Five tips for getting rid of a painful bleb (milk blister)

May 15, 2015

If you've ever had a bleb (also known as a milk blister) you know that they can be both painful and difficult to get rid of.  They can also lead to plugged ducts because they prevent milk from exiting the breast normally. 

 A bleb is a little white spot on the tip of the nipple that can look like a pimple with skin covering a white dot, and it can look like a nipple pore with milk stuck inside it (sometimes referred to as a plugged nipple pore).  When you get rid of one the milk may look like a tiny line of toothpaste, or like small granules of sugar.  There may also be a little blood, or you may notice nothing at all.

 Getting rid of a bleb and the pain that comes with it is a huge relief, so we thought we'd share five tips* for getting rid of them:

1)  Use a warm wet compress before each feeding.  If skin has covered up a nipple pore, softening the skin with a warm wet compress before a feeding will help to loosen the skin so that when your baby nurses the skin opens and releases the bleb.  Some mothers also try a saline soak (2 teaspoons Epsom salts to 1 cup water), soaking in the bathtub, or using olive oil on a cotton ball worn inside a bra in between feedings.  

2)  Loosen the milk stuck in the pore.  If the bleb is being caused by milk which is stuck in a nipple pore, you can try applying vinegar to the area with a cotton ball over the nipple held inside your bra.  Vinegar dissolves calcium, so it may help to loosen dried milk stuck in a nipple pore.  Warm wet compresses also help to loosen plugged nipple pores so that your baby can remove them while nursing.

 3)  Apply pressure, gently.  Your baby is the best person to apply pressure to the bleb when she nurses, especially after you apply a warm wet compress.  But you can also - gently - manipulate the area behind the bleb after using a compress to see if you can get the bleb to release.  A pump is generally not very effective because it pulls instead of pushing from behind the bleb.

4)  Prevent infection by using a double antibiotic ointment.  If you think that the bleb might be infected, or right after a bleb opens up, use a double antibiotic ointment (that does not contain neomycin, which causes skin irritation in some people) on the affected area.  Use a tiny amount, just enough to cover the area, and apply after feedings.  The ointment does not need to be washed off before the next feeding, and it is safe for your baby to ingest the very small amount that will remain when he next nurses.

5)  Open it, safely.  Ask your healthcare provider to open the bleb using a sterile instrument.  If you've tried everything else and your provider is unwilling to do so, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding recommends using a sterile needle (held in a candle flame to sterilize) to open the bleb by picking at it from the side and using sterile tweezers to peel back the layer of skin.  After the skin is opened, either by your provider or yourself, be sure to use an antibiotic ointment (see above) on the affected area to prevent infection.

More resources on blebs and how to get rid of them:

This post is educational in nature, and is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult your health care provider for medical advice on this topic should you need it.

Tags: breastfeeding lactation nursing baby nursing pain

Sheree P. Gilliam

I think a lot of moms experience this problem when they begin to feed their baby breast. And the tips in this article are very useful. I also want to share my experiences. The first and most important – is to keep eye on correctness of applying the baby to the breast. As much as possible keep the nipple in the air, so that they can dry out, that is to be kept dry. Here find more information
I also want to add that the blisters (on the lips, on the feet) is the protector of the body. It is strongly not advisable to breaking blisters considering high risk of entering infection in a wound, longer curing and possible consequences. For example, if wet blisters on the foot aren’t treated eventually it can be transformed in to a dry blister, which will go deeply to the lower layers of skin. Here more details.


My mom who is a nurse told me to try something a doctor told her thirty years ago. Make yourself a cup of green tea, chill the tea bag and then put it on your nipple. I would do this every day, waiting the tea bag to the other nipple after I nursed( I just stuffed in my bra) and this did the trick. There was no need to open the bleb. It worked amazing well. Good luck.


I just pinched the bleb with my thumb and forefinger and it came off. My breast was hard due to the clogged milk ducts but after I pinched the bleb, I was able to pump better and relieve the sore breast and hardened milk ducts.

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