Finding blood in your breast milk is understandably frightening, but there's no need to panic. Of course, it makes sense to ask, "What do I do if there's blood in my breast milk?" because you're probably panicking. Are you OK to keep nursing? Should you see a doctor right away?
According to La Leche League, blood in breast milk won't hurt your baby, and it's OK to continue nursing — even if your milk is tinged pink. So, if you notice blood in your breast milk while you're pumping, don't worry. If, on the other hand, your baby spits up a little pink blood, it's important to determine who's actually bleeding.What To Expect Your First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel noted that if your nipples are cracked, even almost imperceptibly so, they're the most likely culprit. If you don't find cracks in your skin, call your pediatrician, but keep in mind that your nipples may still be the cause — some lacerations may simply be too hard to see.
Cracked nipples are the most common reason your breast milk might contain a little blood, reported Verywell. Though you can keep breastfeeding, you should take extra good care of your skin right now. What To Expect Your First Year recommended applying lanolin after nursing, and wetting tea bags to place on your sore nipples. The authors also added that any broken skin is vulnerable to infection, so watch out for signs of mastitis, which can itself lead to a bit of blood in your milk. Though you should absolutely treat mastitis, you're also OK to keep nursing while waiting out the infection.
Romper spoke with Angie Natero, BSN and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) of Bright Beginnings, who strongly encourages women with cracked or bleeding nipples to seek out a lactation consultant. "This is a indication that something is off with breastfeeding, and it's important mom and baby are assessed," she notes. Prevention with "a correct deep latch" is ideal. "Breastfeeding truly shouldn't hurt," Natero says, and refers moms to the advice on Kelly Mom for treating wounded nipples.
No one's thrilled to find a pink streak in their breast milk, but the problem is common and won't impact your baby's feeding. If your nipples are cracked, give them some TLC, and slather on the lanolin. Don't forget to call your doctor or reach out to a lactation consultant for guidance.