15 answers

Nipple Has Blisters from Pumping

I gave birth to a wonderful boy 9 weeks ago. Due to flat nipples and latching-on problems, I pump only (I have since he was a week old) and feed my boy breast milk from a bottle. Yesterday, one of my nipples began to feel sore, then in the evening I developed small blisters on the edge of the nipple. The blisters are very sore when I pump, and sore to the touch at other times. I contacted my lactation consultant, and she had no idea what they may be from, or how to deal with them. She suggested I see my doctor. I saw my doctor and he said they will go away on their own and to contact him if it gets worse in two days. He told me to use Lansinoh lanolin. I have been using the same pump since I began, I clean the parts thoroughly after each use. I have no idea why they just appeared yesterday. Has anyone ever had this experience? If so, how long did the blisters last, and what did you do to ease the pain?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Things are coming along- I saw another LC today and she thinks the blisters have turned into a blocked milk duct. Or it was a blocked duct from the beginning and now you can see the milk in one of the blisters. I am using a hot compress before pumping and massaging during pumping. I think the blisters are actually getting smaller, but tomorrow if it has not gotten better, I will see my doctor. I want to thank you all for your advice and time in answering my question. You are all so very helpful! FYI- I am using a Medela Pump in Style pump. It is great... I bought it new and have had no problems with it. I have pumped every three hours (I go longer overnight)since we came home from the hospital on April 24th! I am definitely getting my money's worth out of this pump! I highly recommend it to anyone!

Featured Answers

I remember I used to express my milk & keep my nipples wet. I don't know if it help make it go away but it made it ease the uncomfortness for me.

Hope it works for you =).

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not sure if we had the same, but yes when my baby was a newborn, i did get ablister..turned out it was a clogged duct, which eventually turned into mastitis... which can be very painful.. another reason for this can possibly be a bad latch... if it's painful after one or 2 minutes, it probably is....just try to let your nipple air dry, no lotions (except lansinoh) and if you start to feel any flu symptoms, go back to the doctor,unfortunately you would need antibiotics... sorry if this sounds scary!! but don't worry, it possibly might even go away on its own!hope this helps and keep nursing/pumping, that is the best way to help your infection, and baby!

i got a blister when i first started pumping with my first son. i think it was from running the pump too fast. i ended up getting mastitis from it, so just watch those blisters to make sure they don't get worse.

Regular use of the Lansinoh cream should keep the situation from happening again. My doula told me to use it twice a day for the full month before childbirth, and then to use it after every feeding. I never got cracked nipples and my son ate like a horse! LOL

For the current discomfort, although not a treatment for the cause, you can put cabbage leaves on your breasts under your bra. I can't explain why, but it works. That's a trick that a lactation consultant shared with me.

I wonder, too, if you could put over-the-counter anti-biotic ointment on your nipples inbetween feedings? If you used soap and water to wash it off before each feeding, then maybe that would help to get rid of the blisters? Just a thought.

Those blisters were uncomfortable and painful. I got a few of those things while I was breastfeeding. If my nipple was slightly off-center while pumping, then the tugging and pulling from the pump seemed to make the blisters darker(purplish) and more sensitive. Because I had twins, I was breastfeeding and/or pumping 12-15 hours a day the first few months. So, I had also chalked it up to "wear and tear." Using lanolin before pumping and sometimes a cold pack (not ice) after did help soothe the ache, but the blisters ultimately cleared up when I was done breastfeeding and pumping. Good luck and congratulations to you!

Did you change how you pumped (duration or placement of the nipple shield)? If you didn't have it centered, you can amke the nipple sore. Also, are you using the right size nipple shield (horn)? Your nipples could be rubbing against the inside of the shield if it is too small.

The Lasinoh lanolin is the best. I used it religiously in the first few weeks after my daughters were born and now I just put it on at night before bed. It really helps to heal and soothe the soreness.

Also try warm tea bags-- caffinated. My nurses/LC in the hospital recommended a warm compress of caffinated tea bags to help heal sore nipples. Just make sure you aren't wearing any clothing that you don't mind getting stained. I would wear an old sports bra with the tea bag against my nipples and then an old wash cloth folded between the bag & bra to soak up any mositure.

Check out the pumping moms board on babycenter.com
Those gals have great advice, suggestions, and support.
Good luck!

I pumped exclusively with my twins and was very sore for a while since it seems that's what I did ALL day long. I never had blisters, but was often very red and in pain. I tried the lanolin and it actually made it worse. The reason it made it worse was becasue it increased the friction in the cones while pumping and caused a lot of "dragging" and was soooo uncomfortable. What worked for me was using the lanolin at night after the last time I pumped. I would then take a shower in the am before pumping again. If the blisters get worse, go see your doctor. I hope you feel better and congratulations on the new addition!!

S., has the pump you've been using been used by anyone else? After having her baby, my friend's doctor told her she should never use a pump that's been used by someone else and that bacteria can start to build up within the machine. Either way, definitely question your doctor about the blisters.Good Luck.

I had these too--I think the pump was slightly off-center when I was pumping. Use the lansinoh--and when someone else mentioned to keep your nipples wet--that's wet with breast milk! If you massage a little milk into the nipple, it will also help to heal it. Otherwise, I think you're supposed to keep them dry (but lansinoh is good). Just wanted to tell you that because, when I first started, someone told me to keep mine wet--I did (or at least, I didn't actively try to dry them off or wear pads to absorb leaks), and they were so sore! They forgot to clarify wet "WITH BREAST MILK." Good luck--it will get so much better.

i didn't have this happen, but 2 tips for soothing- one are these things called... soothies! buy buy baby has them, and they're made just for sore nipples. i also remember (gasp- i remembered something!?! you could look this one up to double check for your situation;) reading when i was pumping that putting olive oil on the horn if it's uncomfortable can help. i did it more for where it made contact w/ my breast further out, but it did feel better. i also didn't pump a lot, and the clean up might get annoying. i also agree to talking to the nursing doctor specialist the other woman gave you info about, and that milk on the nipples is healing;) best luck!

I remember I used to express my milk & keep my nipples wet. I don't know if it help make it go away but it made it ease the uncomfortness for me.

Hope it works for you =).

make sure you rule out thrush too. this just happened to a friend of mine and it took about 9 weeks for anyone to properly diagnose it. also, i agree with a PP regarding making sure you have the right size horn for your pump. once you wet your nipple with breast millk, try to let it air dry before covering back up.

It could be where the pump is hitting your nipple. Is you rnipple all the way in the pump? Also, you can use a nipple sheild and try to breastfeed directly. Has the lactation consultant helped you with that? As you baby grows it gets harder to pump enough so if you can switch to the breast directly then it may be easier all around. Good luck

I don't have any advice, but KUDOS to you for trying to nurse/pump!

My first baby refused to latch on so I pumped exclusively for 6 months and gave her all the milk in the bottle.

It will be tiring but it's so worth it and you're not paying for expensive formula. Hang in there and if you have any questions, let me know or go to kellymom.com - a wonderful resource about pumping exclusively...


When I was nursing, I had some blisters, cracks, etc. I was recommended the follwing doctors:
Dr. Christina Smillie
2505 Main St Ste 223
Breastfeeding Resources
Stratford, CT
They were great and worth the trip up there. They only focus on nursing moms and babies. They also are very helpful over the phone and take insurance. Hope that helps.

What brand is the pump? I originally bought an Avent but found that it pinched a lot. I eventually bought a Medela Pump in Style, which is very comfortable to use and has different suction settings, so it makes it more comfortable. Also make sure that the breast shield fits you properly. Buy several sizes and experiment to see which size fits you best. http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/pump-access...
It could be that this improper fit is causing the blister. I would also seek a second opinion from another lactation consultant, because that is definitely not normal.
Also keep trying with the breastfeeding. I had to use a nipple shield to feed my son for the first 2 months because I had similar problems- large breasts and nipples were too big and flat for my son to get in his mouth. I worked with a lactation consultant and kept trying to get him to latch. After not trying for about a month, one day I decided to give it a try and he latched on for about 5 minutes. I continued offering the breast once or twice a day gradually increasing all week and by the end of the week, he was off the shield completely and that was 3 months ago. I also had to work with him and make sure his mouth was positioned properly. I think it was that he finally was big enough that he could do it on his own. Go to www.kellymom.com for advice. It's a great site. And I would recommend "The Breastfeeding Book." They recommend co-sleeping, but even if you are not into that (I'm not) the advice is great and it helped me to finally breastfeed my son the way nature intended.

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