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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

tales of a damaged nipple, part 3....what is this now?

Posted by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM
  • 5 Replies

Hello hello!!!! Me again! Well, it seems now, my damaged nipple has a kind of small yellow blister at the very center of it. At first, I thought it was dead skin coming off-thats what it looked like, but now, it looks like a yellow, small blister...what is going on?? LOL! Our latch has improved about 50 percent-we're still working on it. sometimes its good, sometimes bad, and actually, I tried nursing on that side today without a boppy pillow, just a regular one with my legs crossed on the bed and that seemed to give us the perfect latch right away! Anyway, I digress....so what's up with the yellow blister?? Ive been putting BM on my nipples and not only letting them air dry but holding a lamp up to them for about 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day. (its about 15 degrees outside right now) SOOO, the damaged nipple hasen't bled and I dont think its cracked, but what is this blister thingy? Im afraid its the first step to a cracked and bleeding nipple. :-( Any ideas?

by on Mar. 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM
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Replies (1-5):
Precious333
by Group Mod-Julia on Mar. 17, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Look on kellymom for milk blister
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gdiamante
by Group Mod - Gina on Mar. 17, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Sounds like a milk blister to me as well.

maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on Mar. 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

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

What is a milk blister?

A milk blister, or blocked nipple pore, is also called a bleb or nipple blister, or simply “milk under the skin.” It occurs when a tiny bit of skin overgrows a milk duct opening and milk backs up behind it. A milk blister usually shows up as a painful white, clear or yellow dot on the nipple or areola (see photo), and the pain tends to be focused at that spot and just behind it. If you compress the breast so that milk is forced down the ducts, the blister will typically bulge outward. Milk blisters can be persistent and very painful during feeding, and may remain for several days or weeks and then spontaneously heal when the skin peels away from the affected area.

This is not the same as a blister on the nipple caused by friction. This type of blister, which may sometimes be a red or brown “blood blister,” can be caused by friction from baby’s improper latch or sucking or from the use of a badly fitting nipple shield or pump. In this type of blister, the problem is nipple damage due to friction, rather than a milk duct opening being blocked. Here is information onhealing broken skin in the nipple area, plus more thoughts on the causes of friction or blood blisters.

A white spot on the nipple may also be caused by an obstruction within the milk duct (as opposed to skin covering the milk duct). The obstruction might be a tiny, dry clump of hardened milk or a “string” of fattier, semi-solidified milk. The first type of milk duct obstruction will often pop out from the pressure of nursing or manual expression, or can be gently scraped from the surface of the milk duct with a fingernail. The second type can often be manually expressed from the milk duct; reducing saturated fats can help to prevent recurrence of this type of obstruction. Both of these types of milk duct obstruction are associated with recurrent mastitis.

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What causes a milk blister?

Milk blisters are thought to be caused by milk within a milk duct that has been sealed over by the epidermis and has triggered an inflammatory response. The underlying cause of a milk blister may be oversupply, pressure on that area of the breast, or the otherusual causes of plugged ducts. Latch, suck, and or tongue problems may contribute to blisters because of friction on the tip of the nipple.

Thrush (yeast), can also cause milk blisters. Thrush occasionally appears as tiny white spots on the nipple, but can also appear as larger white spots that block one or more milk ducts. If you have more than one blister at the same time, suspect thrush as the cause. Yeast is often accompanied by a “burning” pain, and the pain tends to be worse after nursing or pumping (whereas a plugged duct generally feels better after the breast has been emptied).

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Treatment

Recommended treatment for a milk blister usually consists of four steps: apply moist heat prior to nursing, clear the skin from the milk duct, nurse or pump with a hospital-grade pump, than follow up with medication to aid healing. You may need to repeat this for several days (or longer) until the plugged duct opening stays clear. Following are more detailed suggestions.

1. Apply moist heat to soften the blister prior to nursing. Several times per day, add a saline soak prior to applying the moist heat.

  • An epsom-salt soak before breastfeeding helps to open the milk duct opening and also aids in healing. Use a solution of epsom salt — 2 teaspoons to 1 cup water. The epsom salt is first dissolved in a small amount of very hot water, then further water is added to cool it down enough to soak in. Try to add this epsom-salt soak to your routine at least 4 times per day.
  • Prior to nursing (and directly after the epsom-salt soak) place an extremely hot wet compress on the milk blister immediately before nursing or pumping. Be careful not to burn yourself. A cotton ball soaked with olive oil can be used to soften the skin instead of the wet compress.

2. Clear the skin from the milk duct.

This may not be necessary, as the combination of the heat and nursing/pumping should cause the skin to expand and the blister to open. However, it can be helpful to do one of the following at least once per day until skin no longer grows over the duct.

  • Rub the blister area with a moist washcloth.
  • If a plug is protruding from the nipple, you can gently pull on it with clean fingers.
  • Loosen an edge of the blister by gently scraping with your fingernail.
  • If the above methods do not work, a sterile needle may also be used to open the blister. To minimize the risk for infection, ask your health care provider to do this (do not do this on your own). There is a much greater risk of infection if you do it yourself. First, wash the area well with soap and water; pat dry. Use a sterile needle to lift the skin at the edge of the blister. If a sterile needle is not available, sterilize needle with an autoclave or commercial sterilizing solution, by holding in a match flame until red hot (cool before using), or by soaking 10-15 minutes in rubbing alcohol. Use a lifting action, at the edge of the bleb, rather than a piercing action. Don’t push into the blister as it can push bacteria deeper into the nipple. If there is any loose blister-like skin, your health care provider may need to remove that also, using sterile tweezers and small sharp scissors to entirely remove the excess skin. Follow up with a soap and water wash (and be sure to use an antibiotic ointment after nursing). See Healing broken skin in the nipple area.

3. Nurse or pump with a hospital-grade pump. Nurse first on the breast with the milk blister, directly after applying heat.

Before you nurse, it can be helpful to use breast compression and attempt to hand express back behind and down toward the nipple to release any thickened milk that has backed up in the duct. Sometimes clumps or strings of hardened milk (often of a toothpaste consistency) can be expressed from this duct.

4. Treat the milk blister after nursing to aid healing.

See Healing broken skin the nipple area

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Additional treatments for recurring milk blisters

Lecithin supplements can help to heal and prevent recurrent plugged ducts

Massaging the breast, areola and nipple with a massage oil containing grapefruit seed extract (GSE) can help to heal recurrent milk blisters. To make the massage oil: mix a few drops of grapefruit seed extract or citrus seed extract into olive oil.

Another treatment for persistent milk blisters: Once per day, spray breast and nipple area with a solution consisting of 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 2 cups water.

Vitamin E ointment – applied very sparingly and wiped off before feedings (too much vitamin E can be toxic to baby) – can also help.

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Further suggestions for healing

  • Some suggest that you continue with a daily saline soak and brisk rub with a washcloth for a couple of weeks after the bleb resolves, to prevent recurrence.
  • Call your doctor if any of the following occurs: fever, inflammation (redness), swelling, oozing, pus, etc.
  • Between feedings, you can use ice packs and/or pain relievers (such as ibuprofen or tylenol) to relieve discomfort. Wearing breast shells, which will relieve the pressure from clothing, can also help with the pain and possibly aid healing.
  • Don’t forget to treat the underlying cause (if you know it) of the milk blister – oversupplyyeastpressure on an area of the breast, etc.

Additional Information

What can I do about a painful blister on my breast? by Anne Smith, BA, IBCLC

Mastitis and Plugged Ducts @ 

Recurrent Mastitis or Plugged Ducts @ 

Nipple Blebs/Blisters by Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC (this article has a photo)

White “pimple” on nipple Q&A by Kathy Kuhn, RN, BSN, IBCLC


MommyO2-6631
by Leslie on Mar. 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM
Bleb! It happens to the best of us lol
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amc103
by Alli on Mar. 18, 2013 at 4:10 AM

Thanks ladies!!!! I appreciate the feedback. I woke up this morning, and it seems to have popped...is that good? There is nothing inside, now its just the shell. Im assuming it will come off as I nurse? What can I expect now? Ive been putting a hot compress on that breast before nursing. I read that epsom salt soaks help too but we dont have epsom salt in Poland! There's a freaking salt mine in my town, but they dont have epsom salt! LOL! WOuld regular bath salts work? (of course, the kind without scent and color....straight up natural salt) What do you think?

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