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Thread: Bloody milk!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Washington
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    105

    Default Bloody milk!

    GAH! I just had the ickiest experience while pumping and I'm hoping you ladies can advise me on what to do.

    For a couple of weeks now I've had some cuts around the left nipple. I'm not sure what they're from, the only thing I can think of is DS's many teeth (he's 9 mos.) scraping me. It really hurts to latch on that side. This has happened before and usually once he gets nursing the pain subsides, and eventually the cut heals and I'm fine. But these cuts just keep showing up and the pain sticks around through the whole nursing session. Pumping is painful as well.

    Well, today I was pumping for his daycare bottles and happily working away on my iPad. There was the usual pain when I first started pumping but I gradually didn't notice it. At 19 minutes of pumping I looked down in horror to see a blood red bottle of milk. It freaked me out - there was a LOT of blood in that milk. It wasn't just pink, it was RED. I had to dump it all.

    When I dumped it it looked like there might have been a clot, and I notice that my left side is not sore at all now. I'm not bleeding from any of the cuts after taking the pump off, though there is one small open red cut. I assume the pump is drawing blood really harshly out of this small cut.

    How do I handle this? I keep putting lanolin on the cuts but they just aren't healing, and I'm afraid when I pump again in a couple of hours I'm going to get another bottle full of blood. My ability to keep up with daycare bottles is already difficult, so every drop is priceless, and I'm so afraid I'll have to dump another bottle.

    Any helpful advice?
    First-time mom to Markus, August 17, 2011.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    SoCal
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    6,467

    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    Hi mama I dont know about the cuts, but I will say that a small amount of blood will look HORRIFYING in a bottle. If you want you can put the bottle in the fridge and the blood will separate from the milk and you can spoon the blood off the milk and use the milk for baby without issue.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,940

    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    Sorry you had that experience!

    Bloody milk is usually not a big deal. Although it can look freaky, it generally represents a small amount of blood since even a little blood can tint the milk a shocking color. It's generally caused by a break in a small blood vessel inside the breast, often due to baby being rough or to overenthusiastic pumping. Moms usually only notice if they are pumping, and when a broken blood vessel is the source of the blood, it generally heals by the next time mom has to nurse/pump. However, because you have these many small cuts and because you saw red milk (as opposed to Pepto-bismal-pink milk) I am thinking they could be the source of the blood. Since they aren't healing- or rather, they heal and then reappear- I am thinking you must have either thrush or a bacterial infection.

    If you end up with another bottle of bloody milk, here's what you do: put it in the fridge and allow it to sit for 24 hours. The blood will separate from the milk, just like oil separates from vinegar in salad dressing, and you will be able to pour off the blood and save the clean milk. Don't worry that drinking bloody milk will harm your baby, because it won't.

    ETA: jinx! Jenna and I had the same thought at the same time.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    OMG! It must have been quite a shock to see globs of blood in your milk. I am certain there have been times when my milk was also mixed with blood, as I was prone to sore nipples.
    i know I've read in LLL literature that blood in mother's milk is not a health issue but i guess the day care providers would have been leery about giving what looked like a bottle of blood to your baby! Imagine the conversation they would have been faced with!
    i needed to air dry to get my nipple to dry heal and scab over. that was my experience.
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Washington
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    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    Thanks, everyone! This is reassuring. Wish I'd thought to keep the bottle from this morning, but it was so gruesome. :P
    First-time mom to Markus, August 17, 2011.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    You might also want to try a little organic coconut oil (Trader Joe's sells it) for the cuts - I noticed it was more healing than lanolin was for me when I had issues in this department. Feel better!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Canada
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    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    Sorry you had that experience mama! I had a similar one when I was pumping for ds1 one time. By the next time I pumped (a couple of hours later), there was no blood. I agree that it should heal fairly quickly for you. As for the cuts, I wonder about thrush as well. Are the pains you have during nursing/pumping shooting ones in your breast? I might see a doctor about that if the cuts have been around for awhile.
    I hope you feel better soon!
    Mommy to L - May 7, 07' , B - February 7, 09' , and R - August 18, 12'

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Washington
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    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    I meant to address the thrush issue: we just got over thrush a couple of weeks ago and I did wonder of it came back. However, I've been settingmy pump to a gentler setting and applying coconut oil to the area, and the cuts have healed up a bit, there's less pain, and no blood. Woot! Thanks, everyone!
    First-time mom to Markus, August 17, 2011.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: Bloody milk!

    Phew! Glad to hear things are improving!

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