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What to Do if Your Baby Has Blisters on Their Lips

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 10, 2021

Sometimes your baby can get blisters on their lips. This can be caused by simple things like learning how to breastfeed or it can be a sign of an infection. There are things you can do to make sure your baby is comfortable and healing.

Causes of Blisters on Your Baby’s Lip

A blister is a raised bump on the skin that’s filled with fluid. The skin is tender and can hurt if it’s pressed or broken open, which can make your baby grouchy.

Babies can get breastfeeding blisters on the inside of their lips. The sucking action can cause a callus on the skin. Sometimes babies are born with these blisters if they sucked their fingers in the womb.

Cold sores cause blisters on the lips. Cold sores, sometimes called a fever blister, can show up on your baby’s lip and are caused by the Herpes simplex 1 virus. If you have an active sore, you should keep it covered and don’t kiss your baby as you can pass the virus to them. A herpes infection can be very dangerous for newborns.

Blisters can sometimes be an allergic reaction. Your baby could be allergic to ingredients in lotions, creams, or lip balm used on or near the lips. If your baby gets blisters after you introduce a food, they might have a food allergy.

Impetigo is an infection caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria that causes blisters on the lip and around the mouth. They can burst and leak fluid, and then a crust forms over top. They can also look like larger, clear blisters full of fluid that don't burst.

Oral thrush causes white blisters on your baby’s lips. The white patches are also inside the mouth on the tongue, cheeks, and roof of the mouth. They look like cottage cheese or milk and can make it hurt to suck or swallow. This is caused by an overgrowth of yeast.

Signs of Blisters on Your Baby’s Lips

A blister is a raised bump on the skin full of clear liquid. It can break and leak, and the skin can be sore. This can cause your baby to have trouble eating or to be grouchy because it hurts. 

If blisters are caused by learning how to breastfeed or from sucking, there might not be any other symptoms, though.

If your baby's blisters are caused by an infection, they might have other symptoms. These include:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Smelly fluid leaking from the blister
  • White patches or white blister
  • Crusted skin
  • Swelling
  • Soreness
  • Blisters that spread

Treatment for Blisters on Your Baby’s Lips

Treatment for your baby’s blisters depends on the cause. Breastfeeding blisters or sucking blisters will go away on their own and don’t need treatment

You should keep feeding your baby as usual and talk to a lactation consultant who can help you get a good latch. When your baby gets used to the sucking motion, the blisters will clear up. Sometimes this can take a few months.

Once your baby has the virus, cold sore blisters will come and go as they get older. There is no cure for cold sores. You can help your baby by protecting their skin with lotion, sunscreen, and lip balm before going outside. Some treatments can help make your baby feel better while they have an active cold sore. 

These include:

  • A cool or warm washcloth to help with pain
  • Regular feedings to stay hydrated
  • Avoiding acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes if your baby is eating foods
  • Pain relievers
  • Over-the-counter cold sore lip balms or creams for kids

If your baby has impetigo, your doctor will give you antibiotic cream to treat the infection. If the infection is also around the mouth, your doctor might suggest that you use a bandage to stop the bacteria from spreading.

Thrush can be treated with antifungal medicine that is painted on your baby’s tongue and lips. If you breastfeed your baby and you have sore and red nipples, you might also have thrush. You can pass the infection back and forth between you and your baby, so you will need to put the medicine on your nipples, too. If your baby is old enough, you can also give them probiotic yogurt. You might need to sterilize soothers, teething toys, and bottles.

In general, if your baby has blisters on their lips, make sure to:

When Blisters Are an Emergency

Sometimes blisters on your baby’s lips can be a sign of something more serious. See your doctor if your baby has blisters and the following symptoms:

  • Stops breastfeeding, feeding, or drinking fluids
  • Sores near their eyes
  • Red, hot, swollen skin
  • Seizures
  • High fever
  • Spreading sores
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast breathing
  • Grunting
  • Blue skin
  • Short periods of no breathing
  • Yellowing skin or eyes
  • Bleeding
  • Rash

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Boston Children’s Hospital: “Neonatal herpes simplex Symptoms & Causes.”

Fairview: “Blister (Child).”

Healthy Children: “Cold Sores in Children: About the Herpes Simplex Virus.”

Kids Health: “Oral Thrush.”

Merck Manuals: “Mouth Sores and Inflammation – Mouth and Dental Disorders.”

National Health Service: “Impetigo.”

National Health Service: “Neonatal herpes (herpes in a baby).”

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