Once upon a time when my middle child was still an infant and I was nursing her exclusively, I noticed a persistent burning feeling whenever I wasn’t breastfeeding. It wasn’t the twinge that I usually feel in my nipples when my milk lets down; it was different. It was really painful. It felt like I was in the very early stages of breastfeeding. You remember those days filled with MotherLove Nipple Cream slathered on in between feedings to help heal your cracked nipples, don’t you? Then as soon as my daughter would latch on and start eating the pain would ease.
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 by all means, please read on!
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; thrush burns. A clogged nipple pore will feel ten times 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) and stress. If left unattended the clogged pore can lead to mastitis so it’s important that you take action to relieve the pressure. When left unattended a clogged pore can also reduce the milk supply in the affected breast. Prior to actually seeing the clogged pore, I always noticed a reduction of milk while pumping. Then the pain came, I knew what was happening with my milk supply – there was a plug somewhere inside of my nipple.
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So what can you do to fix a clogged nipple pore? It’s really rather simple.
Apply a hot (don’t burn yourself though) 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 relieving the pressure.
A lactation consultant once told me that if I could see the bleb’s head (it’s hard and white) I could sterilize a needle or safety pin. To do that she suggested I light a match and hold the tip of the needle into the flame for a while until I knew it was hot. Then place the needle in rubbing alcohol soaking for ten to 15 minutes. One your needle is sterilized, lift the skin of the bleb with the sterilized needle. Do not pierce, lift. The goal is to not give yourself a nipple piercing; if you really want to do that go and find a reputable piercing studio. Moving the hard white substance from the nipple pore should relieve pressure immediately. Then your baby does the rest doing what they do best: nursing.
Our bodies are made wonderfully, don’t you think? Another way of treating a clogged nipple pore 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!