Medical Definition of Witch's milk

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Witch's milk: A folk term for the milk that often comes from the breast of a newborn baby. This temporary phenomenon is due to stimulation of the baby's breasts by the mother's hormones that cross the placenta during pregnancy. The ability of the baby's breasts to respond in this fashion is a mark of baby born at (or near) full-term. The breast of a baby born prematurely cannot enlarge or produce witch's milk (in German, Hexenmilch).

The term "witch's milk" is sometimes applied broadly to milk from the nipple at any time other than during nursing. See also Galactorrhea.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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