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Scabs are usually the result of a wound or crack on the nipple.  Refer to Nipple Trauma/Wound article for details.

The scab may soften after each nursing and appear white.  Pieces of the scab may be swallowed by the baby during nursing.  This is not dangerous for the baby.  If you have pain with nursing, the scab needs to heal for the pain to improve.   

How to heal a scab on the nipple: 

  1. after feeding or pumping, soak nipple in warm salt water.  Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup warm water, put it in a shallow cup and dip your nipple in for 3 minutes.
  2. let dry
  3. you may need an antibacterial ointment.  Speak with your doctor about mupirocin (Bactroban) ointment.  Use ˝ peasize of ointment on the crack after you have soaked the nipple.
  4. If the wound doesn’t start to heal in 2-3 days, you may try using breast shells.  Put shelss on in between feeds, during the day.  This allows the wound not to be touched by the pad or bra in between feeds.
  5. If after a week you still do not see improvement, try not nursing on that side and pump at every feeding session for 24 to 48 hours. 
***If there is still no healing, speak with your doctor again.***   A very small (1mm) yellow or white scab may also be an  indication of an inflamed duct/bleb/milk blister.