Now, much like the breastfeeding mom who was shocked when she pumped pink “strawberry milk,” Lindsay’s story is helping TikTokers realize just how amazing the human body truly is!
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Lindsay, who’s made it her mission to “empower breastfeeding moms everywhere” with her brand The Little Milk Bar, had no idea that armpits were capable of lactating until she experienced it herself.
According to Emily Brittingham — International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and volunteer breastfeeding counselor with the Australian Breastfeeding Association — it’s totally normal for the breast to have tissue that extends into your armpit.
“At six weeks gestation, when you were a tiny embryo in your mother’s womb, milk lines began to develop, starting from your underarms,” Brittingham wrote for BellyBelly.com. “These lines traveled down both sides of your torso and extended all the way to your groin.”
“From 16 weeks gestation, the ‘tails’ at both ends of these lines started to regress,” Brittingham continues.
“In some fetuses, though, the line doesn’t fully regress at either end and leaves the ‘tail.’ Tissue that extends into the armpit is called axillary tissue, or ‘the tail of Spence.'”
According to Brittingham, during pregnancy, the level of hormones that help create milk is 10 to twenty times higher — and it’s these hormones that trigger your milk ducts to expand extensively.
“The ducts begin to branch out within the breasts. They can stretch to reach any ‘tails’ of breast tissue along the milk line,” writes Brittingham. “If there’s extra breast tissue in your armpit, it’s possible there’ll be milk ducts, too.”
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While it’s not uncommon for armpits to produce milk in nursing women, milk ducts in the underarm can become engorged or clogged and can result in painful lumps.
To remedy this, Brittingham recommends using warm compresses, massages, warm baths and showers, and frequent milk removal.
“If there’s a more persistent lump that doesn’t change in size or shape with any of these methods, you should schedule a checkup with your doctor,” says Brittingham.
For TikTokers who had never heard of lactating armpits, Lindsay’s story came as quite a shock.
“My brain cannot comprehend this at all,” one user wrote.
“Why is motherhood so terrifying?” another viewer asked.
“Not me checking my armpits 24 weeks pregnant at 1:30 a.m.,” wrote another user.
“NORMALIZE WOMEN’S ANATOMY SO WE CAN JUST KNOW THINGS LIKE THIS FROM INTERACTING WITH OTHER WOMEN,” cried one user.
But whether you find Lindsay’s experience terrifying or fascinating, one thing is for certain: The human body is capable of extraordinary things!
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