As an expectant mother, you are obviously expecting to produce breast milk, even if your baby will be formula fed. But then imagine waking up one day to a milky substance from your little baby’s nipple. You will probably freak out if you have no knowledge of the condition called Witch’s milk or neonatal galactorrhea.
Well, here is to reassure you that Witch’s milk is not common but can be normal and hardly a call for concern. The condition can occur in both male and female children and its more common in full term babies than in pre-term babies since the latter tend to have little breast tissues.
Most cases of Witch’s milk are caused by trans placental maternal hormones. This basically means that while your baby was in the womb, high levels of estrogen passed through his bloodstream, causing enlarged breast tissues and a milky discharge.
In rare cases, galactorrhea can be associated with conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperprolactinemia, certain medications and cancer. That is why you should report symptoms of Witch’s milk to your doctor so that all other illnesses can be ruled.
Witch’s milk typically resolves on its own after about two months and treatment isn’t always necessary. But, it is of the utmost importance for you to avoid stimulating your baby’s nipple because it encourages milk production. Besides, drawing the milk out can increase the discharge and also irritate the breast tissues, thereby resulting in abscesses or mastitis.
Nevertheless, your baby will need treatment if his condition is caused by thyroid problems or cancer. In that case, your team of doctors will investigate further, make a diagnosis and educate you on the best treatment options for your child.
The bottom line is that witch’s milk is uncommon but can be normal and its rarely an indication that your newborn baby has an underlying condition. All you need to do is to report to your pediatrician and also keep an eye on your baby to see if his symptoms are changing or worsening.