Of all the uncomfortable things motherhood brings with it in the beginning, having a milk bladder is definitely one of the worst. But like so many mommies before you, you can do it. If you haven’t experienced this before, you are probably wondering what exactly a milk bladder could be because it definitely sounds awkward by its name. A milk bladder is when the skin on your nipple grows to cover one of your milk ducts, causing milk to become trapped and then essentially becoming an inflamed bladder. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the irritation, and we’re going to cover exactly what you should know about milk bladders.
What you should know about a milk bladder
As I said, a milk bladder is a covered milk duct that traps milk behind it. Trying to increase your milk supply is definitely not a good thing. They vary in color from white, clear, or yellow and feel like a small bump. It looks like a small blister or a pimple. There are a few different things that can cause this painful, annoying little bump.
The two most important are; Oversupply and locking problems. If you notice any of these little bumps, it’s good to take action as they aren’t all that difficult to heal, but ignoring them can turn into clogged ducts. Another important thing to look out for is whether it is a single milk bladder or several at once. If you have multiple blisters, you can actually have thrush.
Thrush is a common type of yeast infection and you may need to see a doctor for medication to clear this up. Once you have narrowed down all of the symptoms and you know it is a milk bladder, all you have to do is know how to treat it!
How to relieve a milk bladder
Use a warm wet compress
A warm wet compress is a simple cure for so many different ailments, and luckily for mothers with milk bladders, it usually helps. Apply a moist compress to your nipple before breastfeeding. This will help open and soften the bladder. It’s best to apply the compress right before feeding because if the warm water isn’t enough to remove the milk bladder, your baby’s pressure can be the extra boost they need.
Very gentle pressure
Following on from the above, a little pressure can go a long way in clearing a milk bladder. Scrape the edge of the blister with your fingernail or rub the bump off with a washcloth. Sometimes breastfeeding alone is enough to get the job done. If you’re just expressing or breastfeeding isn’t enough, try putting some pressure on the bladder yourself.
Soaking in saline solution
A combination of a warm wet compress and a homemade saline solution is another great way to relieve a milk bladder. A saline solution will both help get rid of your bladder and start the healing process on the right note. About two teaspoons of Epsom salt per cup of water should be enough.
Vinegar and a cotton ball
Motherhood asks you to do some pretty weird things. If milk bladders are part of that journey for you, one of those weird things might be tucking a vinegar-soaked cotton ball into your bra. It will help soften your bladder and pull out the stuck milk.
Ask your doctor for help
Don’t be afraid to call your doctor and ask for help. That’s what they’re there for. They can use a sterile needle to burst the bladder, and they can give you an antibacterial cream to help you heal properly. (Don’t do this alone)
Prevent future milk bubbles
Turn things around
Milk bladders can be caused by your baby’s latch or, often, too much pressure in an area. Changing the way you hold your baby from time to time while breastfeeding will reduce the chances of a breast bladder.
Contact a lactation consultant
A lactation consultant can act like a superhero early on in motherhood. They have the answers to everything booby-related and are no strangers to milk bladders. If the latch is the problem, they are definitely the ones who know how to solve it.
Try a different bra
Finding the perfect nursing bra can be really difficult and there can be some trial and error. You want to make sure that your bra isn’t too tight or rubbing uncomfortably against your nipples. You may also want to avoid all underwire bras.
Keep your nipple moisturized and healthy
This may seem obvious to some, but with the hustle and bustle of motherhood, self-care can easily be tossed aside. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. There are many different creams and soothing ointments available that will help keep your nipples healthy and keep milk bubbles out. Epsom salts drinks and cotton balls soaked in vinegar also help with long-term breast health while breastfeeding. Similar to staying healthy, you should be feeding your body good, energizing nutrition and staying well hydrated at all times.
Do you have any further questions about milk bladders? Please leave a question in the comments or ask questions on our Rookie Moms Facebook group. It’s a great way to connect with other mothers, share tips, and get advice.
You could also enjoy:
Warm it up mom! [A quick guide] the best bottle warmer for babies!
3 breastfeeding tips I’ve heard about an over – and 3 things I would rather have heard.
How to Get a Free Breast Pump – Tips, Tricks, and Questions
Pin for Later – Everything you need to know about a milk bladder + simple remedies