A blocked nipple pore “milk blister” also called a milk bleb, breastfeeding blister or nipple blister is actually a very common breastfeeding problem.
It may appear on the nipple and/or the areola as just a white, clear or yellow dot, but might sometimes stand out as a large blister. Most of the time it is quite painful on the tip of the nipple, but some moms feel the pain further behind inside the breast.
If the spot is brown or red mom might be suffering from a blood blister, which is caused through friction while breastfeeding and not caused by a blocked duct. Reasons for this type of blood blister would be latching on difficulties , not using a nipple shield or pump properly.
A breastfeeding bleb can heal on it’s own after a few weeks, but sometimes the pain is tremendously bad during breast feeding.
~ Important fact ~
Herpes blisters can be mistaken for a bleb, consult your doctor if you know you have a history with Herpes I or II…they are infectious and will infect baby.
Two types of blebs
1. A blister occurs when some skin grows over a milk duct opening, and then keeps the milk from coming out, causing a blockage and blister. The spot is usually raised with visible fluid underneath.
2. A white spot occurs when a milk clot (dry milk) obstruction within the milk duct is stopping the flow of milk.
What causes a milk blister?
- Unnecessary pressure (usually because of wearing tight bras)
- Thrush (yeast infection) ~ Tends to cause more than one spot at a time and also moms don’t feel relief after expressing or breastfeeding…and may experience a burning sensation after feeding. Read more on thrush symptoms here.
Milk blister treatment
The treatment of a milk breast blister is similar to that of plugged ducts…
The following can be done for a few days before the blocked nipple pore clears.
1. Moist heat ~ An Epsom salt soak done 4 times daily (one handful of Epsoms with every 2L of water) Remember to rinse your breasts afterwards just to remove the saltiness. You can add a moist hot compress after pumping or breastfeeding too. Cold compression can be useful as a pain reliever between feedings.
2. To open the blister ~ This might happen on it's own, but if it doesn’t you can:
- Wash your hands and breast before attempting this.
- Rub the nipple with a moist, warm facecloth.
- Use a sterilized needle to puncture the blister (soak the needle in rubbing alcohol for 5 minutes before using)
3. Clear the duct ~ Get baby to breastfeed afterwards, this will drain the duct (you could pump also) Don’t get a fright if you notice thick, stringy milk while expressing.
4. Prevent infection ~ Use an antibacterial cream (Bacitracin) after nursing (wash again before next feed) Also other ways of preventing a nipple blister:
- Lecithin supplements
- Massage your breasts with GSE (grapefruit seed extract)
- Vitamin E ointment (always remove before nursing)
- Keep your nipple moist with olive oil or lansinoh lotion
- Avoid using soap on your nipples (your nipples produce natural oils for cleaning)
Call your doctor if
- You have fever
- If you have any oozing or pus coming from your nipple.
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