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Witch's milkBACK

Ever so often I see situations where young infants are brought with enlarged breast tissue. On occasions they are inflamed. Enquiries reveal that "the lady" massaging the baby tries to squeeze out the milk from the breast tissue. How funny!! Many mothers would refrain from breast-feeding their newly born and allow "the lady" to express out the milk from their infant's under-developed breast tissue. Despite repeatedly requesting the mother and the extended family not to try to remove the milk from the infant's breast tissue this practice persists causing problems for the baby. In this blog I thought of updating the lay public.

Post birth of the infant the mother's female hormones are no longer acting on the baby. This results in a transient change of the hormonal milieu of the baby which results in the production of a little amount of milk in the breast tissue. Once someone tries to xpress out this milk the breast tissue gets stimulated and starts producing more and the breast tissue starts growing. This results in the enlargement of the breast area. In case excessive milk production starts it can get infected and damage the underlying breast tissue.

My advice is:-
  • Do not allow anyone to express the milk from an infant's breast.
  • In case the breast tissue is inflamed and enlarged:
    • Apply ice over the breast tissue for 5-10 minutes every hour till the inflammation subsides.
    • Consult your doctor if the inflammation does not subside.

I know it is an age old practice and very difficult to change the mind set of people. However the correct advice needs to be shared with them so that problems do not arise..

Dr Rajiv K Khandelwal Consultant Paediatrician