The main hormone in a woman’s body is estrogen so it’s safe to assume that some of the estrogen is transferred to and effects the baby. Once the baby is born it takes about 2 weeks for the estrogen to work it’s self out of their bodies. The hormones cause breast enlargement in infants, both male and female. It can also cause infants to lactate, most commonly known as witch’s milk. In female infants estrogen can cause temporary changes in the vaginal area such as: Puffy or swollen vagina, white discharge, or even light bleeding almost like a menstrual cycle. All of these things are extremely normal and go away on there own a few weeks after birth.
These changes in your newborn can be frightening if it was something you were unaware of. I remember when Jellybean was born and the first diaper I changed his urine was tinged with blood. I was horrified and thought there was something wrong and paged for the nurses to come. This time around I was slightly more aware so I wasn’t as concerned about Littlebean’s swollen breasts. The one thing I did find strange when I did my research was about newborns possibly lactating, witch’s milk. It seemed strange to me that such a thing could happen to a tiny newborn. Sure enough with Littlebeans swollen breast came witch’s milk. I decided I needed to do more research on witch’s milk. Witch’s milk is said to be brought on by the mothers hormones before birth and hormones passed through breastfeeding, as well pituitary and thyroid hormone surge in the infant once born. Witches milk occurs in about 5% of infants and can last up until 2 months after birth. Luckily for Littlebean it only lasted about 2 weeks. It is very important not to squeeze or massage the swollen breasts of a newborn because it can cause infection or abscess, such as mastitis, under the skin. When I told my mother and Marcus both of them thought I was joking until they saw it for themselves. I think Marcus was slightly more disturbed because Littlebean is a boy. I told them about the research I had read and how it was normal and would go away on it’s own, which it did. My only conclusion as to why Jellybean didn’t have witch’s milk is because he was supplemented quite a bit in the first few weeks of life, he wouldn’t have been getting as much hormone from me through breastfeeding.
It’s always nice to be aware and do your own research. There is so much about birth and newborns, hell even parenting in general, that no one ever tells you. It’s nice to be prepared so your not thinking something horrible is wrong. So for you parents with lactating newborns you aren’t alone. As strange and slightly horrifying as it might be know that it’s normal and one day it will make a great sorry to tell on their wedding day.