Blood in milk from breast injury

I am seven months pregnant with my first child. About four weeks ago I had a run-in with a door which caused some mild breast discomfort. Upon examining my breast I happily discovered that I was able to express colostrum. However, two ducts bled. It looked like a mixture of both blood and colostrum. I decided that I may have ruptured some capillaries after hitting the door, so I left my breast alone for the past few weeks to let them heal. Last night I expressed some colostrum and the same two ducts bled. I am concerned that if my breast keeps bleeding I won't be able to breastfeed my child. I have looked through several breastfeeding books and none have information on blood in milk/colostrum. Do you have any advice? Would it be possible to feed my child from just one breast? I was planning on breastfeeding for six to eight months and at this point would be very discouraged to find out that I couldn't.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

When a breast is injured there may be bleeding. Bleeding from a nipple pore, though scary, does sometimes occur after a trauma to the lactating breast. Bleeding from the breast can be due to other causes than the trauma experienced. Other common causes are rusty-pipe syndrome, papilloma and fibrocystic breast changes.

Breastfeeding can continue even if there is blood mixed with your milk, though it is always important to determine the cause (Lawrence 1994). Discuss this issue with your Health Care Provider. Any unusual breast discharge, during lactation, as well as at any other time in a woman's life needs to be properly evaluated.

Following your baby's birth, I would recommend nursing as soon as possible, and then feeding frequently - at least 10 to 12 times a day. Frequent feeds will help to prevent engorgement, which might complicate your situation. If your baby is not feeding well, begin working with the hospital's IBCLC. Work on proper positioning and attachment, while expressing your milk to feed your baby. (If there is a large amount of blood in your milk, your baby may vomit it up.)

It is possible, with proper breastfeeding management, for most women to fully nourish their baby from one breast alone. If your bleeding does turn out to be due to the trauma you experienced, this should not be necessary. And don't forget, it's important to let your Health Care Provider know you have experienced bleeding from your breast, and that you suspect it is due to trauma. Best wishes in mothering!

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