Breastfeeding 101 – What Is A Milk Bleb?

A milk bleb is something I never even knew existed until I suffered from one. Obviously, I didn’t know that was what it was at first. In my 6 1/2 months of breastfeeding, I have only had a milk bleb twice. The second time being today and I forgot how painful it is.

milk bleb

A milk bleb is a milk blister or blocked nipple pore.It occurs when a tiny bit of skin overgrows a milk duct opening and milk backs up behind it. You can tell if you have a milk bleb as you can see a white dot on your nipple, where the milk is under the skin, it is more visible after a feed.

One of the first signs of a milk bled is pain feeding, it reminds me of the newborn days where it feels razor sharp to feed. At first, I didn’t realise I had a milk bleb again, as I put it down to C teething and her latch adjusting. In hindsight, this is probably why I have ended up having another milk bleb. As I didn’t notice the milk bleb, as the day has gone along, my breast has become more tender.  The reason for it getting tender will be because C hasn’t been draining the milk efficiently. C has been fussing feeding today which I again have put down to teething. She will have been fussing as the milk wasn’t coming out quick enough for her each time she fed as one of the pore will be blocked.

As soon as D got home from work I ran a hot bath as I knew I needed to clear the bleb. I had already tried to clear it throughout the day by applying heat before feeding. By applying heat, using a hot flannel, it helps soften the blister meaning C would be more likely to be able to unblock the milk bleb. Unfortunately, this didn’t work and I was really suffering from it.  I was also concerned that I would end up with Mastitis again if I didn’t unblock it.

If you compress the breast so that milk is forced down the ducts, the blister will typically bulge outward. I did this when I was in the hot bath as the blister had softened up.  I rubbed the milk bleb with a moist flannel and managed to clear the blister by scraping my fingernail over it. Yes, it was as painful as it sounds, but so was feeding throughout the day with the milk bleb anyway. Once I had opened the milk bleb I used my HaaKaa pump to clear some of the blockages and instantly felt relief.

I am now making a conscious effort to make sure C doesn’t have a lazy latch in the night and that she doesn’t adjust her latch too much when teething.  If it doesn’t feel right I have been popping her off and trying again. The first feed after I had cleared the milk bleb was instantly improved, there was very little pain and I could tell she was getting more milk out. She obviously seemed happier by this as well.

Have you suffered from a milk bleb? Do you have any tips? 

6 comments

  1. Lisa (mummascribbles) says:

    I have never heard of this and thankfully haven’t suffered with it (so far) in either of my breastfeeding times! Glad you managed to clear it and that feeding is better. Mine are just sore right now from his gnashers…teeth are so painful!

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