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Milk Bleb: Don't Pop the Nipple Pimple!

Updated: Jan 18

Ouch! What is that little white bump on my nipple? It hurts! Can’t I just wipe it off? Or maybe if I scratch it will go away? Is it just a pimple? Can I pop it?

No! It sounds like you may be experiencing a milk bleb. The typical presentation of a milk bleb is a white bump on the nipple. It can almost look like a white head or pimple, and it is often painful or irritating to a breastfeeding mother.

What is a milk bleb?

A milk bleb is milk debris or inflammation propagating to the surface of the nipple and blocking a milk pore.

What should I do if I have a milk bleb?

  • First, try not to pick at it or “pop” it. Doing so will cause skin damage and breakdown, encouraging bacteria and infection.

  • Use ibuprofen and ice to correct inflammation in breast tissue.

  • Apply warm compresses on the affected nipple.

  • Continue to feed or pump physiologically on that side. You do not need to overdo it with high pump settings or increased suction on that nipple.

  • Considering supplementing with lecithin. Lecithin is an over-the-counter supplement compatible with breastfeeding. Take 1200 mg up to 4 times daily. It will promote milk flow, making it less “sticky” without compromising the nutritional composition of your breast milk.

  • If it is not improved, seek help from your healthcare provider, as sometimes a prescription steroid cream is needed.

  • Using a sterile needle to lance or release the pore is no longer recommended.

Be a little patient with your bleb. They typically resolve with conservative measures. It is safe to continue the lecithin if it reoccurs. When in doubt, follow up with an IBCLC or healthcare provider, and remember to avoid picking or popping!

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