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Thread: red breasts - what could this be?

  1. #1

    Default red breasts - what could this be?

    Since I started breastfeeding (when my baby was born, about 7 weeks ago), the skin on the underside of my breasts has been really red and a little itchy, my breasts have been a little sore, and my nipples have sometimes been having a burning sensation. When I went to my 6 week OB checkup, I asked about it and she said she didn't think it was an infection, since I don't have any flu-like symptoms, and said it was probably just the increased blood flow to the area. However, I don't have a huge amount of confidence in this particular doctor's experience with breastfeeding issues.

    The right side is worse than the left, and the right side also tends to get engorged if the baby does not nurse from it really regularly -- like if he takes a long nap, for example. Sometimes, when my son is nursing from the right breast, I get a sensation in my nipple that is like someone is poking a needle into it. If it's not mastitis, any thoughts on what this could be? The baby nurses about every 2 hours or so, day and night, and doesn't seem bothered, other than when the right side is really full and he has a hard time latching for the first few minutes. It's not horribly painful, but it's also not getting any better on its own. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    California, USA
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    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    Could it be thrush? It's a type of yeast infection. Both you and baby would need to be treated if it is. I'd go to an IBCLC if you can. If not then an LC should be able to identify your issue.

    I've never had thrush but from your description and what I've read it sounds like it so take me with a grain of salt lol

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    the skin on the underside of my breasts has been really red and a little itchy,
    this sounds like a rash.

    Rash could be from baby touching you/scratching you, heat, sweat, and I imagine other things that may have to do with lactation and hormones and breast tissue expanding with fullness and maybe milk flow- maybe? Not sure. All I know is I usually got a an itchy, red and bumpy rash between, on the insides, and a bit under my breasts when babies were a month or two old. I found heat and sweat made it worse so I minimized those as much as possible and it cleared up.

    my breasts have been a little sore, and my nipples have sometimes been having a burning sensation
    Has nursing been pain free until now? If nursing has been comfortable and baby has been getting enough to eat, then sudden pain does sound a bit like thrush. Sometimes thrush might cause a baby to latch more shallowly. Otherwise, pain in the nipples is often related to a shallow latch.

    Other causes of breast soreness are plugs and/or mastitis. Regular engorgement can lead to these issues so I would suggest encouraging baby to nurse more often or a bit more on that one side to avoid it. I know this probably seems impossible but getting baby to nurse a little more often is often the quickest and easiest way to deal with engorgement. If you cannot get baby to nurse when you start feeling full, a little hand expression or pumping JUST to get some relief may help. Don't try to pump long or to get a lot out as this would lead to overproduction which might make matters worse.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    348

    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    I get a rash from disposable breast pads sometimes. More so if I don't change them frequently enough. I leak a lot! I use cloth pads most of the time. I tend to leak through them, but they don't bother my skin.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    22,538

    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    This sounds suspiciously like thrush to me. Have you had a recent course of antibiotics, including for being GBS+ at the time of birth or following a c-section? And are you seeing any of the following:
    - skin in the nipple/areola which is more red/pink/shiny/flaky/dry-looking than normal?
    - a vaginal yeast infection (mom), oral thrush or yeast díaper rash (baby)?

  6. #6

    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    The redness doesn't look like a rash, although it does sound like one the way I described it. It almost looks like bruising-- it's sort of under the surface. The baby does have a persistent diaper rash although it's his first one so I don't know if it looks any different from any other diaper rash. I haven't had any antibiotics recently, including at the time of birth, but I did have cracked and bleeding nipples while we were figuring out breastfeeding. It was painless for a while, then all of this started. The nipple on the right side is red and a little shiny. Since I posted, the itching and burning have both gotten worse, so I will get myself into a doctor to see if I can get a diagnosis and meds if I need them. Hopefully a different doc at my OB practice can fit me in today. Thanks so much for all of your replies.

  7. #7

    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    Also, the itching did start when I was using disposable breast pads. At first I assumed they were the problem and stopped using them. It improved a little at first, and now has gotten much worse.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    I got to say, I would see a different doctor. Bruising under the skin for no apparent reason (you have not been injured there, I assume) sounds really unusual to me. You could also see an IBCLC to see if this is something that might have something to do with lactation and for thrush.

    The nipple look (red and shiny) and the itching does sound like thrush. So you may need to see doctor anyway for thrush meds. But I have never heard of thrush causing a bruised look on the underside of the breast???? Anyone?

    Most doctors know very little about lactation or the lactating breasts. Don't let them blame lactation for something that may have nothing to do with lactation.

    Here is info on thrush treatment options: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-CP

  9. #9

    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    I saw a different doctor at my obgyn practice and she diagnosed thrush in about 10 seconds she gave me an Rx for Jack Newman ointment and said to call a lactation consultant for more info on possible ways to treat. She was concerned about the redness and agreed it looked kind of like bruising or clusters of stretch marks. She advised to get rid of the thrush first and see if the redness cleared up, and if not, then deal with it on its own. Like maddieb said, it does seem like the doctors don't seem to know much about lactating breasts. I am pretty surprised and disappointed by that.

    I also took the baby to the pediatrician, who said his diaper rash is NOT yeast and he has no white spots in his mouth,, so he appears to be fine so far. The trick is to keep him that way, I guess!

    Thanks to all who replied and if I ever figure out the mystery of the redness I will update the thread!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: red breasts - what could this be?

    Even though the baby is not currently showing signs of thrush, it is important that he be treated as well. One of the many things most docs seem not to know about thrush is that it is common for one member of the nursing pair to be asymptomatic, though both are infected!

    I think te advice to work on the thrush first and see if the redness clears up is good advice. However, I'm a little worried that there is bacterial infection at work here in addition to thrush, as mastitis often causes red streaks or patches to appear on the skin of the breast. So please watch yourself carefully for additional symptoms of mastitis: full-body aches and pains, chills, fever, deep breast pain, and/or a painful lump in the breast.

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