Milk blebs, or milk blisters, can occur when nipple pores become blocked during breastfeeding or chestfeeding. They form small white spots that look like milk-filled blisters.

Home remedies and preventive measures remedies may help. In some cases, such as if it does not resolve or if there is an infection, a doctor may recommend medical treatments.

Read on to learn more about milk blebs. This article discusses what a milk bleb looks like, possible causes, treatment options, and more.

Symptoms of a milk bleb include:

  • a small white or whitish spot, usually at the opening of a duct on the nipple or areola
  • a shiny, smooth surface
  • inflammation
  • tenderness
  • pain at the site of the bleb

Milk blebs can affect one or both nipples. They can develop singularly or in clusters.

Learn about the symptoms of a clogged milk duct.

Milk blebs happen when skin grows over the opening of the milk duct. Often, this results from inflammation in the milk duct and can cause milk to back up.

Risk factors for milk blebs include:

  • clogged ducts or issues with milk drainage
  • mastitis
  • incorrect latch
  • wearing a bra or clothing that is too tight
  • something putting pressure against the area for an extended period, such as a strap or seat belt
  • rigorously massaging the breast
  • pressure on the breast due to sleeping positions

Learn more about what can cause white spots on the nipples.

Various remedies may help treat milk blebs. These include:

  • soaking the breast in warm salt water for 5 to 10 minutes and then gently massaging the nipple to release the blister
  • changing the angle during feeding to release milk through gravity and suction, known as dangle feeding
  • applying a cold compress to decrease inflammation
  • keeping the nipple soft and moist throughout the day with olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil

If these remedies do not help, a doctor can clear the blockage from the duct using a sterile needle. It is important for people not to perform this treatment at home, as it increases the risk of infection and mastitis.

Antibiotics may be necessary if mastitis occurs due to a bacterial infection.

If milk builds up in the area, the duct can fill again, so it is important to address the underlying cause of milk blebs.

A person can take various steps to help prevent milk blebs. These measures mostly aim to avoid excess milk supply and to minimize inflammation in the breasts. They include:

  • avoiding excessive pumping, as this can result in hyperlactation (excess milk)
  • ensuring the baby has a suitable latch while nursing, as an incorrect latch might lead to milk oversupply
  • avoiding going too long between feeds, as this can cause milk to back up
  • staying hydrated to help reduce inflammation

Taking a lecithin supplement can help people with a history of milk blebs or clogged ducts. However, it is important to talk with a lactation professional first.

A lactation specialist can provide more advice on ways to help prevent milk blebs or reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

Milk blisters usually resolve with home remedies within several weeks.

If they do not improve, it is advisable to contact a lactation consultant or doctor, especially if the milk blebs:

Although a milk bleb is also called a milk blister, they are not the same as a blister.

A milk bleb forms when skin grows over the opening of the milk duct. Usually, this results from inflammation in the milk duct, but it can also cause milk to back up more.

Contrastingly, a blister is a fluid-filled pocket that develops on the surface of the skin, typically in response to injury. This could be due to a baby who has an incorrect latch or a pump flange that doesn’t fit correctly.

Here are some common questions about milk blebs.

How do you get rid of milk blebs?

A person may be able to treat a milk bleb by bathing the breast in warm salt water and gently massaging the bleb, adjusting the angle during feeding for better suction, and using olive oil to soften the area.

Can I pop a milk bleb?

It is important not to pop a milk bleb, as it might not be ready to open and can lead to infection.

Does a milk bleb always mean a clogged duct?

A milk bleb does not always mean a clogged duct. It happens when something blocks the duct, such as skin growing over the opening.

What should a person do if a milk bleb will not go away?

If a milk bleb does not resolve with home remedies, it is important for a person to contact a lactation consultant or a doctor. The doctor may recommend medical treatments, such as a topical steroid cream or using a needle to clear the blockage. It is important not to use a needle at home.

Can a milk bleb cause shooting pain?

Milk blebs may cause severe pain that can feel like shooting pain. If this is the case, it is important to contact a doctor as early as possible.

Milk blebs, or milk blisters, are small white spots that can form on the nipple or areola when nursing. They happen when something blocks the milk duct, such as skin covering the duct, causing milk to back up.

Factors that increase the likelihood of milk blebs can include clogged ducts, wearing something tight around the breast for a long time, improper latch, pressure on the breast, and mastitis.

Home remedies for milk blebs include soaking the breast in warm water and massaging the area, changing the angle of feeding, applying a cold compress, and using olive oil to keep the skin of the area soft.

If a milk bleb does not resolve on its own within a few weeks, if a person experiences severe pain, or if there are signs of infection, it is important to contact a doctor.