This node is in response to subjective statements made in the node directly above. Radlab0 asks that a mother "please never, never, never consume alcohol while breastfeeding" and gives the opinion that even small amounts of alcohol may cause long term harm to the breastfed baby.
Breastfeeding is too important to be dismissed just because the mother lives a normal life. Breastfeeding is also inherently simple. When rules and more rules are imposed it becomes needlessly complex and something only an extraordinary woman can do. You don't have to be a saint to breastfeed.
Alex.tan correctly states (also above) that "a mother addicted to heroin or alcohol should not be breastfeeding her infant (and indeed should be a target of social services)". This is quite different from implying that a minute amount of alcohol in breastmilk will lead to the infant having long term problems with alcohol.
Don't take me wrong, mothers (and fathers) should not be drinking to excess or even on a regular basis. It is difficult to be a good parent and a drunk plus alcohol on a regular basis (2 drinks a day) has been shown to cause some gross motor developmental delays in one year olds. But again, this is not the same as implying that a single drink can cause harm. It is however true that drinking alcohol decreases the amount of milk a baby will recieve in the (short term) following feedings, probably by inhibiting the MER. A then hungry baby may fuss to feed more often thereby increasing milk because of the supply and demand regulation of breastmilk. Because of these conflicting pieces of information the folk lore advice to drink beer as a galactogogue is controversial. I'm just saying a breastfeeding mother can live a normal life. As much as new parents wish babies came with rule books, they just don't. Use common sense and moderation. Pay attention to your baby and if it acts hungry feed it. Don't be a lush, but you don't have to be a saint either.
Breastfeeding should be kept simple and sensible and not overly restricted by silliness. If you have an occasional drink it is best if you breastfeed first. By the time the baby next nurses the already minuscule amount of alcohol present in the milk will be further reduced.
(note to Blue Dragon's node down stream a bit)
Blocked ducts or plugged ducts can originate at the nipple tip causing a little bleb like you described. They can also originate further back in the ductal system and not show on the nipple tip.
If the block is caused by a nipple tip bleb your technique sometimes works but should be approached with caution and sterile technique. Deep hand expression, stretching of the pore and warm wet compresses are also known to help sometimes. Blebs often come back with alarming frequency. The milk that is expressed after opening the bleb is often thick and stringy. If infection or yeast or just inflamation sets in topical creams can be used to prevent reoccurance. One such cream is described on this site by the noted Canadian MD Jack Newman. See http://www.bflrc.com/newman/overheads/treatments%20for%20problems.html way down near the bottom.
If the block is further back in the breast the treatment would be different. Blocked ducts can lead to mastitis and mastitis can be "just" inflamatory (still really hurts and leads to loss of supply if not dealt with) or can be infectious. I agree that systemic antibiotics are overused when keeping the breast drained frequently and anti-inflamatory drugs would often be enough. One walks a fine line here, inadequately treated mastitis can lead to absesses but antibiotics can lead to yeast infections and resistant organisms. Jack also has some good recommendations on this. See http://www.bflrc.com/newman/breastfeeding/mastitis.htm
Other nodes I've written with some breastfeeding content:
natural age of weaning / cleft palate / The medicalization of childbirth and pregnancy / premature baby / Poland Syndrome / male genital mutilation / breast pain mastalgia / supply and demand regulation of breastmilk / premature baby / formula / online information about breastfeeding for parents / Guide to Breastfeeding / afterbirth pain / moist heat therapy / beta-carotene / Breastfeeding the Newborn / Leche / lactation consultant / Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Infancy: Assessment and Management / UNICEF / WABA / IBFAN / public breastfeeding / Medications and Mothers' Milk / Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives / Apgar scale / Lactivist / attachment parenting / Breastfeeding Matters / La Leche League International / ear infection / nursing strike / Solomon / nipple piercing / milk / each one teach one / Sudden Infant Death Syndrome / fenugreek / lactogogue / Clinical Lactation: A Visual Guide / sub mucous cleft palate / The Breastfeeding Atlas / ankyloglossia / Tongue Tie From Confusion to Clarity A Guide to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Ankyloglossia / Current Issues in Clinical Lactation / peristalsis / BodyPerks / lactose intolerant / supplemenatal nursing system / at breast supplementer / How to Know a Health Professional is not Supportive of Breastfeeding / Lactnet (idea) / Breast Reduction (idea) / Clinical Therapy In Breastfeeding Patients (thing)