What is a Bleb?Breastfeeding
You read right…bleb. Sounds like something you'd hear after a thanksgiving meal, but it’s actually a very common and sometimes painful result of breastfeeding.
Basically, a bleb is a milk blister. It looks almost like a white head, and they occur when a single layer of skin grows over one of the outlets on the nipple (yes, there is more than one “hole” for the milk to come through). The milk then builds up behind the skin, looking like a blister or pimple.
Bleb’s are very common, although it can often be released by a baby sucking, without ever causing an issue, or even being noticed by mom. Sometimes this 'milk blister' is a little stronger and breastmilk can build up behind the barrier causing quite a bit of discomfort.
Many moms feel, or see, the bleb and try picking at it with a fingernail or attempting to squeeze it like a pimple. This is not generally recommended, as it can cause an infection. Others are instructed by a caregiver to pierce the bleb with a sterile needle and encourage baby to feed right away. Anecdotally, with using the amazing Lily Padz some moms have found that keeping the bleb bathed in breastmilk, within these silicon pads, softens it enough that a good feeding session can make it release.
If you do experience a bleb, here are five ways to treat it:
Some women will experience recurrent blebs, while very annoying, this is generally not a concern but should be discussed with your healthcare provider to ensure there is nothing else going on.
We encourage you to learn more about our "What in the World" series. Please see our A to Z index for a whole host of pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting information and terminology.
Heather Crossan is a certified DONA birth and postpartum doula certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding educator, as well as a certified Henna artist. She has been an active doula in Calgary for the past eight years, is the past-president of the Calgary Doula Association, and was the former provincial representative of Alberta (SPAR) for DONA International. She is also the only DONA Advanced doula in Alberta. Heather is also a birth doula trainer and the owner of Doula Essentials. She is well-known within the international doula community and greatly respected by the medical providers in the city of Calgary and surrounding areas. She takes great pride supporting her clients through the entire journey.