Why does my baby have swollen breasts?

Is it normal for newborns to have swollen nipples and breast? And when should you see a doctor about it? Our GP answers your new parent questions...

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Here’s something you might not be aware of when it comes to your newborn baby. And that’s the fact that sometimes babies can be quite swollen around the breasts and nipples in those early first weeks.

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Mum KayeCee_And_Co on our forum found: “Matilda is 3 weeks tomorrow and I noticed today that her nipple areas are quite swollen.

“I looked it up on the internet and I think this is quite common. I am more curious as she does not seem too well (pooing too frequently).

“I’m taking her to the GP tomorrow but just wondering if anyone else’s little one had this, when it went and whether it was linked to an infection or anything?”

We asked our resident doctor, GP Philippa Kaye, who reassured us that this is not uncommon.

“Both baby boys and girls can have the appearance of, or looking like, they have small breasts. This is due to exposure to some maternal hormones while they were in the womb.

“They can continue to grow in the first few weeks and sometimes even milk or a milky discharge can come out. Again, these will go away on their own, often within a few weeks. Don’t squeeze them as this can irritate the skin.”

So, swollen breasts on your little one are generally nothing to worry about – unless, says Philippa, they become red, hot, painful or your baby develops a fever. Then. she advises, you should seek medical advice as it could mean that they have become infected.

Dr Philippa Kaye is a London GP who has written several books on pregnancy and childcare including The First Five Years. See www.drphilippakaye.com and follow her on twitter @drphilippakaye

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