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Milk Blister


Struggling with Milk blisters?

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 due to 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 properly, or not pumping properly.

A breastfeeding bleb can heal on its own after a few weeks, but sometimes the pain is excruciating during breastfeeding.

Important fact ~ Herpes blisters can be mistaken for a bleb, so 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


milk blister, mom and dad with baby, breastfed baby

1. A blister occurs when some skin grows over a milk duct opening. This 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?

Oversupply.

- Unnecessary pressure (usually because of wearing tight bras).

Latching on problems.

Sucking problems.

- Thrush (yeast infection):. This tends to cause more than one spot at a time. Moms also don’t feel relief after expressing or breastfeeding, but a burning sensation instead. 

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 until 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. The blister might open on its own, but if it doesn't, you can:

- Rub the nipple with a moist, warm facecloth.

Use breast massage.

- Use a sterilized needle to puncture the blister. Soak the needle in rubbing alcohol for 5 minutes before using it.

Always wash your hands and affected breast before doing the above!

3. Clear the duct: Get your baby to breastfeed afterwards, this will drain the duct (you could also pump). Don’t get a fright if you notice some thick, stringy milk while expressing.

4. Prevent infection: Use an antibacterial cream (Bacitracin) after nursing and wash again before next feed.

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 a fever.

- If you have any oozing or pus coming from your nipple.



Milk Blister / Duct Video





Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with milk blisters breastfeeding

- Using a nipple shield

- Blocked milk ducts

- Breast massage

- Thrush

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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.