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An Embarassing Question about Nipples

  1. #1
    MLBW Guest

    Question An Embarassing Question about Nipples

    I apologize in advance as this post is going to be a bit TMI.

    I am posting in the "Feeding Baby" section as my question deals with nipples etc. However, I haven't breastfed for more than 10 months.

    So, I already posted that I'm still lactating once in awhile even though I haven't BF since the beginning of May 2008. Several people remarked that this is "normal" and that women sometimes still lactate for years after stopping BF.

    My question involves this sort of layer of yellow crust that appears on the top of my nipples. It is itchy and and painful when removed. I thought that it might be some sort of dried milk but I'm not sure. The matter is found within the crevices of the actual nipple tissue and appears as tiny yellow pellets that sometimes range to a white, brown or black color. The matter is somewhat waxy but sometimes very hard. It is impossible to remove with just a wash cloth and is painful to remove. Once I remove it, my nipples aren't as itchy but are still painful. Also, my right side tends to have more problems with this than my left and when I was BF, my right side was my "milk makin'" side--the left kinda kept up but....

    Has anyone had any experiences with this?

  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong
    When you stop breastfeeding you breasts slowly involute. (Breast involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the breast shrinks because it's not needed anymore.)

    As this happens the milk tends to become thicker and yellower again - sort of like colostrum. It is quite common during pregnancy for small amounts of colostrum to leak from the nipples and form yellow crusts on the nipple or in the cracks on the nipple. I believe that this may be what is happening to you.

    Normally this wouldn't be a problem but you are also complaining of pain. I'm not sure what the pain could be from. One idea is that you may have thrush on your nipples. One way to find this out is to wash your nipples in a solution of 1 cup water with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar added. If the solution helps you feel better then the pain is likely to be from thrush and a visit to the doctor is advised. If the solution makes not difference the problem is unlikely to be thrush. (The solution changes the acidity of the nipple's environment and the thrush is temporarily no longer able to survive and so the pain is reduced.)

    It is not uncommon for mothers to have milk for many months (or even years) after breastfeeding stops, especially if they breastfed long term.

    Best wishes,
    La Leche League Leader

  3. #3
    MLBW Guest
    Thanks Sarah,

    I have a question:

    Is there anything I can do to make the milk leakage go away? Breastfeeding was an unpleasant experience for me (all 5 months of it) and I would like to leave that and all memories of it behind. I find the yellow buildup from this to be a bit gross.

    I know that women who choose not to breastfeed can receive some type of shot in the hospital to prevent their milk from coming in.

    Another lactation consultant told me that taking Sudafed PE would have a similar effect--I have a box of the medicine but haven't taken it--do you think that would be worth a shot?

    Thanks for the advice.

  4. #4
    mumto2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    DB, Hong Kong
    I would be heading straight to a doctor I think, there could be many other reasons that have nothing to do with breastfeeding for this to be happening and think it would serve you well to just get peace of mind. You could also ask for the meds to stop you producing milk while you were there. Best of luck :-)

  5. #5
    MLBW Guest
    Thanks mumto2. I've already spoken with my gynae. about this. And I've had blood tests conducted to check my hormone levels (prolactin especially) and am still waiting for analysis. It is not really "normal" for me to be lactating like this when I haven't BF for almost a year--no matter what people might say. Now, if I had BF for over a year and then had been not BF for a year, it might seem more feasible. Hopefully, after my blood test analysis comes back (another month or so) I will have some more concrete answers. As long as the Sudafed PE won't hurt anything, I think I might just try taking it to see if it helps stop the leakage.

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