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baby with milk spots
newborns

newborn baby milk spots: all your questions answered

3 minutes

09/07/2021

Milk spots are a common skin condition that affects up to half of all babies.1 To understand a little more about these tiny bumps and what you can do about them, we’ve put together a helpful guide.

  1. What are newborn baby milk spots?

  2. How common are newborn baby milk spots?

  3. What do milk spots look like on babies?

  4. Are newborn baby milk spots the same as baby acne?

  5. What causes newborn baby milk spots?

  6. How long do milk spots last on babies?

  7. Are newborn baby milk spots a reason to worry?

  8. How do you treat newborn baby milk spots?

1. What are newborn baby milk spots?

Milia (mi-lee-uh) – better known as milk spots – are tiny cysts filled with keratin (a protein found in hair, skin tissue and nail cells). They are a very common skin condition in babies.

Milk spots appear on a baby’s face, but also sometimes on other parts of their body too, and tend to cluster, typically around the eyes, nose, cheeks and forehead.

baby with milk spots

2. How common are newborn baby milk spots?

Newborn baby milk spots are very common. In fact, doctors estimate that almost half of all babies are either born with milk spots or develop them. Adults can sometimes get them too.

If your baby doesn’t have milk spots, that’s also completely normal.

3. What do milk spots look like on babies?

Believe it or not, newborn baby milk spots have nothing to do with milk. These tiny white spots (and they really are tiny, usually less than a millimetre in size) get their name because of their milky-white color. A baby might have only a few milk spots or they might have lots clustered together.

4. Are newborn baby milk spots the same as baby acne?

No. Although people often refer to newborn baby milk spots as baby acne, baby acne is actually a different skin condition, one where the spots are red in color with a notable head rather than white and smooth.

To find out more about baby acne, read our helpful guide.

5. What causes newborn baby milk spots?

Although doctors aren’t completely sure what causes newborn milia, theories include undeveloped skin glands in baby (that then lead to blocked pores), and excess hormones passed onto baby by mum during childbirth.

6. How long do milk spots last on babies?

Newborn baby milk spots usually only last a few weeks. You’ll wake up one morning and they’ll have completely vanished.

7. Are newborn baby milk spots a reason to worry?

You’ll find yourself worrying about lots of things when you become a parent, but newborn baby milk spots shouldn’t be one of them. Not only are these little bumps extremely common, they’re also completely harmless. And unlike some other childhood skin conditions, such as hives in babies, which can be itchy and sore, they won’t cause your baby any discomfort either.

The only time you should be concerned about milk spots is if they’re accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, or in the rare instance that they become infected. In both these cases, pay your doctor a visit right away, they’ll know immediately what to do.

8. How do you treat baby milk spots?

Given time, newborn baby milk spots will clear up on their own, so just keep baby clean the way you always do – either with cooled boiled water and wash cloth or a gentle cleanse with WaterWipes vegan, cruelty-free and sensitive baby wet wipes. And keep feeding them on schedule too.

The one thing you shouldn’t do – no matter how tempting – is pop these spots. Although they may look a little bit like pimples, there’s no natural opening to squeeze things out of (and nothing inside to squeeze out either), so all you’ll be doing is breaking the baby’s skin, which could lead to infection or even leave a scar.

When it comes to newborn milk spots, it really is a case of taking a deep breath and being patient. Your baby’s skin will be bump-free before you know it.

If you found this newborn baby milk spots guide helpful, you might like to take a look at some of the other features on our Parenting Hub? For example:

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