My husband and I were scared when my three-day old baby spit up a small amount of blood. Then, only moments later, she threw up what looked like a large quantity of blood. Horrified, we called an ambulance and spent the morning in the nearest emergency room. We were thankful to learn that our daughter was perfectly healthy. We were surprised to learn that the blood she threw up was mine, passed to her during a nursing session. Here’s what you might not know about cracked and bleeding nipples and the breastfed baby.
It isn’t uncommon for a breastfed baby to spit up blood if mom has cracked or bleeding nipples.
If mom’s nipples are cracked or bleeding, expect to see some of that blood in baby’s spit up. Kellymom notes that you may also see blood in baby’s diaper or stool if mom has cracked or bleeding nipples. When you see blood in your child’s diaper or in spit up, you may panic. However, if baby is otherwise healthy, cracked/bleeding nipples are likely the cause. Do discuss the situation with your child’s healthcare provider, but try not to panic.
Your milk may have a pinkish tint to it if you have cracked or bleeding nipples.
If you opt to pump milk in order to give your breasts time to heel from a cracked or bleeding nipple, don’t be surprised if the expressed milk has a pinkish tint to it. This is not harmful to baby, and you can use or freeze the milk as you would normally.
Blood in your breast milk won’t hurt baby.
While blood doesn’t taste good, I was pleased to learn from the pediatrician in the emergency room that the blood baby ingested through my breast milk wasn’t harmful to her. In addition, he noted that she may have actually consumed very little blood, but that the red color was quick to taint any spit up she did have.
Perfecting your baby’s latch or treating the underlying issue is essential.
In my case, the reason Jessica was spitting up blood and the reason that I had cracked and bleeding nipples was because her latch wasn’t correct. When we corrected her latch, my nipples healed. According to Breastfeeding Basics, other causes for cracked or bleeding nipples include thrush, a tongue-tied infant, or an infection. Discuss the situation and your concerns with both your and your child’s healthcare provider as soon as possible.
While you may be scared if baby spits up or has blood in their stool, cracked or bleeding nipples may be the culprit if your child is breastfed. Be sure to mention this to your child’s healthcare provider, so they can accurately assess the situation.
Kellymom; What causes blood in baby’s stool?; http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/bloodystool.html
Breastfeeding Basics; Sore, Cracked Nipples; http://www.breastfeedingbasics.org/cgi-bin/deliver.cgi/content/Normal/sorenipples.html