What on Earth is a BLEB?
Who, me? Cause trouble?
Breastfeeding is magical and full of joy, and the foundation of great health for your baby. But sometimes...some parts are not so wonderful. Somewhere along the line of your breastfeeding journey, you may encounter a less than ideal thing called a bleb.
So what is this?? Sometimes called milk blisters, a bleb is a tiny white spot on the that may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but can be pretty painful. It's essentially a blocked nipple pore that occurs when a small layer of skin grows over the pore. As a result, the pore cannot release milk, and sometimes this can lead to a plugged duct. If you find yourself having recurring plugged ducts (a lump in your breast that may cause discomfort), maybe take a good look at your nipple. If you see a tiny white spot, you may have found the culprit!
These need to be treated, and fortunately, you have some home care options. These are things I recommend:
prior to nursing, use moist heat to soften the skin (think warm washcloths). Sometimes this can be enough to help loosen the skin so the bleb disappears when baby nurses. If not, continue moist heat several times a day until you see improvement.
Try gently exfoliating the skin of the nipple to remove the layer of skin blocking the pore. Please do not go crazy roughing up your skin! But gently breaking up the skin can help that milk get moving again.
You can also soften the skin by soaking a cotton ball in olive or coconut oil and leaving it on the nipple for as long as possible between feedings.
Once the bleb is gone, you still need to treat the skin of the nipple. Saline soaks (see my previous blog post) can help aid in healing, as well as washing your nipples in the shower. Gentle, unscented soap only!
As with most breastfeeding issues, poor latch can affect the breastfeeding experience. If you suspect your sore nipples are caused by your baby's latch, seek me out! I can help you navigate the problem and come up with solutions.