Help with Milk Blisters Please!

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Kirsten Haroldson, RN, IBCLC 3 years, 7 months ago.

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    Hi! I’m really excited for this website and I’m hoping to pick the experts brains for some tips and tricks for getting rid of a seriously stubborn (and annoyingly painful) milk blister. Long story short a few weeks ago I was a bit lazy about changing out of my sports bra after getting back into running and ended up with some serious clogged ducts. I was able to work them all out in about 24-36hrs with heat, massage and creatively positioning my eager littler nurser (15 months). I was sore for a few days but after that passed and what seems to have followed is a seriously stubborn and deep milk blister. I’ve tried everything I could find to get it out coconut oil, olive oil, massage, an electric toothbrush, trying to loosen the edges with a clean finger nail and oh so much nursing. My midwife said she’d open it with a sterile needle for me but from her experience that only adds to the pain and doesn’t always get rid of it so I’m hoping for some other options.

    Any tips on how to get rid of this or even just thoughts on how long before it’ll just go away? I think If I had a end date I could just power through the pain. I don’t seem to have any clogged ducts from it so the milk is finding other ways out; but, nursing is a bit uncomfortable and its making it very hard to snooze through middle of the night nursing sessions. Also while not nursing I often feel like something is continuously stabbing me in the nipple and its the type of annoying pain that drives you a little crazy.

    Willing to try just about anything to get this sucker out! All suggestions welcome!

     Sonya Myles 

    Hi there

    I would say that this is the same issue in a different form. In other words, the original plugged ducts only partially cleared and now are showing up as a persistant bleb. Dee Kassing describes a wonderful method for dealing with this situation. I contacted Dee many years ago to ask permission to use her technique, and it is with this permission that I am sharing. I hope that this helps.

    “Here’s what I suggest for a “recurring” nipple bleb. Personally, I think

    that it really isn’t “recurring”, but more likely “never quite cleared up in

    the first place.” I think that when that milk sits at the front of the

    nipple pore, thickened, so it can’t get out, then the milk behind it in that

    particular duct also thickens as it sits there unable to move out. Then,

    eventually, the mother finds a way to get the white spot at the nipple pore

    to go away, and she temporarily feels better. I think she took the pressure

    off the tissue at the nipple pore. But that other milk that thickened as it

    couldn’t get out, is still there, just back farther in the breast where it

    can’t be seen. Then as baby nurses a few more times, or another day or two,

    he gradually pulls that toothpaste-thick milk down to the front of the duct,

    and that thick milk puts pressure on the tissue around the nipple pore

    again, and mom is in pain again. But it’s not a “new” bleb (at least, this

    is my conjecture), but just more stuck milk finally making its way down the


    “So I suggest that moms take a pain reliever (like Motrin) right before they

    nurse the baby, preferably when there is another adult in the house to take

    care of the baby after they’ve finished nursing. Otherwise, if she is

    alone, she can try to do this when she expects baby to take a long nap after

    nursing. She takes the pain reliever, so that it has time to get into her

    system, and I warn her that what I’m suggesting will not feel good. (So she

    isn’t cussing at me while she’s in the tub, thinking I’m a complete moron.)

    She breastfeeds, so there’s the least amount of milk/pressure in the breast

    as possible. Then she gets in the tub, with the water high enough that she

    can comfortably lean over and submerge her breasts. She soaks them for 3-4

    minutes, to let the heat help to widen the ductwork. Then she starts at the

    nipple and massages and expresses the nipple to move out any thickened milk

    she can. Then she moves back to the areola and massages and expresses a

    strip about an inch wide, all the way around the breast. Then she moves

    back about an inch toward the chest wall, and again massages and expresses

    any milk she can out the front of the breast. She continues to move back on

    the breast, inch by inch, constantly moving the milk towards the nipple.

    (If she starts back at the chest wall, she’s just running milk into the

    blockage and increasing the pressure.) I warn her that if she manages to

    express any thickened milk, it is likely to feel unpleasant or even painful,

    but that if she manages to get it out, she will feel much better afterwards.

    “I also warn her of two more things: 1. If she gets out a plug of

    thickened milk, it is likely to look kind of stringy and clumpy and

    cottage-cheesy in the water. If you don’t warn her and she sees this, she

    will absolutely freak out. 2. Then you must immediately reassure her that

    if she doesn’t see this in the water, but the pain/plug/bleb goes away/does

    not return, then it won’t hurt her baby to have swallowed it down. It’s

    just breastmilk that lost some of its water and got thick, but it still has

    all the antibodies and nutrients it ever had. Otherwise, the mother’s mind

    immediately goes from “don’t worry if you see this in the water” to “what if

    the baby swallows that awful-looking stuff?”.

    “I suggest that they do this three nights in a row. It very frequently

    solves the problem. Dee Kassing”


    Thanks so much! Yes, this sounds familiar. I feel like I keep getting some relief like the baby gets some out and it looks smaller or almost gone and then a few hours later, there is the bleb again. And this lines up with what my gut feeling is about this thing, that it just feels like its deep. I will Deb’s method and report back!

     Attie Sandink 

    I would agree totally with Sonja and for those who cannot lean forward into the tub or find it difficult to do that, soaking your breast in fairly warm but not super hot water with a tsp of Epson salts will also really help to draw out the bleb and cheesy stuff described above. Have heard clients tell me they will see the stringy stuff in the bowl as its been drawn out. This is also good if your breasts are too sore to massage initially.

     Sonya Myles 

    I had another thought, as I was cooking dinner 🙂 If you find massage too painful or not effective, using the back of an electric toothbrush for vibration can help break apart the fat molecules that are stuck together and causing such trouble!


    Great ideas! For reoccurring clogged ducts and blebs, try taking one tablespoon of lethicin daily and reducing saturated fats and excessive sodium. This, along with staying hydrated, will help with the stickiness that can lead to clogs. It will definitely help to take a pain reliever while you work it out. If you can clear the top layer of skin with your finger nail, please make sure to wash your hands. Watch for signs of infection around the site if you do get it opened and cleared, such as redness, possible temperature, etc. use a triple antibiotic ointment if the skin becomes broken open and wash off gently before nursing or pumping. Air drying the site is important. You can continue to use this cream until it is healed. I hope this clears quickly for you! Do contact your doctor if it continues to worsen, you develop a fever and flu like symptoms or you have further concerns.

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