We all know what it feels like to get blisters when we start trying something new for the first time. Whether we’ve gotten blisters from taking a long bike ride or from using the rowing machine at the gym for the first time, blisters are our body’s way of toughening up the skin in preparation for a new activity. Though more intimate, a baby will go through the same thing. Nursing blisters are extremely common for babies who are breastfeeding, but they can even happen to babies who are bottle-fed as well. They are small and harmless blisters that will appear on the upper lip of your infant, and they usually show up in a baby’s first few months.

If you notice that your baby is developing his or her first nursing blister, you should not stop feeding him or her. In fact, you don’t even need to let baby’s pediatrician know as long as you’re sure of the cause. These blisters don’t cause any pain to the baby, and they’re more unsightly than anything else. They’ll disappear on their own as your baby’s lips grow tougher and more accustomed to the sucking motions.

Studies show that some babies are actually born with nursing blisters because they sucked their thumb in the womb. Again, these blisters are completely harmless. If your baby was born with a lip blister, it will go away even more quickly and he or she will become better accustomed to breastfeeding.

If you’re not absolutely sure that the spot on your infant’s lip is a blister, you should certainly have the pediatrician take a look. Many mouth problems do not go away on their own, and an infection such as thrush could be transferred to your nipple and begin an endless cycle of being transferred back and forth between you and baby. Infections should be treated as soon as they show symptoms, so make sure you’re one hundred percent sure that the problem is a nursing blister before you decide to skip the doctor visit.

Both you and your baby will be going through physical changes during the breastfeeding period. As your nipples grow tougher, your baby’s lips will do the same. Whatever you do, don’t switch to bottles or stop feeding your baby when these problems arise, as they will only get worse. Continue with your schedule and you will both build a lasting resilience.

Source: Heidi Murkoff et al: Feeding your Baby: Breast or Formula, or Both. What to Expect in the First Year 2010

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