- Abscesses, Plugged Ducts & Lumps
- Insufficient Glandular Tissue (Hypoplasia)
- Large Breasts
- Mastitis (Breast Infection)
MILK & SUPPLY
Biting & Baby Teeth
Abscesses, Plugged Ducts & Lumps
Learn how to continue milk flow as the baby sucks even if the baby cannot or will not drink.
Colic in the Breastfed Baby
Insufficient Glandular Tissue (Hypoplasia)
One mother I met in a La Leche League meeting told me that when she first learned about breastfeeding, she understood that it would feel like running a marathon every day for a while. Then reality hit: with her second baby, she was finally diagnosed with Insufficient Glandular Tissue/Hypoplasia, a condition that affects 2% of women. And suddenly everything made sense — unfortunately, it was the sense of knowing breastfeeding wouldn’t work like she’d hoped. Without warning, she found herself at the starting line of the marathon with paralyzed legs, wondering why the hell she even signed up for this! But she was already there, ready to race, and though she struggled enormously, she ended up breastfeeding two babies (with another on the way).
Sometimes even all the determination, motherly love, multiple diagnoses by doctors, endless cups of Fenugreek tea and all the steel-cut galact-OAT-gogues in the world can’t fix what simply cannot work. For a mother who desperately wanted to breastfeed, the devastation in learning she is one of the rare women afflicted with IGT/hypoplasia can not only break her heart, but also everything she’d imagined for her world as a mother. It’s important to be especially sensitive if a woman you know recognizes that she has IGT.
- “Breastfeeding with Insufficient Glandular Tissue” – Jennifer Johnson
- “Hypoplasia/Insufficient Glandular Tissue” – Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC
- “Supporting Mothers with Mammary Hypoplasia” – Diana Cassar-Uhl for LLLI
Low Milk Supply and/or Slow Letdown
Mastitis (Breast Infection)
Milk Blister (Bleb)
A milk blister (not to be confused with a blood blister), also known as a “bleb,” is a blocked nipple pore that looks like a white pimple. I attempted to pop mine (a leftover habit from, uh, pubescent dermatological issues), and guess what happened? Thrush happened. Learn from my mistake and instead check out these easy home remedies to fix a bleb. You should continue breastfeeding if you have a bleb. Also please note that herpes blisters can be mistaken for milk blisters, and in this case breastfeeding should cease until the lesions are healed.
- “How Do You Treat a Milk Blister?” – Kelly Bonyata, BS IBCLC
- “Milk Blister” – BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr
- “Nipple Blebs/Blisters” – Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC
- “White “pimple” on nipple” – Kathy Kuhn, RN, BSN, IBCLC
Nipple dermatitis and eczema can cause pain while breastfeeding and put a mother at greater risk for breast infection and thrush. Anne M. Montgomery, MD, IBCLC describes contributing factors to various areolar dermatoses:
“Breastfeeding may cause irritation of the nipple and areolar skin leading to outbreaks of these dermatoses in susceptible women. Topical agents can lead to contact dermatitis. Maternal allergy to foods or cow’s milk or soy formula consumed by the nursling and still in the mouth during breastfeeding can also contribute.”
Susceptible breastfeeding women include those a history of eczema, sensitive skin, history of yeast infection, whose babies use bottles and/or pacifiers which spread bacteria, or those whose babies have started consuming solids (contact dermatitis).
SkinSight recommends to “[c]leanse the area after nursing with a soft warm-water-moistened cloth and then apply either a purified lanolin cream or petroleum jelly,” which you should leave on while nursing. Natural nipple butter or the prescription created by Dr. Newman called All-Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) can also help demolish dermatitis.
Also please note that one of the first symptoms of a rare form of breast cancer called Paget’s disease is an eczema-like rash on the nipple (usually just one to start) so it’s crucial to have this ruled out by a doctor.
- “Eczema of the Areola and Nipple in the Breastfeeding Woman” – Penny Lane DNP, CNM, IBCLC
- Eczema Q&A – Anne Smith, IBCLC
- “Helping a Breastfeeding Mother With Poison Ivy Dermatitis” – Sue Iwinski, AAPL
- “Nipple and Areolar Eczema in the Breastfeeding Patient” – B. Barankin
- “Nipple Dermatitis” – SkinSight
Read “It’s Closing Time.”
Oversupply and/or Overactive Letdown
Sore, Bleeding or Cracked Nipples
Vasospasm in breastfeeding mothers is an extremely painful spasm in the breast’ blood vessels due to lack of oxygen. It occurs with nipple damage.
Nipple blanching is an associated symptom of a present vasospasm. There are two reasons for blanching: compression (due to poor latch, tongue tie, clamping reflex, etc) and vasospasm. If the cause of blanching is compression, latch is usually the culprit; the nipple emerges from the baby’s mouth appearing misshapen and white but will soon regain its color and form. Otherwise if the issue is vasospasm, the blanching is not caused by poor latch but by trauma to the nipple, which doesn’t turn white until after breastfeeding.
Though less common, vasospasm sometimes results from Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s phenomenon.
- “Nipple Blanching and Vasospasm” – Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC
- “Nipple compression stripe” – Kathy Kuhn, IBCLC
- “Vasospasm and Raynaud’s Phenomenon” – Jack Newman, MD
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