Constant worrying about the little one is motherhood, from the moment a mum conceives even till birth and beyond. This is what actress Sheila Sim discovered after giving birth to her firstborn.
“I thought I was fearless until I became a mom. The number of things that can scare me [is] endless,” captioned Sheila, alongside an image of a blood-stained tissue via Instagram stories.
Singapore actress Shiela Sim shares on social media her first experiences as a new mum. | Image source: Instagram screengrab/sheila_sim
Actress Sheila Sim On Motherhood
The newly minted mum shared that she was giving her newborn, Layla, a massage when the little one suddenly “regurgitate” blood.
Not knowing what it was, especially with her first child, Sheila said the incident “scare[d] the [explicit] out of [her]”, though, she later found out that the blood came from her nipples.
Sharing in a separate Instagram post that Layla had just turned a week old on 29 September, Sheila wrote that the worries and anxiety of a mother can be difficult for a husband to fully understand, no matter how much he tries.
“I agree, we worry way too much and worry way ahead of ourselves. But I guess that’s just how mothers are,” she reflected.
“I accept that I will have no control over the days and nights ahead of me for the rest of my life, thus I will learn to embrace every day that comes. Some days will be better/worse than others, but I celebrate every day that [Layla’s] in my life.”
Causes of Blood in Breast Milk
Blood in breast milk is a common breastfeeding problem, especially for first-time breastfeeding mums. Traces of blood can be found in pumped breastmilk or in the baby’s mouth after breastfeeding.
They can present themselves in shades of pink, red, orange, or brown. Certain food dyes can also tint the color of the breast milk.
However, blood in breast milk does not always indicate a serious problem that warrants dashing to the doctor immediately. It helps to recognise why this happens so that you can tackle it as it comes.
Here are some possible causes of blood in breast milk:
1. Damaged/Cracked nipples
The common cause of finding blood in breast milk is damaged or cracked nipples. This happens when a baby does not latch on properly which can irritate the breasts, causing cracking and pain, and eventually bleeding.
When a baby breastfeeds, he or she will take in some of that blood from the bleeding nipples.
Here are some tips to help ease the discomfort:
- Apply a cool or warm compress to your nipples after breastfeeding
- Wear a breast shell inside your bra to protect your nipples
- Avoid waiting until your baby is overly hungry to feed — it can cause him or her to feed more aggressively
- Breastfeed from a breast that is not sore or tender
2. Broken capillaries
Capillaries are small blood vessels in your body, also present in your breasts. They can become damaged when you do not use a breast pump correctly or if there are other damages to your breasts, causing blood to leak into your breast milk.
If you are using your hands to express breast milk, do so gently to release the milk. Remember to squeeze only the breast and not your nipple. If your milk flow stops or slows down, be mindful not to force it and switch to your other breast instead.
Image source: iStock
Mastitis is an infection of the breastfeeding mother’s breast tissue. Typically, this infection is caused by bacteria entering the milk duct through a break or crack in the nipple. It can also occur if the plugged or blocked milk duct isn’t treated accordingly.
Other symptoms such as redness, swelling, pain, and fever are usually present with mastitis. Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated can help to improve the condition. To prevent mastitis (which is treatable), breastfeed your baby more often.
4. Benign intraductal papilloma
Bleeding can be sometimes caused by small lumps on the lining of your milk ducts. The growth of these benign tumours can bleed, which causes blood in breast milk. You may be able to feel a small growth behind or next to your nipple if you touch your breasts.
The risk for cancer increases if you have multiple papillomas, but a single one is not necessarily associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.