What is a (nipple blister) AKA, Bleb?
A bleb is a small white spot on the nipple. It may look like a pimple or look like there is milk stuck inside the nipple's pore. A milk bleb is sometimes, but not always accompanied by a plugged duct. Milk blisters can cause discomfort while nursing. When the contents of a bleb are removed, it may come out as tiny granules that you can feel between your fingers, or it might look like a stringy toothpaste substance. Your baby can clear the pore, any bleb contents are harmless to your baby. Backed-up milk should clear as soon as the bleb is opened up.
A milk blister may form when some skin grows over the nipple opening, blocking the milk. It might also be caused by a plugged duct. If you have noticed a bleb and it's not causing any pain or swelling, you can leave it.
Once the bleb has been cleared, it is advised to use a safe antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
Milk Bleb Treatment
- Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and leave it on the nipple for a few hours. The vinegar dissolves the calcium deposits in milk, which will decrease the size of the milk bleb.
- Soak your breasts in Epsom salts. Epson salts are wonderful for the skin. Add 1/2 cup to your bathwater. After soaking in the bath, you can try gentle hand expression and breast massage to remove the milk blister.
- If after the top two treatments, you still have the milk bleb, you can open the bleb with a sterilized needle. Allow your baby to nurse after opening it.
- Massage your breast and use breast compressions while breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed often to drain the breasts well, dangle feeding can help unclog any blocked milk. If your baby does not drain the breast sufficiently, you can express milk after a breastfeeding session.
- If you still have pain, you can have a look for more treatments on our plugged ducts page.
- Lecithin supplements can be used to prevent milk blockages by helping the milk flow more easily.
Below you will find advice from other mothers in connection with nipple bleb prevention and treatment. Below the comments, we have a few extra, useful links, for dealing with a nipple bleb/nipple blisters while breastfeeding.
Feel free to leave your own advice and tips below, or ask any questions.
Breastfeeding blister on nipple - How I treated it
"Hi, just to let other mothers know what it's like, I had a bleb and treated it successfully.
Yesterday afternoon my breast started to get hard and sore. It got harder and worse through the evening. By night time it was really hurting. I used heat (hot water bottle) and my breast pump, and baby suckling (I have a 10 week old, my first baby) through the night but nothing was helping. In the morning I tried directing hot water from the shower onto my breast, but that didn't help either.
It was more and more painful, harder and lumpier, and getting worse quite rapidly, and getting red on the skin all over the breast as well. By now I could see that a whole part of my nipple had gone white.
Luckily we have a breastfeeding clinic nearby once a week, which happened to be this morning, so I went straight there. The advisor told me it was a bleb. With her guidance I washed my hands and used my nails to puncture it - I had to do this twice as the skin was in kind of two 'layers'. The milk blister popped when punctured and the milk began to drain out immediately.
I put my baby on the breast, and he did the rest! The hard areas cleared straight away and the breast almost felt back to normal.
It's now night time and my nipple is still a bit sore but it's obvious the problem has been sorted. A huge relief as it was very unpleasant. Just hoping it doesn't happen again now."
by Mom of 2
(Asia Pacific )
"After breastfeeding for 6months, I started to get a reoccurring bleb on the same spot several times a month.
It was terribly inconvenient and I was getting quite good at popping it in the shower. I tried taking about 1000mg of Lecithin each day which seemed to reduce the frequency of the bleb, but it still reoccurred once a month.
My mother's helper from the Philippines advised that in her village they would apply olive oil to the nipples every day and in desperation, I tried rubbing olive oil once a day, leaving it on for at least 30minutes before washing it off and It WORKED!
I have never had a bleb again and am happily in my 18th-month breastfeeding (and stopped taking Lecithin too). Good luck!"
Bleb remains after breastfeeding
"I have stopped breastfeeding about 3 months ago, I had a bleb while breastfeeding and managed to get rid of it through continued feeding, but it has slowly returned. How do I get rid of it, now that I am not breastfeeding?"
Nipple blisters breastfeeding
Feb 14, 2011
"Is it still painful? Are you still producing milk?
Usually, if a bleb is getting smaller as time goes by you don't need to worry, they do sometimes take time to go away.
If you are experiencing pain, you will need to see a doctor. They might need to use needle aspiration or needle biopsy to remove the blockage.
Hope this helps, please let me know how things go."