I'm having abscess?

Hi, I am having breast abscess after I have bf for six weeks.

I'm on medication now, just thinking if I'm stopping bf now will it cause more problem to what am I having now, ie, abscess?

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Jan 11, 2013
by: Tracy, CBC, CLD (CBI)

Your surgeon or doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding, but there are major advantages to continued breastfeeding (with and/or without surgery)...

- Breast milk contains antibodies and healing properties that will help heal the breast much quicker.

- Breast milk is sterile and will help flush and clean out the wound and infected area.

- Abrupt weaning will most likely cause infection because of breast engorgement. You need to empty your breasts regularly and this will prevent infection and sore breasts.

- Draining the breast can prevent pressure on the incision

Don’t worry about baby getting sick from the infection (even if pus is visible in the milk), moms are always advised to continue breastfeeding…it cannot harm baby in any way.

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breast abscess / can I breastfeed again?

by chaysokuntheary

Hi, moms, can you share me some ideas? I have stopped breastfeeding to my baby 20day while I have breast abscess and now I am recovering from abscess so could I start my breastfeeding to my baby again or not? And will abscess come again or not, if I continue my breastfeeding?

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How we care breast abscess at home after surgery

by Hüseyin
(Ankara TURKEY)

Hi. My Wife has got breast abscess. she has used antibiotic for 14 days but she has not healed. So The doctor cut the abscess and drained the pus.

After the surgery, doctor said she has to drain pus herself twice a day at home and she could nurse baby with her abscess breast.

But we were confuse and so went to the other doctor. The new doctor say you needn't do anything about wound you have to use antibiotic. And you don't nurse your baby with abscess breast.

Now we are very confused. Our baby is 36 days. Please inform me about care of wound and nurse baby? Thanks a lot.

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Breast abscess

by Phumeza
(South Africa)

I had breast abscess after I stopped breastfeeding, in week time my right breast started to be painful.

The pain increased day by day, I could sleep at night, when walking I have to hold my breast. I went to the clinic several times, they sent me to the hospital, and the doctor said I'm going to be taken for surgery for both breasts, and they did it, but now I'm feeling much better. Although I'm scared, that is this abscess over, or something will come up.

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Breast abscess leads to breast cancer

by mariyamawit
(Addis Ababa)

Hi from Ethiopia

I am a mom of a 6month baby.

Am worried of my breast abscess leads to breast cancer?

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Not just a clogged milk duct- an abscess!

When my daughter was three weeks old, I had developed what I thought was just a clogged milk duct in my left breast.

I tried home remedies to treat it but after three days it got worse and finally saw a doctor. He prescribed me antibiotics after telling me it was a breast abscess.

Somehow I had mastitis without fever, that's why I didn't see a doctor right away. I ended up being allergic to the antibiotics after taking it. That same night my face swelled up and had to take Benadryl. So the doctor gave me a different option the next day, but I had to pump and dump because it was unsafe for nursing. More emotional pain added to my agony!

The pain was so unbearable the following day (worse than labor!), the doctor told me to go to the ER.

I went in as soon as I could not knowing that I would be hospitalized for four days! Away from my daughter for the whole time was the worse part. At this point I was in so much pain it felt like my breast was going to explode!

At first, I was told I would need a needle aspiration, but after the nurse and doctor saw the abscess using ultrasound, I had an I&D procedure done instead.

Immediately, I felt relief as It felt like and looked like a balloon deflating as the doctor pulled out 2 oz of pus.

After the 4th day, I was released to go home but still had the drainage tube connected to me for a week, a total of 10 days!

I was still on oral antibiotics for those days as well and was still pumping and dumping the right side so not lose my supply.

I couldn't pump the affected side right after because my skin on the nipple was so raw from the swollen lump the abscess had created. Finally, the skin died and peeled off after five days.

I had to get creative with the pumping horn that wouldn't fit over the drainage tube using a nipple shield.

At first, I only got a few drops out, but each pump session I would get a little more. When I had the tube removed, I was able to hand express and continued to pump.

The nurse was so helpful and gave me the advice to continue to pump for two weeks before breastfeeding again from that side.

But out of fear I still could not nurse my daughter from either side until she was two months old I finally overcame the fear and tried putting her back.

It was unsuccessful at first, but then I tried again, and she took me back a few times but then rejected me again, she was so used to the bottle, I didn't want to force her. I should also mention she has a tongue tie which probably contributed to how I got the bacteria, along with other factors. I had problems latching in the beginning and had a cracked, bleeding nipple.

Now she is three months old, and I continue to pump and supplement. I now also have scar tissue that is still tender, and I believe affected some milk ducts, it only produces half of what my right side produces. But somehow my body knows and can provide enough oz for four bottle feedings a day.

More awareness needs to be made known to all breastfeeding mothers and the general public! So many people don't know about breast abscess!

But now I am a happy mom with a happy baby all thanks to Jehovah God and my family and friends I was able to endure this difficult time!

I have so much more to say with more details, including different pieces of advice from different doctors. I really should write a book! But I hope this short story will help someone else too!

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More fear - how to avoid the abscess in future

by Devi
(Vellore, Tamilnadu, India)

I was facing the same problem and had I&D also. My wound was healed but around the wound appear hard. I asked the doctor, and they said that none of the problem. But I cannot take easily. And also I feared it would come some more time. Somebody has said in future I have to phase cancer problem.

Kindly give me reply and guide me on how to avoid the abscess in the future.

Thanks in advance help...

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Nov 25, 2014
reoccurance of breast abcess post I&D
by: Dhivya

As Devi mentioned, I have a the same issue. Post I&D, the wound has healed but the hardened area around the wound persist. Some one please share your thoughts on this.

Jan 09, 2017
Increase risk
by: Anonymous

As the Devi shared her problem I am having the same problem, I have been operated for breast abscess, the wound has already started to heal but from days I am having hardness and pain in se breast, kindly suggest.

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I&D on a large breast abcess

by Louise Baker

Hi, I have recently had to have I&D on a large breast abscess and now been told as milk is coming through the wound I will have to stop breastfeeding altogether as the wound will not heal while this is happening! Reading your website is encouraging as it says this shouldn't be a problem but do you have any more specific info on this issue as I do not want to end up with further problems if it doesn't heal. Many thanks from a very pro-breastfeeding mom!

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Oct 11, 2011
Breast milk has wonderful healing and anti-inflammatory properties
by: Tracy


Please do not stop breastfeeding, it could end up giving you even more problems if you stopped!

So many doctors advise to stop breastfeeding because they do not know better...they haven't a clue about breastfeeding.

Breast milk has wonderful healing and anti-inflammatory properties, so it will help heal your wound faster. Abrupt weaning now will only
cause a breast infection like mastitis.

Where on the breast was the incision made? If it is around the nipple where the baby has to put his/her mouth, then its best to keep pumping until it heals, but
if the cut is far away from the nipple you can continue to breastfeed as normal.

Something interesting you might like to read about breast milk...

Other uses of breast milk

Oct 12, 2011
milk ducts is running directly into the wound
by: Louise

Dear Tracey,

Thankyou for the below - it is good to hear this answer. The incision was made away from the nipple, as the Dr was aware I was keen to continue feeding. But now she is saying that one of the milk ducts is running directly into the wound and that this will cause the wound to only heal so far - is this true? I'll be honest, I didn't ask too many questions as I was just in shock and gutted when she told me! Anyway, I am going to a different specialist for second opinion.

I am going to fight to keep feeding.

Oct 12, 2011
unnecessary to stop breastfeeding
by: Tracy

Hi Louise

I'm going to stick to my answer, I really believe it is unnecessary to stop...but please do go for a second opinion and preferably go see somebody that is breastfeeding friendly.

You know, even if you do decide to stop breastfeeding from that can continue to exclusively feed your baby from one breast (the breast without the cut) There are many moms who have done this.

Kind regards

Nov 05, 2011
the wound has finally healed!
by: Louise

Hi Tracy,

Well its been a bit hectic but wanted to update you as you'll be pleased to know I am still breastfeeding and the wound has finally healed! so I'm really pleased, thanks for the support!

I visited a Dr in Uk and he was really good and confirmed exactly what you say re anti-bodies help to fight infection and although due to milk keeping it wet it may take a little longer it isn't a reason to stop!

I will try to post my story on internet at some point so other mums with same experience aren't put off!

Thanks again,

Nov 05, 2011
wonderful news!
by: Tracy

HI Louise

That's wonderful news! I'm so happy for you!

I'm sure your story will help many moms.

Look after yourself

Jun 12, 2012
Hopeful to restart nursing after surgery

Your story has helped me gain the courage to start nursing again. I had a very large abscess that was drained by the surgeon. Although she was aware that I was nursing the incision was made close to my nipple & I was told I had to stop nursing. It's been three weeks, I'm still having my wound packed daily, and I stopped nursing. I really regret that I didn't ask more questions as to why I had to stop nursing. I wish that I had fought more and insisted on being able to nurse by having an incision away from the nipple. I am going to try to get my supply back up and try to nurse on the unaffected side until the other side heals. Thank you for sharing & giving me hope.

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I&D wound healing

by indhu

Hi friends
When I was a 39th week pregnant I got a clog in my right breast after my baby was born it became big. Antibiotics did not work for me, so I went I & D procedure, the wound is deep and big. Four weeks later again I went for I&D.this time it was a minor cut but need packing with tape.

After 1-week doc said no need to pack, the cut is healing. Now milk is leaking from the big wound. So how long it will take to complete healing of the wound?

Anyone has experienced the same situation pls make a reply for this msg. Now six weeks over. I am continuing the breastfeeding in both the breasts.

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Sep 17, 2014
Breast wound healing while breastfeeding
by: Tracy

Hi Indhu

Breast milk is antibacterial and therefore will help to keep the wound disinfected. Not only this but breast milk contains substances that will help heal the wound faster. There was a man that left a message on here the other day about how breast milk healed his leg ulcers and more...ill leave the links below.

Just continue to breastfeed and drain the breasts sufficiently as to prevent engorgement and pain.

Copy and paste the following links one by one into your browser window...

If breast milk can heal these things, then surely it can help heal a clean wound faster?

Here are some more pages of other ladies with similar issues... (below this page are comments by other moms)

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Abcess during breastfeeding

by Hina

When my baby was three months old, and she was breastfeeding, I got access to my skin, my baby also got the same access on her skin I don't have periods during this.

I was worried, and I started bottle milk to my baby, then my periods back and the abscess was also gone my baby also gets fine. Now she is six months old now, which type of food I can give her now? And why I got that during breastfeeding?

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Dec 11, 2011
continue breastfeeding instead of stopping
by: Anonymous

Hi Hina

It was not the breastfeeding that caused the abscess...that is for sure...because you said your baby had it too. If it wasn't something contagious you had, it actually would have been better to continue breastfeeding instead of stopping, because the breast milk would have helped you both heal faster...and we all know breast milk is so much better for baby too.

Did you see a doctor about the abscesses?

Are you still producing milk and have you started giving baby solids?

Dec 12, 2011
Not producing any milk now...
by: Hina

My baby is on bottle feeding now.sometime I gave her banana or baby rice and nothing.what can I give her more now?

Dec 12, 2011
Some popular foods to start baby on
by: Anonymous

You can start with foods that are plain. You can give baby any foods…there is no specific order. Some popular foods to start baby on include: Banana, peaches, carrots, pears, squash, avocado and rice cereal.

Some moms like starting with rice cereal then soft things like smashed banana and finally offer meat and vegetables. A baby that is under six months old can be given food that is pureed, but when you think baby is ready you can start giving finger foods like pieces of fruit, rusks, toast.

You do not need to buy expensive baby foods or cereals, you can give baby whatever you have made for breakfast, lunch and dinner (just pureed if necessary)

Try to introduce as many different types of foods as possible. If baby doesn’t like something, you can always try it again later. By eight months of age you can make sure that baby has a combination of fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and iron fortified cereal in the daily diet.

Dec 12, 2011
is it ok for my health
by: Hina

Thank u so much for giving me reply. I had a plan for another baby when my 6 months old baby will be 1 year old. 6 months r left. Can I do another baby after this is it ok for my health?

Dec 12, 2011
having another baby
by: Anonymous

It is recommended to wait 18 to 24 months before having another baby, this is for women who have given natural birth and for those who have had c-sections.

Your body needs to recover and build up all the nutrients lost during the pregnancy. The blood loss could also cause moms to become anemic, which is also something that needs to be taken into account.

Some studies show that if you have babies too close to each other, the chance of last baby being low weight or premature are higher.

Another reason to wait is, to first adjust to having your new baby...before you have another one.

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