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Do you have pain or discomfort while feeding your baby? Do you spot a white or yellowish blister on your nipple? If yes, there are good chances that you may be experiencing one of the most common breastfeeding issues, known as milk blister. Read on to know about the various aspects related to this ailment.
What Are Milk Blisters?
If you are new to this ailment, then let us take you through this step by step. A milk or nipple blister occurs when there is extra skin growth on the nipple or around the areola. This extra growth obstructs the flow of milk by causing a bleb or blocking the pores. Wondering what does a milk blister look like, well, it appears like a dot or blister on your nipple or areola. If you press your breast, it may bulge outwards. These blisters can cause immense pain to the feeding mommy. They may remain for a few days or up to a few weeks. In most cases, these blisters may become okay after the skin of the blister peels off.
What Causes a Milk Blister?
The painful milk blisters can appear due to various reasons. Some of the common causes of a nipple blister from breastfeeding are as follows:
- Incorrect latching or feeding position
- Clogged milk ducts
- Any kind of nipple injury
- Clogged nipple pores
- Ill-fitted bras or clothes
- Any kind of yeast infection
- Thick or fatty composition
- Not drinking ample amounts of water
- Not cleaning the nipples while bathing
Symptoms of Milk Blebs
If you are looking for ways to establish milk blister symptoms, they are like blisters that may appear on any part of the body. Mostly, these fluid-filled and raised blebs may have irregular shapes, and if pressure is applied, they may bulge out of the skin. Most women may experience intense milk blister pain while feeding their babies. Milk blisters often have a clear, white or yellow appearance.
How Can You Treat Milk Blisters?
You can either opt for medical treatment or go in for home remedial measures for treating milk blisters. Following are some recommended measures for getting rid of milk blister:
1. Medical Treatment
- You can visit your doctor for this condition. Your doctor may use a sterilised surgical needle to get rid of extra skin growth on the milk duct. Once the extra skin gets removed from the duct, the milk will start flowing.
- Alternatively, your doctor can prescribe you topical antibiotics to get rid of the blister. You might have to take these for a period of 5 to 7 days. Also, you should bring to your doctor’s notice that you are a nursing mother and you wish to keep nursing your baby.
- You can also apply your breast milk to keep the nipples moist as breast milk too, is loaded with antibiotic properties.
2. Home Remedies to Cure Milk Blebs
- Ensure that you breastfeed your baby as often as possible to get your milk supply flowing. This is because your baby’s sucking movement may help stimulate your milk flow which can help you get rid of the blister.
- You can rub the blister gently after taking a bath to release it. However, if it does not go, you should not force it.
- Try changing your feeding position. Make your baby lie down and lean over with the support from your elbows and knees. This way the milk flow increases that can help release the blister.
- Massage and gently apply pressure to the area behind your nipple.
- Ensure that your nipples remain moist throughout the day. You can soak a cotton ball in some olive oil and place it on your nipple before wearing your bra.
- You can mix some Epsom salt in warm water and soak your breasts in it for three to four times a day.
- It is best to stop wearing an underwire bra, and if the problem gets worse, you should stop wearing a bra.
How to Prevent Milk Blisters in the Future
Once you experience this painful condition, you would want to know about the various ways to prevent any future occurrence. Well, here is a list of suggestions that you can incorporate:
- Ensure that your baby’s latching position is proper. Improper latching position is one of the main reasons for milk blisters. If one position does not suit you, try various other options and choose the one best-suited for you and your baby.
- In case you experience any kind of nipple injury, do not overlook it. Act promptly and remove the triggers of the injury.
- If you develop any kind of yeast infection on your breasts, make sure you treat it fast.
- Keep yourself hydrated and drink at least eight to ten glasses of water every day.
- Wipe your nipples clean with a moist washcloth or a cotton ball to get rid of any extra milk on the nipples.
- Make sure you wear comfortable bras. Choose the cotton ones over synthetic ones, and also ensure that they fit you properly. Ill-fitted and synthetic bras can put pressure on your nipples and cause irritation.
- If you feel that your baby is unable to latch properly, you should seek help from a lactation consultant. Learning the proper technique of latching may help solve the issue.
When to Call a Doctor
Sometimes milk blisters can make it extremely difficult to breastfeed your baby, or they do not subside after following home remedies. On other occasions, you may experience fever, inflation, chills or pus oozing out of your milk blister. If you experience either of these situations, you should call your doctor right away. Your doctor may either remove the blister by doing a minor surgery or prescribe you some antibiotic medicine. Sometimes a lanolin ointment may be prescribed, too. This ointment will help keep your nipples moist and also from developing any kind of milk blister. However, if your doctor suspects some underlying cause, you may be required to go for further screening as per your symptoms.
Most women may become a storehouse of worries after the birth of their baby, especially when anything concerns their babies. Apart from the above-shared knowledge, here are some frequently asked questions regarding milk blisters, and we have made endeavours to answer them.
1. What is the Difference Between a Milk Blister and Thrush?
Usually, milk blisters do not appear in bunches, and you may only see a single blister on your nipple. Whereas in the case of thrush, there may be a number of blisters on your nipples. Thrush is a painful yeast infection that is accompanied with burning sensation. In case you fear that you have thrush, you should see your doctor without any delay.
2. Can Milk Blisters Lead to Mastitis?
Milk blisters may cause inflammation and pain, but it does not mean that they may cause mastitis. However, there has been conclusive evidence that states that untreated milk blisters may sometimes lead to the symptoms of mastitis.
In most cases, milk blisters heal on their own. However, if you experience any unusual symptoms that seem alarming, you should rush to your doctor for further investigation.