December 23, 2020 5 min read

Whoever mentioned that “there is no use crying over spilled milk” obviously never pumped five ounces out of sore breasts and oops, accidentally spilled it!

Okay, for some super blessed mommies “breastfeeding” is their “superpower”. They never experience any discomfort, pain during the daily breastfeeding time. Hannah, a new mum proudly confesses, yes, latching hurts sometimes, but seeing my happy, well-fed baby, the pain is minuscule.

For some mommies though, breastfeeding is not a happy affair. They face a few challenges like parched skin, sore and itchy nipples, etc. Many new mammas often develop a nipple blister or pore which has a bump like form around the nipple area, commonly known as “milk blisters”. Now these painful white or yellow blebs can develop out of nowhere and in most cases are seen as un-problematic. But when these unwanted bumps start to interfere in the breastfeeding process; mums face discomfort physically and emotionally.

We have uncovered the nipple aka milk blister problem you might encounter, plus the remedies to fix this "ouch my breasts hurt like hell” situation.

Milk blisters, what is it?

Blebs or nipple blisters appears on the nipples in the form of white, clear and sometimes yellow bumps that stays and grows over the nipple area for few days or weeks. Nipple blebs or milk bleb are other terms used to describe them. Skin grows over a milk duct opening and behind it which causes irritation, pain, and inflammation during breastfeeding.

Nipple blisters can be categorized in two ways:

  • Latching or friction blisters

When babies suck at the nipple with repeated friction, a nipple blister can appear around the nipple area. This friction blister on nipple may occur when the baby doesn’t latch to the nipple properly. Babies sometimes rub their tongue and mouth abnormally against the nipple which can lead to the nipple irritation, inflammation and blister bumps.

  • Milk blisters

Milk bleb appears when the scaly, dead skin saturates a small amount of milk under the nipple area, only to close the nipple within a bleb. These blisters usually get formed when the milk duct is blocked or when there is a blocked nipple pore. Compared to latching blisters, milk blebs are painful and severe.

Common symptoms of a nipple blister

Initially, you may miss that tiny spot or bump around the nipple area because you are busy coping up with the new mamma duties. You might only notice the clear blister on nipple once it has become very painful. Do check these following blister signs, that could be giving you a hard time breastfeeding your newborn:

  • An abnormal bump appears on the tip of the nipple and area around the same. You can feel the bump when you run the finger around it.
  • A milk blister at the tip of the nipple is easy to identify which is clear or white in appearance.
  • An appearance of a small bulge occurs whenever you gently squeeze the nipple between the thumb and index finger. White milk blisters are easy to locate whenever you press the nipple area.
  • Lastly, you experience a stark discomfort and pain when breastfeeding the baby.

See the doctor, immediately

The following symptoms raise a red flag and you must consult the doctor before the blisters take the irksome mode:

  • The swelling near the nipple area is painful and the areola area feels hurtful too.
  • A yellow sticky substance (liquid) comes out of the nipple.
  • Bleeding nipples or blood blister on nipple. Redness around the nipple area.
  • Reduction or complete absence of milk from the nipple.
  • Irritation, burning sensation whenever feeding the baby.
  • Recurring nipple blisters because of the improper latching by the baby during breastfeeding.
  • A visible bump underneath the nipple due to the accumulation of milk within the milk duct.

The treatment

Sometimes these blisters can be harmless and won’t hurt the new mums. They tend to heal on their own. In such cases, you can let them be and in fair chances, they disappear after some time.

But if these bumps are giving you excruciating pain and discomfort, then you should try milk blister treatment methods. Doctors (after checking the severity) may suggest the following steps:

  • Pressure healing

An antiseptic liquid is generally rubbed to the nipple (for prevention of germs) and slight pressure is given to the blister area to help open it. It may rupture the blister and help to squeeze out the saturated or trapped milk within. 

  • Manual rupture

When the blister is stubborn and doesn’t break by the fingers, then doctors may use a sterilized needle to open the blocked bump. All the saturated content within the same can be released at once.

  • Medications

After the rupture procedure, Doctors may prescribe the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications which are suitable for a lactating mother.

While you should seek medical treatment for this breastfeeding hindrance situation, there are some tried and tested home hacks that can help you find relief from this unwanted bump:

Home remedies for the nipple blisters

If you are able to spot the blebs in its initial stage (when they are not causing pain and discomfort), these home remedies can help you prevent the blisters from “not taking the harmless to painful” stage. Milk bleb treatments at home can include:

  • Keep the nipple area warm

Soak a soft napkin or hand towel in warm water and gently press the nipple before the breastfeeding. The warmth can help heal the dead skin and let it come off on its own thereby relieving the milk passage. This is a good nipple bleb treatment method.

  • Use olive oil

A fresh cotton ball soaked in olive oil can be placed on the nipple. You can keep this oil-soaked cotton under the maternity bra throughout the day. You can change the cotton if you feel it needs a change during a day’s time. The oil can help soften the dead and stubborn skin around the nipple which can then unclog the blister. You need to gently wipe off the oil on the nipple with a clean cloth before the breastfeeding.

  • A gentle massage

It might be tempting to have the milk blister popped. However, be careful about overdoing it. A hand stroke and gentle massage can work wonders to the blisters or blebs. Use circular strokes with your index finger just above the areola area. You can even perform some straight strokes, starting from the top of the breast till the nipple section. This can remove any blockage formed in the milk ducts and help release the regular flow of milk.

  • Learn the lactation art

A proper lactating position or posture is very essential for the baby to latch correctly to the breast. You can take help from lactating expert who can advise you on Dos and Don’ts of breastfeeding postures and techniques. Most blisters are Known as common breastfeed woes, blisters can get formed due to poor latching. This can result in the accumulation of milk within the breast and the same can’t find a release route due to clog or bump hindrance.

  • Release the milk

A breast pump (certified and sterilized) can come handy to release the clogged milk out of the milk ducts. The pressure through the pump can help release the flow of the milk and allow the blister to reduce or rupture.

During the lactation period, milk blebs or nipple blisters are a very common occurrence due to the constant feeds and other changes in the body post-baby. These blisters are mostly harmless and may cause no harm to you. But if you feel they are taking a troubling route, rush to the doctor immediately.

Nipple blisters are unwanted but temporary visitors. Take the preventive measures suitable to you and in no time you will be back on breastfeeding chair to re-bond over milk!



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