I could remember feeding my first child and realizing that my hair was soaking wet. I didn’t know what it was at first; I was thinking it was just sweat until I realized it was coming from my armpit.
Staring at this huge lump through the mirror and thinking, ‘What could this be?’ So, I squeezed it and to my surprise, milk squirted out. I thought maybe I had a third nipple growing in my armpit.
Since most women are afraid to discuss the topic of breast milk coming out of armpits, I did my research to find answers to why is it happening and how to prevent it. Read on
Breast Milk Coming Out Of Armpits
Breast milk coming out of armpits might sound surprising to a lot of moms, but it’s more common than most realize.
I thought maybe I have grown a third nipple since it wasn’t there before I had my first child, it was new.
But when I went to see my doctor, she said that your milk line can run from your thighs up into your armpits and as a nursing mom this is quite normal.
She further stated that I’m lucky mine leaks and will relieve the milk, that in some cases some women will have this but it won’t relieve the milk leading to all kinds of other problems like clogged ducts, mastitis, etc.
Why Does It Happen?
During pregnancy, the level of hormones that helps the body produce milk is 10-20 times higher than it was before pregnancy.
A high level of progesterone, estrogen, and prolactin triggers your milk ducts to expand quite extensively.
Scientifically, breast milk can come out of your armpits and this happens because milk glands work just like the body’s sweat glands.
There are supernumerary or accessory nipples that can run from the armpit to the groin as stated by Priscila Medina a registered nurse (RN) and international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).
It is very common for human breast tissue in the armpit to become swollen and leak when a woman’s milk becomes to comes out first and she’s engorged.
Breast tissue can grow all the way up into the axilla (armpit) and, just like normal breast tissue, can produce milk.
And it’s the same quality of milk supply from your breasts, so your baby can drink your pit milk! But you should speak to your doctor about how to do this in a sanitary way.
Extra breast tissue is also termed Polymastia. A 1999 paper published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that about six percent of women have polymastia.
At times, it will have an extra nipple or areola but this doesn’t happen often, and a woman may only realize she has extra tissue only when she is pregnant.
How To Know If You’ll Develop Milk Pit
According to Priscila Medina, she said there’s no way one will if will develop the milk pit phenomenon until after pregnancy or childbirth.
Since human milk glands essentially develop and begin working only after a woman become pregnant, you can expect to know this around the second trimester or as she approaches the third trimester.
In my case, breast milk started coming out of my armpits after childbirth when I started breastfeeding. During this time, I noticed that each time I feed my daughter on the right side it always got wet.
I wasn’t too concerned about it until one day when it was super sore, so I looked through the mirror and saw a big lump.
I was stunned, as I touched the lump it was super sensitive, as I applied a bit more pressure on it, milk squirted out of it. I was amazed, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I also noticed two to three other spots that weren’t as large as the first that often leak milk. I was sure that if I squeeze them too, it will surely leak down my armpit.
How To Ease Armpit Pain?
Unfortunately, having your breast milk coming out of your armpits can be quite painful. As you may know, it is not the leaking itself that hurts, rather it is the engorgement (swelling) of the breast tissue which is so much that it begins to leak.
There are effective ways by which you can help ease armpit pain from leaking breast milk. Here are a few methods that I found very helpful
- By expressing your milk
- Using warm compresses
- Use of Epsom salt soaks
- Warm bath and showers
- Massage the lumps (at least a few times a day)
- Use of doctor-approved over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
If you’re lactating mom and you’re experiencing very sore, swollen, tender breasts or tissue up into your armpit and if the treatment you’re taking isn’t alleviating the pain, it’s best advised to get in touch with an IBCLC. For any breastfeeding troubles, don’t die in silence or put it off!
A persistently blocked duct can result in mastitis or a breast abscess.
In rare cases, the presence of a lump in the breast or armpit might be something more serious, like breast cancer.
To be certain, your healthcare provider might perform an ultrasound, mammogram, CT scan, MRI scan, or needle biopsy on the lump. The good news is none of these procedures should affect breastfeeding your baby.
Alternatively, try any of the above-mentioned tips. I found massaging quite helpful. I usually ask my husband to help massage it while I nurse to ease the pain.
Do not worry, the lumps and leaking should go away once you stop regularly breastfeeding. Lindsay also says “Once you wean weaned and done with the breastfeeding phase, the lumps will go away and there will no longer be leaked milk.
Well, in my experience, the lumps began to form again each time I got pregnant, and then leak while I’m breastfeeding, and effectively stop when I’m done with breastfeeding. How Weird is it!”
- Why Do My Breasts Leak When Baby Cries? Explained
- Breastfeeding Tips For First-Time Moms
- How To Deal With No Breast Milk After Delivery
- When To Start Drinking Mother’s Milk Tea To Boost Milk Supply
We hope this article, has given in-depth knowledge to answer the question of breast milk coming out of armpits. Unfortunately, most women are afraid to talk about this because it kinda makes them feel like a sort of a mutant.
I decided to share this because I knew I can’t be the only one going through this. And since I haven’t heard or seen anyone else talk about this. I had to ‘take one for the team’ and help discuss this topic.
The main objective for sharing this is that I didn’t want other moms to feel ashamed, alone, or be worried about the situation. If you’re a nursing mom, and this is your story, you don’t have to worry, this is normal.
Our bodies are created amazingly! And being a mother brings out so many surprises.
We advise, you always consult your doctor just to be sure everything is okay and you’re not having any clogging, unbearable pain, or irregularity of any kind.
If your doctor certifies that all is well, just embrace it with good faith because this won’t go away anytime soon. Like I mentioned earlier, mine lasted until I was completely done breastfeeding my baby.