Tag Archives: bleb

Milk Blister/Bleb

1 Jan
COLOURBOX2711301

Blebs hurt!

Persistent Blebs

Blebs can be an annoying part of breastfeeding. Sometimes they cause a mother pain, but not always. Often, when they are not causing pain, there is no treatment necessary for them. However, when they cause irritation and discomfort, it may be more comfortable for the mother to treat them.

A bleb is a small amount of epidermis (skin) covering one of the outlets of milk on the nipple. It was once thought that every mother had the same number of outlets. New research shows this to be inaccurate. While the average number of outlets is about 9, normal can be anywhere from about 4 to about 15. Many things can cause a bleb and we are not really sure why some women get them and some don’t.

Often, changing position, keeping skin moist with oil in between feedings and other comfort measures are enough to get a bleb to go away. If these things are not working, here are some other things to try:

  • Try using a sterile needle to open the bleb and then very gently express the bleb. If it has been there a while, it is highly likely that the milk coming out will be granular, thick, gooey, or clumpy and maybe even a different color than your “normal” milk.
  • Try putting olive oil or coconut oil on nipple and after it has made skin nice and soft (sometimes hours or even days) try nursing, expressing or needle aspiration.
  • Soak in epsom salt or saline soaks to soften skin and keep it from getting too irritated. Try this before or after feedings; or both. See what works for you.
  • Use warm compresses with the moisture so that the baby can remove the bleb while feeding. (This is completely harmless for the baby, even if the milk is clumpy, he probably won’t even notice it.)
  • If it keeps coming back or just won’t go away, try lecithin. It can be obtained in capsules, liquid or granules; in soy or sunflower. Lecithin is an emulsifier (something that helps the fat to mix with the other liquids) which may help it to become “unstuck” from the duct walls, so it can flow more freely into the milk. Dosages vary by source. Some say 2 T per day all the way up to 3 T 3 times/day. If a lower dose doesn’t work, try upping it.
  • Try breast massage while nursing. Sometimes, it just needs a little coaxing to come out.

If none of these things work, it might be important to start exploring other reasons for the bleb. A persistent bleb can be a sign of yeast. It can be a sign of a low grade, but persistent bacterial infection. It could also be a sign of tongue tie in your baby.

Here are some possible resources for persistent blebs:

http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/17_dealingwithplugsblebs.pdf

http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipplebleb/

If you are nearing the end of your rope, or even just needing some support to sort through your bleb, please call your IBCLC. She may be able to find something you haven’t thought of.

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