What is a nipple bleb/blister?
A nipple bleb is a white dot that appears on the face of the nipple. A blister is a layer of skin that covers a pore in the nipple. Both can cause significant nipple pain and result in a plugged duct up into the breast tissue.
What causes a nipple bleb/blister?
The cause is not fully understood. Some think a bleb is the result of excess skin/old milk accumulating inside the nipple pore. Others have noted that a bleb either appears to be the possible cause of a plugged duct or the end result of a plugged duct/mastitis (tiny residual of milk moves down the duct and ends up in the nipple pore) A nipple blister is often the result of friction or high vacuum.
How to treat a nipple bleb/blister
- Correct your baby’s latch
- Turn down the vacuum pressure on your pump. You may also want to experiment with different sized pump flanges.
- Soak the affected nipple in a bowl of warm water and Epsom salts.
- Using your fingers, gently “work” the plug. Use a soft cloth to rub the surface of the nipple.
- Apply Polysporin to the nipple after rubbing/squeezing.
- You may need to repeat the treatment several times before the bleb/blister resolves.
- A nursing baby will often help to remove the bleb.
- If the bleb/blister is persistent, consider contacting your health care provider. They can use a sterile needle to help remove the bleb.
What happens if I am unable to resolve the bleb/blister?Sometimes a nipple bleb/blister will result in a plugged duct. Some mothers have blebs/blisters which cause them no pain or plugged ducts. It is suggested that these women simply leave the bleb/blister alone. The nursing baby will eventually remove the bleb/blister.