Guest Post by Bert
I noticed it a few days ago; that persistent burning feeling whenever I wasn’t breastfeeding my daughter. It wasn’t the twinge that I usually feel in my nipples when my milk lets down, it was different. It was painful and felt like I was just beginning to breastfeed again. As soon as my daughter would latch on and start eating the pain would reside. I knew what this was; after all it had happened almost three years ago with my oldest son.
If you haven’t experienced a clogged nipple pore you should be very thankful. If you have then you know what I’m talking about. And if you’re reading this and wondering if that pain you’re experiencing is a clogged nipple pore then read on, Mama! A clogged nipple pore looks like a white pimple on your nipple. It’s not to be confused with a blood blister that is usually caused by friction from poor latching or positioning. It’s also not thrush, although it does resemble it. Thrush will not feel better after your baby has eaten. It’ll burn. A clogged nipple pore will feel much better after nursing your baby or pumping.
Clogged nipple pores (aka milk blisters or blebs) are usually caused by oversupply, pressure on your breast from a tight bra, changes in feeding schedules (baby skips feedings) or stress. If left unattended the bleb could lead to mastitis so it’s really imperative that you take action to relieve the pressure. It can also reduce your milk supply in the affected breast. I noticed a reduction earlier this week when I was pumping. I thought it was odd. Actually I thought that it might be the pump for some reason. Then the pain came and I instantly knew what was happening with my milk supply – there was a plug somewhere inside.
So what can you do to fix a bleb? It’s really rather simple. Apply a hot (be careful, you don’t want to burn yourself!) damp compress to the breast to loosen things up. You can also use a cotton ball that’s been soaked with olive oil to help loosen the skin. Next you’ll want to apply a hot compress to your nipple before your baby nurses. After a few minutes, take the compress off and allow your baby to nurse. Be sure to nurse frequently as this will unclog the pore and relieve the pressure. My lactation consultant also told me that if I could see the white part’s head I could sterilize a needle by lighting a match and holding the tip of the needle into the flame for a while until I knew it was hot. Then place the needle in rubbing alcohol and soak for ten to 15 minutes. Then lift the skin of the bleb with the sterilized needle. Do not pierce, lift. This should relieve some pressure immediately and then your baby can get working on helping you out!
I think it’s just amazing how the “cure” for this is your baby’s sucking. Our bodies are made wonderfully, don’t you think? Another way of treating a bleb is to do the following: Fill a spray bottle with five drops of grapefruit seed extract, ¼ cup of white vinegar and two cups of water. Apply the solution to your breasts one a day. For more information I highly suggest checking out KellyMom. It’s a great resource for all things breastfeeding! Now I’m off to go and work on getting this bleb to go away…Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son. She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things. This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl! Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything! Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.