If you’re a breastfeeding mom, chances are that at some point in your nursing journey you’ll find a white spot on your nipple.
Sometimes they are painful, sometimes they aren’t. Either way you’re probably wondering what to do about it.
This is SUPER common and there are lots of ways to fix the problem.
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What Is The White Spot On Your Nipple?
When you’re breastfeeding and you develop a small white spot on your nipple, it’s called a “bleb”. Sometimes it’s also called a milk blister.
It’s a small accumulation of milk solids that you can see right at your nipple. Sometimes there’s a very small layer of skin growing on top of it.
It’s caused by a milk duct getting blocked right at the place your nipple pore opens. It can be extremely painful when nursing or when anything touches it.
What To Do About Milk Blebs
Good news! Milk blebs are common and there are many ways you can go about trying to fix them. Some of the methods work better for some moms than others. Just try them out and see what works best for you.
Here are some of things you can try to get rid of that white spot on your nipple:
1. Ignore It!
Yep! This is probably the simplest option and usually the best option for moms that the bleb doesn’t bother. All women are different and all breastfeeding problems are unique.
Some women don’t have any pain at all when they notice a white spot on their nipple.
With time and breastfeeding your baby, it’s likely that your baby will eventually work out the stuck milk and the white spot on your nipple will go away.
If you’re one of the ladies that isn’t bothered by the milk bleb, ignoring it might be the best solution and with time it will go away.
2. Soften it
The next best option is to try and soften it. Here are the ways to do it:
- Take a hot shower. When dealing with milk clogs, moist heat is the best way to get your breast to release it. Try and take a hot shower to soften it up. You can massage it while you shower and try to get it to release.
- Soak it with a breast pad. Some moms find that putting a little olive oil on a breast pad and placing it in their bra for an hour or two will soften things up and allow the white spot on their nipple to release.
- Before a feeding- soak it in some water. Another way to soften it is by putting 2 teaspoons of epsom salt in a cup of warm water. Lean forward, and allow your nipple to soak in the warm water for around 20 minutes and soften. Then, try nursing your baby to see if your baby can work out the bleb.
- Try some vinegar to shrink it. Vinegar dissolves calcium deposits, so you can try to soak a cotton ball in some vinegar and place it over the bleb in your bra (with a breast pad). Using vinegar can cause the white spot on your nipple to shrink. It may be easier to release a smaller bleb than a large one.
Once you soften it, try to massage your breast to release the bleb. You can also put some pressure on the area behind the white spot and try to get the hardened milk to squeeze out. Another option is to just let your baby nurse! Your baby may work it out during their feeding and don’t worry! It’s just milk and won’t harm your little one.
3. Massage It
Massage can work wonders with releasing a clogged milk duct. It often works very well when the clogged duct is deeper in the breast, but it serves the same purpose when the clog is in your nipple.
Usually, massage works best when paired with softening techniques. The best way to massage it is while taking a hot shower. The combination of heat, water, and massage is one of the best techniques to fix a milk bleb.
You can also try using a hand-held massager if you have one. Some of them even have an attachment that warms up- and heat can definitely help release things! If you don’t have a hand-held massager, an electric toothbrush could also do the trick.
For blebs that are very close to the surface, you can try massaging it farther back and working towards your nipple. Also, apply pressure right behind the white spot on your nipple and see if you can get the hardened milk to release.
Changes in your diet can really help prevent milk blebs and clogs in the first place. There are some common foods that can contribute to clogs. If you can, try to:
- Avoid oatmeal and other similar carbohyrdates.
- Decrease intake of sugar and sweets.
- Reduce saturated fats in your diet (animal fats found in butter, whole milk, and red meat).
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drink to thirst, don’t let yourself go thirsty.
- Add sunflower lecithin: a supplement that makes your milk less “sticky”.
Implementing some diet changes can prevent milk blebs and clogged ducts from occurring. Some women notice that oatmeal is a big trigger for them and can’t eat it because they get clogs afterwards. Some women have more trouble with sugar. Other woman don’t need to change much other than adding some sunflower lecithin to their diet or drink more water. See what works for you, because preventing the clogs in the first place is the first step for treatment.
5. Open It
Sometimes, a thin layer of skin will grow over the milk bleb. When this happens, it’s hard to release it and you may need to look at getting behind the skin.
This is certainly something I recommend asking your doctor to do. They can use a sterile needle or lance and break the skin over the trapped milk. Sometimes when the skin is removed, the white spot on your nipple will just squeeze right out.
Again, ask your doctor to take a look for you and see if they’ll help you release the white spot. When the milk comes out, it might look a little like cottage cheese or have a thick consistency. This is to be expected – it’s much thicker than your breast milk because it’s been trapped.
Milk Bleb or Mastitis?
If you have a white spot on your nipple, try the methods above to release it. Sometimes, a clogged duct can cause a breast infection called mastitis. This is something to watch out for and if you don’t catch it early, you may need antibiotics.
Signs of mastitis are a red, painful area on your breast, your breast feeling hot to the touch, a fever and chills, and breast pain. If you notice these things, keep nursing your baby! Sometimes you can “nurse it out”. And continue to try to get the clogged duct to release. If that doesn’t work though, make an appointment to see your health care provider.
Well there you have it: when a breastfeeding mom has a white spot on her nipple, it’s called a milk bleb! Trying some of the techniques can help you to get rid of it and to prevent it!
Kealy Hawk, BSN, RN, CLC
Kealy is a Registered Nurse, Lactation Counselor, and most importantly a mommy! Her own baby feeding struggles gave her a passion to help moms throughout their feeding journey. She specializes in breastfeeding support and evidence-based formula recommendations. To talk with Kealy or take one of her breastfeeding or formula classes, visit https://littlebearcare.com.
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