During nursing, your nipple’s pores may get blocked, resulting in a milk bleb (milk blister). It occurs when a bit of skin or some congealed breast milk blocks a pore. Most milk blisters respond well to warm compresses and consistent breastfeeding or pumping at home. How do you treat a milk blister? Let’s find out!
What is a Milk Blister?
When a bit of skin or a little quantity of solidified breast milk blocks your nipple pore, a milk bleb or milk blister forms. It causes your nipple duct to get plugged, which results in milk backing up. Breastfeeding mothers are prone to this condition. Milk blebs cause your nipples to leak milk and may even cause mastitis (breast infection).
Both the nipple (where the bleb forms) and the surrounding breast tissue might hurt while a woman is nursing. While nursing or pumping, the discomfort increases. Even if no discomfort is experienced, some persons may see a little elevation of the skin around their nipple.
Blebs on milk often go away after being treated at home. Sometimes a medical professional may need to drain it.
Unlike a frictional nipple blister, this is not produced by rubbing. This blister, often known as a “blood blister,” is produced by excessive rubbing and is often the result of an ill-fitting nipple shield, a pump, or an improperly latched infant. The cause of this blister is irritation of the nipple from rubbing together, rather than a clogged milk duct. See this page for tips on how to treat nipple wounds. Herpes virus may also create lesions that look like blisters on the nipple or the breast.
A milk duct blockage (as opposed to skin blocking the duct) may also generate a white spot on the nipple. The clog might be a “string” of fattier, semi solidified milk or a small, dry clump of hardened milk. The first kind of blockage in a milk duct may usually be worked loose by breastfeeding or manual expression, or it can be scraped off the milk duct’s surface with a fingernail. The second kind can usually be extracted manually from the milk duct, and avoiding saturated fats will help prevent this kind of blockage from happening again. Repeated cases of mastitis are linked to both of these milk duct occlusion scenarios.
What Causes Milk Blisters?
Milk blebs are brought on by the following:
- Inefficient milk drainage from the breast occurs when the infant does not adequately latch on. The act of an infant sucking on a mother’s breast is called a latch. Because of this, your milk will back up and your nipple ducts will get clogged.
- Wearing a breast flange or shield that is too small may lead to friction on your nipple, which can lead to a milk blister if you use a breast pump. The plastic flange or covering that goes over your breast when you pump milk.
- If you’re producing more breast milk than your baby needs, the excess might lead to a plugged duct or milk blister.
- Tight bras or other forms of breast compression: Breast and nipple discomfort may be caused by wearing underwired bras, carrying heavy bags, or sleeping on your stomach. Milk ducts and blebs get blocked due to this pressure.
Treatment of Milk Blisters
Moist heat before breastfeeding, clearing the skin from the milk duct, nursing or pumping with a hospital-grade pump, and medicine to promote healing are the four stages recommended for treating a milk blister. This process may need to be repeated daily (or longer) until the clogged duct entrance is permanently unclogged. More in-depth recommendations are provided below.
- Use heat: dab the milk bleb with a warm towel or heating pad several times a day. Do it as close to mealtime as possible.
- Apply olive oil on the milk bleb to ease the dry skin on your nipple. Use a cotton swab to apply the oil, and then relax for 20 or 30 minutes while it does its work. Put a towel or breast pad between your nipple and your shirt to avoid oil stains. The milk bleb may be exfoliated with a fresh washcloth when the allotted time has passed.
- To unclog the pore, exfoliate the skin by rubbing a warm, damp towel over it in a circular manner. This step follows heating the skin to make it more pliable.
- Immediately after applying heat, nurse on the breast where the milk blister is located using a hospital-grade pump.
- Breast compression and hand expression toward the nipple might assist you release any thickened milk that has been stuck in the duct before nursing. Milk that has solidified (often with the consistency of toothpaste) may be secreted from this duct in the form of clumps or threads.
When will a milk bleb disappear?
Once the skin is removed, a chunk of thick, stringy milk may emerge from the clogged pore. When this occurs, just use clean hands to remove it. You may also have noticed the discomfort has subsided and the whitehead has disappeared. In order to repair the pore, you may need to use antibiotic ointment or just keep the region clean and dry for a few days.
If the milk bleb persists after these home remedies, you should see a doctor. It might develop into mastitis if not treated. A clogged milk duct is the root cause of mastitis, an infection of the breast. Antibiotics are necessary.
Can I pop a milk blister?
Milk blisters are not something you should pop. Your doctor may suggest emptying a milk blister if necessary. Your doctor or nurse should perform this for you in an office environment with a clean needle. Don’t risk infection by trying to drain or pop it on your own.
Can a milk blister go away by itself?
Milk blebs can self-heal, that much is certain. If your kid has a bleb on the breast and insists on feeding, the skin may eventually peel off. Regular breastfeeding helps to drain milk and prevents pores from becoming blocked. Using the other self-care strategies described above may be beneficial as well.
How long does it take for a milk blister to go away?
Within 48 hours, most milk blebs disappear. Clearing out a milk bleb is necessary to prevent the milk duct from being blocked. Mastitis may develop if the milk duct becomes blocked.
Even if you’ve breastfed previously, you may find that it’s difficult this time around. Milk blisters are a frequent breastfeeding problem that may be both painful and frustrating. Warm compresses and frequent nursing or pumping sessions may help with most milk blebs, and you can treat them at home.
If it doesn’t work, you could require help from a medical professional. Changing your baby’s posture when nursing, keeping your nipples clean, and not overfilling your breasts are all ways to avoid future milk blebs.