I remember when my kids were little, they kept getting a blister on the middle of their top lip…it would heal, peel off and show up again. At the time, I didn’t really know the cause or really think to much about them. Since becoming a Mama Coach and a Lactation Consultant I get asked about them all the time, so here is a little more info! Little ones can develop these blisters for a couple reasons.
They spend a lot of time sucking!! Newborn babies feed often, usually between 8-12 times a day. Each time they feed they may spend around 20 minutes (maybe more, maybe less) sucking. In-between feeds, babies may sooth themselves by sucking on a pacifier.
What can I do?
One thing you can check if your baby is breastfeeding and you notice this blister is just make sure you are happy with your baby’s latch. We always want babies to get a deep latch at the breast. This way your breast ends up further back in your baby’s mouth so their tongue (and not their lips) can do most of the action. To get a deep latch, make sure your baby’s belly is against your belly and their nose is lined up with your nipple. Wait for your baby to open their mouth nice and wide and then bring your baby into the breast chin first then mouth hooking around the nipple. When you look down you should see some clearance between the breast tissue and the nose because they breath through their nose. The baby’s lips should look flanged back and their chin should be tight against the breast tissue. The latch will be a little asymmetrical like this, meaning when the baby comes to the breast chin first, they will always have more breast tissue in the mouth on the bottom side than the top. If your baby has this nice deep latch then the blisters are just caused by normal friction at the breast while feeding.
Sucking at the breast causes friction along their lip and is totally normal! These lip blisters are more common in breastfed babies but bottle-fed babies can also get them.
A swallow latch may contribute to a blister because if your baby is not latched on correctly, they may compensate by using their lips to hold on to your breast. If this sounds like your baby, have your baby assess for a tongue and or lip tie. Babies with ties have less mobility within their mouth making it harder to open wide to get that deep latch and they will compensate by grasping at the breast with their gums and lips leaving a blister.
These blisters do not hurt and will disappear on their own.
If you have any questions or need help with feeding your newborn, please reach out to the Mama Coach in your area. We are happy to help!