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Thread: Not sure where to put this question

  1. #1

    Question Not sure where to put this question

    Hi,

    I am new to these forums and searched to find the right place to ask this question and I hope this is ok.

    I successfully breastfed my son for 28.5 months. I had a great supply, even a bit of an oversupply and never had any issues beyond the first couple weeks of pain when he was learning to latch properly.

    I weaned very gradually and never had pain from weaning or any issues there either. However, now it is 6 months later and I am finding that I am still getting what I can only assume are dried milk "scabs" on my nipples. I have picked them off on occasion, but sometimes they don't all come off/out. I am mostly concerned about this because I am now almost 17 weeks pregnant with my second child and I am worried this is going to cause issues with breastfeeding that child.

    I don't really have any pain with the "scabs" so I never assumed mastitis or anything like that. My nipples are a bit sore after I pick them off, but nothing that doesn't go away within a day or so. I assume because I am picking so much at them and pulling on the skin. Now though that I am pregnant my nipples are tender/sore but I still don't believe it to be from the "scabs" at all.

    I am worried that the pieces that wont come out of the ducts/pores or whatever are clogged and that it is going to inhibit the flow of colostrum when it is time to bf again. Or that once my body is actually trying to produce milk again it might turn into something like mastitis.

    I started leaking very early on in my first pregnancy, and I am wondering if I should be this time again and that maybe the clogged parts are not allowing that to happen. Is it possible that I was still producing small amounts of milk that were drying up and plugging things up only to be replaced by leaking for this new pregnancy? Should it be plugging up like this though?

    Should I be trying to unplug/remove the "scabs"? I don't want to stimulate my nipples to the point that it causes any early labor or whatever. But at the same time it's hard to leave it alone since when it's scabbed over it is very rough and annoying when it brushes up on things.

    I know I have given a lot of information, and I thank you for reading it. I just hope someone can shed some light on my situation for me!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,266

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    It sounds like what you're seeing is probably dried colostrum. Colostrum production begins around 12-14 weeks, and seeing dried colostrum on the nipples during pregnancy is common, as is having leaking colostrum, which is probably what happened during your first pregnancy.

    Should I be trying to unplug/remove the "scabs"?
    It's up to you. I guess you need to balance the annoying nature of the dried stuff against the pain that comes with picking at it. I don't think there's any health risk to removing the "scabs".

    I don't want to stimulate my nipples to the point that it causes any early labor or whatever.
    Don't worry. Many moms nurse through pregnancy, which represents a lot more nipple stim than you'll get from picking at dried colostrum, and it's perfectly safe as long as the mom isn't already at risk for preterm labor.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    So if it were collostrum what about before I was pregnant again? I have had them since I stopped Bfing.

    Thanks for your help.

    And does anyone know how to unplug the harder to get pieces?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    So if it were collostrum what about before I was pregnant again? I have had them since I stopped Bfing.
    Oh, I didn't quite get it that you've had these since before you were pregnant. How about we split the difference- before you got pregnant, the scabs were probably dried milk. Now that you're pregnant, they're either milk or colostrum, or a milk-colostrum blend. Either way you look at it, your breasts just don't want to give up producing something!

    And does anyone know how to unplug the harder to get pieces?
    Have you tried using moist heat? Warm washcloth, warm shower/bath? Do they come off any easier then?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    Well I do usually only pick at them after a shower because it's easier then.... but I can still see some down in the pores that I can't get at. I just worry they are too plugged and that it's gonna cause issues later on.

    I was sort of hoping that the pressure of the milk coming in would just force them out, but that is probably wishful thinking lol. And I don't want to start of bfing with any issues this time. I don't think the baby would appreciate having to suck out a bunch of dried milk things lol. And I am hoping this baby will latch properly from the start so that I don't have to have that first bout of pain with my nipples getting cracked/scabbed/and bleeding. But I am thinking something like this might offset a good first latch if the baby can't get colostrum out properly right off.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    I was sort of hoping that the pressure of the milk coming in would just force them out, but that is probably wishful thinking lol.
    Actually, this sounds like a very likely outcome to me!

    I don't think the baby would appreciate having to suck out a bunch of dried milk things lol.
    I really doubt that he'll mind. Milk from the breast isn't the homogenized, pastuerized, filtered substance that we get from the grocery store- it can be a lot more clumpy and lumpy. My parents both grew up on dairy farms and they told me that a lot of lumps and strings of coagulated milk need to be filtered out before the milk even gets to the milk truck.

    And I am hoping this baby will latch properly from the start so that I don't have to have that first bout of pain with my nipples getting cracked/scabbed/and bleeding.
    You might want to contact a lactation consultant (preferably an IBCLC) now and set up an appointment during your baby's first few days. I think hands-on help is the best way to avoid problems!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    We have a lactation consultant who comes to you at the hospital and even with her help last time my son had a little trouble latching at first. We thought maybe he was tounge tied like me, but he just had trouble with the suck motion at first. He has always had a more shallow latch too, but with time after trying to fix the problem my nipples just eventually got used to it.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    I went to move the thread and I wasn't sure where to put it either!

    Another possibility is nipple blebs, which are basically little blister-like white spots where the skin is blocking the milk pores. The link has suggestions for treatment, which are essentially what you're already doing with the moist heat and loosening the skin with a clean fingernail. Expressing milk or colostrum can also help clear them out.

    If you're not having pain, they're probably nothing to worry about at this point. Chances are the suction from your baby nursing will clear out any plugs when the time comes. Working with a IBCLC to make sure your baby is latching well from the beginning and varying nursing positions will also help.
    Last edited by @llli*LLLKaren; September 25th, 2009 at 03:40 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    I think this is all normal. I know that after I stopped nursing Ds1 I continued to be able to express a bit of milk even up to a few years after weaning. Since it's been much less time than that for you and since you are pregnant again I think your breasts just didn't stop producing totally and you are seeing dried milk.

    I'm sure it will all work it's way out when it's time to latch on you second LO!
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and


    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  10. #10

    Default Re: Not sure where to put this question

    Thanks everyone. I hope you are all right, and what you say makes sense. It's just nice to get that confirmation from others that it is ok.

    I have tried to express a little just to see if I could and nothing comes out. When I was leaking last pregnancy early on I was able to squeeze it out. I don't know if it's the plugs or just that it's not happening often enough that I can just express on command.

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