Infant Breast Buds

Infant Breast Buds
Q:
Infant Breast Buds

What are breast buds?

A:

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Just before a child is born, a burst of the mother’s hormones is passed to them. This is one of the finishing touches preparing their lungs to breathe air when they are born. These hormones include estrogen and androgens, and can have several transient side effects, including neonatal breast buds. Some little girls may have a cloudy white vaginal discharge, or even a mini-period – with blood appearing at the vagina during the first week as estrogen levels fall rapidly. Both boys and girls may develop newborn acne, between about 3 to 4 weeks of age.

When newborns have breast buds, real, mature breast tissue forms, creating firm lumps under the nipples. Some babies even leak some real milk from their breasts. This is colorfully named witch’s milk, a term which captures the magic of the situation, but inappropriately attributes sinister and supernatural overtones to this natural wonder. Breast buds commonly occur in children of both sexes.

Breast buds disappear gradually, usually over the first several months of life, as the hormones and their effects vanish. Unless the breasts become red, hard, or warm (indicating possible mastitis, or breast infection), breast buds are nothing to worry about.

Reviewed by: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, Liat Simkhay Snyder
Last reviewed: May 14, 2008
Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

 

Comments

  • María

    My baby is 5 1/2 months old and still has them. Is this normal? She doesn’t seem bothered by them and the nipples look normal.