Q&A: How long does ‘witch’s milk’ last

Posted in Newborns and tagged , .

Question & Answer

Ahhhh newborn babies are so very, very cute….and also so very, very weird. Did you know that babies can produce breast milk? Well, you do now.

Witch’s milk or neonatal milk, is milk that comes from a newborn baby’s breasts. And it can happen to both boys and girls.

The name comes from an old folklore tale that thought witches used to steal this milk from sleeping newborns for all sorts of witchy uses. Hence the name witch’s milk’. Where do they come up with this stuff?

Why does my baby have breast milk?

Seeing swollen, enlarged and sometimes lumpy breasts in a baby, whilst potentially alarming, is also very normal.

Before your baby is born, they are exposed to all kinds of hormones from your body. There are high levels of hormones present right before birth, and some of these are what make it possible for you to breastfeed.

Their little bodies are sensitive to these changes and it has a flow-on effect. Some babies will just have the swelling, some will produce a small amount of milk, and some will be completely unaffected.

Either way, rest assured it is not a cause for concern.

Should I do anything to make it go away?

Definitely not! Just like when you’re trying to make your own milk dry up, you don’t want to encourage further production. So try to resist the urge to squeeze or touch your baby’s breast area.

As your baby’s hormone levels drop, the tissue will shrink and any milk production will cease. This process usually only takes a few weeks.

If you notice any redness, other abnormal discharge, or fever in your little one, call your doctor right away to rule out infection.

Otherwise, relax and take in the weird with the beautiful!

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