witches' milk

You might notice that your newborn baby has a small lump in the breast located right under the nipple. It is typically the size of a small marble or less, and it is apparently not painful. This is normal newborn breast enlargement. Parents are usually more startled by this when it occurs in a boy baby. They are even more startled if they press on the lump and a small amount of white, milky fluid exudes from the nipple! This is termed (in lay usage, at least) "witches' milk." It is a harmless discharge from the rudimentary milk glands present in both boy and girl babies at birth. It rapidly disappears and that is the end of it. The breast swelling, which is due to stimulation of the breast tissue by high levels of mothers' female hormones. These remain in the baby's system for a few weeks.

It is highly advisable that parents not massage or unnecessarily manipulate this breast lump. It is possible to introduce bacteria into the milk glands this way and cause an infection with abscess formation.

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