Nipples cracked and bleeding, please help

Alisha - posted on 05/04/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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I have a 6 day old baby girl that looks like she latches on great, but my nipples are scabby and bloody and it hurts sooo bad to nurse her. This is my third child and I nursed both of my others until about 18 months, so nursing is not a new thing for me. They have all had their own unique challenges in the beginning, but this one has been the worst. I have seen two lactation consultants who both say that she looks like she is latched on great. one of them said that she has a small mouth and I have a very large chest so give it some time. The other one said that the way I am putting her on may be the reason that I'm sore. she takes a few minutes to get a good latch, because she has such a small mouth it really hard to get her to open up big enough. So we just keep trying until she gets it right because I didn't/don't want her getting into a bad habit. She doesn't really even get frustrated, which is nice. I'm not sure I could handle the pain with a baby screaming her head off. So, my concern is my scabbing and pain. She spit up a little bit this morning and it was kind of pink, as it dries it has turned brown which lets me know that she's getting blood from the scabs on my nipples. I don't know how much blood, but enough to cause the milk that she spit up to be pink. I wouldn't think that the blood would hurt her, but I don't know that's why I'm asking all of you. What do you guys think? I'm afraid to take her off the breast and pump and give her milk in the bottle because she is so young and not really all that established at the breast. Again, please help and Thanks.

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Krystal - posted on 05/05/2009

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as odd as it may sound - tea bags on your nipples. soak them in warm water while you're nursing and then squeeze out the excess water so they're not dripping wet. then put them on your nipples, put a breast pad in your bra so you don't get wet circles thru your shirt :), and let them be for a bit. it really helped to 'toughen' up my nipples.
good luck!

Tracy - posted on 05/06/2009

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Hi,it sounds like your baby has burst a blood vessel whilst feeing,I also experienced this with my 3rd son,plus I had such sore cracked/blistered nipples.You should try a nipple cream u can get a t chemist(sorry fgot t name of it) which is not harmfull to yor baby.you should also think about buying some nipple shields as these give your nipples time to recover & u will be able to stop using them once your sore nipples have healed without having to stop breast feeding.then you will always have the shields incase you need to usethem.I also recomend the reusable nipple pads as they don't seem to be so rough on the nipple,plus you save money too...
Hope this helps you in some way! good luck...

[deleted account]

I had the same issues with my daughter. She is just now two weeks. I think it is really a sign of how strong their little mouths are. It is like they suck the life out of your nipples. I had to use nipple cream to make sure you do not get any infections and to help heal, Lansinoh to soften your nipples, plus i used a nipple shield when I just could not take it, plus pumping is not as harsh on your nipples as the baby will be. So if you change it up on the baby like feeding her from a bottle after pumping, plus using a shield and feeding her on your breast it will not only help if you need to bottle feed at a later time but it will give your nipples a rest!

Echo - posted on 05/06/2009

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Lanisoh is going to be your best friend! If it hurts too much to rub on your nipples, they have a spray now. The stuff is great for dry skin, chapped lips, etc. after your nipples adjust. Hang in there. I have nursed three children as well and they have each been different nursers. You can do it!

Lori - posted on 05/06/2009

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I had very cracked bleeding nipples as well. The pain was intense, and nothing seemed to help. I finally after two months, and endless suggestions from doctors and lactation consultants, started pumping. I would pump from one breast and let him feed off the other one. I put polysporin on the cracked nipple that I was pumping off of. I found that nipple cream like Purlan or Lansinoh caused intense burning, and Vasoline was very soothing. You just have to wipe it off before baby latches on. It took about two weeks to completely heal the cracks and then I switched and pumped off the other one and let him nurse off the healed one. I never had any problem getting him to take the breast, I always switched it which he got first, the bottle or the breast, so he didn't get lazy on the breast and just wait for the bottle. I hope this helps and wish you luck, I completely understand your pain.

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Carrie - posted on 01/28/2012

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Mine cracked & bled. It was awful. I bought "Soothies" at the Mommy & Me store at the hospital which helped relieve the immediate pain. Kinda like gel pads that I put in the fridge, they absorb milk when you leak, & felt sooo good when I put them on. However, to actually help get my skin back to the way it was before nursing I bought the organic Peter Rabbit Therapy Cream sold at Whole Foods. I did a lot of research to find a nipple cream that could be safely ingested. And as a bonus, I use it for diaper rash cream, on the cheeks & chin for chapped face from drool, & even on my dry hands from washing. It's the best stuff & worked really well on my very painfully sore nipples & loved the fact that it was totally safe for my baby to ingest. Just don't use anything that has petroleum oil/jelly or products with mineral oil...mineral oil is just a petroleum byproduct!! This absolutely should not be ingested!! Petroleum jelly/oil & mineral oil act like saran wrap on the skin, it doesn't let the skin breathe, blocks pores, & doesn't let the body's natural ability to moisturize itself so you will have a continuous battle of chapped/cracked skin. For ex, you can take a cracker & put in water & it turns to mush, but if you take a cracker & put in baby oil even a day later you can take it out and it will crumble like a fresh cracker. No moisture can soak in the cracker so same goes with your skin. So, I highly recommend the Therapy Cream!

Heather - posted on 05/06/2009

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The best advice I received was from a friend who nursed all 3 of her children and it was to never, and she meant never cover up you breasts after nursing until your nipples were completely air dried. She also suggested instead of cream to just express a bit of your milk and rub it around the areola. I followed this advice and did not have any issues nursing and I am a first time mother.

Sonia - posted on 05/06/2009

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When I had a yeast infection on my breasts it showed as a light pink ring that went around my areola's. It was probably around an 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide all around. I was advised to use canesten cream sparingly on my skin around my areola's. It went away in a few days and my sores healed up quick after that.

Alisha - posted on 05/06/2009

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Wow, you guys have given me some great tips/ideas, thanks. The pain is a little bit better today and hopefully I'm on my way to no pain. I'm curious, what does a yeast infection look like on your nipples so I'll know what to look out for? I've heard that it is super painful.

Amy - posted on 05/05/2009

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The advice the other moms are giving you is great. I used the lansinough lanolin and have also tried Purelan. I liked purelan better because it is less tacky and doesn't hurt as much to put on. Experiment with different nursing holds, I found that on one side the football hold worked much better to reduce pain. Expose your breasts to the air as much as possible, rub milk on them and let them airdry before putting lanolin on. Your breastmilk is antibacterial. If you are concearned about using a bottle for fear of nipple confusion so early on you can always pump and finger feed with a tube or cup feed. My midwife recommended this to me when I was struggling at the beginning. And remember that you are probably doing nothing wrong, your baby is just taking a while to learn what to do. Keep trying and good luck!

Chelsea - posted on 05/05/2009

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Use some lanolin, works great, also I was told to leave milk on your nipple and let it air dry. Sounds crazy but it worked for me.

Emily - posted on 05/05/2009

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oh mine did the same thing it is pretty normal for this to happen but i got the lansinoh it is the purple tube of nursing cream you can get it at target, walmart and cvs. this stuff is great feels good and in a few days my nipples were great. I used this for about 2 months after every feeding and when i took a shower and changed pads it feels really good and the best part it is safe for baby you do even have to wipe it off.

Sonia - posted on 05/05/2009

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I had a similar experience with my first. She was an aggressive eater with a small mouth and me with large nipples. I let them "air dry" a lot because the scaps would heal better and then where a nipple cup in my bra so my nipples wouldn't touch anything. A consultant to me to use olive oil to cover my nipples after feeding. It is a natural healer and wouldn't affect the baby negatively. I ended up getting mastitis a few times and yeast on my breasts which made the scaps on my nipples last 6 weeks. Keep an eye out for a yeast infection on your breast which can happen if you have open sores. I stuck it out though and I am so happy I did. I nursed all my 4 daughters more than a year. Best wishes to you and your little one!

Jessica - posted on 05/05/2009

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Try calling your ped's office to get the baby checked for thrush. Or you could try the genetian violet and see if that helps. You can look up the directions online to treat the two of you.

Michelle - posted on 05/05/2009

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My baby is 8 days old and I had nipple soreness at 5 days. Air dry your nipples as much as you can. I took motrin 30 minutes before feeding and applied cream after feeding. I tried to alternate breast milk in a botttle and breast. She did fine, but my nipples are just unbearable for me. Ice packs give some relief. She is now on just bottle until I heal, but I don't mind if she can't get back to the breast as long as she is still getting the breast milk. Good luck!

Christina - posted on 05/05/2009

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Hey Alisha,

Stick it out!! That's the best advice I got for you. My son is about a month and a week old and I'm finally just healing. I almost gave up and wanted to go to the bottle. There were many times I would just cry while breastfeeding my son..it was stressful. Lansinoh's Pure Lanolin helped me alot. Bare the pain because soon it will be a breeze. Good luck!!

Alisha - posted on 05/05/2009

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Thanks for all the advice ladies. I'm still going to wait on the nipple shield, but I got some gel pads and I'm still using the nipple cream. The pain is a little less intense today, but I'm still going to see another lactation consultant, and she still looks like she's on great, but something is causing this pain and I'm anxious to get it resolved.

Amanda - posted on 05/04/2009

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i would says yes the nipple cream is good but yes my story is pretty much the same n i use a nipple shield i love it and my daughter loves it too she is 6months old now n yes its a bit more complex cause of keepin track of it n washin but evenully it just comes second nature i found that puting it a retainer container is best it keeps it clean i always know where it is n for travel. one nite i lost it n it was know where to be found i was freakin and she would not feed off a bare nipple which made me feel sad so i had to pump for two feedins until the store opened to buy a new one but other then that once i always have it n love it i have no problems n would say use if u have to as long as ur baby is gettin breast milk that is best doesnt matter if its bare nipple, nipple shield or bottle hope all gets better

Cynthia - posted on 05/04/2009

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The only thing I can add is if she is getting the nipple far enough back in her mouth...if not she's sucking only on the nipple vs the areole, therefore causing the nipple issues. Do you compress your boob to help get it far enough back in her mouth so she's not just suckling the nipple? By compress I mean to place one hand on breast with fingers together and thumb underneath and gently squeeze your breast like you were holding a snadwich. This helps get the nipple past her gums and farther back into her mouth, hopefully causing less pain. Hope this helps.

Samantha - posted on 05/04/2009

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When my daughter was first born, she couldn't latch w/o a nipple shield. sure, after a while it made me crazy having to always have it with me, washing, keeping track of it, etc., but it made it possible for me to avoid all the cracks and bleeding. Whenever I did experience any pain, I used Medela breast cream, and it worked great for me. Another thing you could try is using the gel pads after nursing...your LC would know what they are. they help to ease discomfort, esp. if kept in fridge. Good luck!

Ashleigh - posted on 05/04/2009

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My son was the same- great latch, but I was cracked and bleeding. I found that the Lansinoh cream worked wonders, I would put it on always right when he was done nursing. I know it sounds weird/gross, but I would also pick some tiny scabs (that wouldnt bleed) off so that he wouldn't get them. I also found expressing some milk on the nipple really helps with it too!

[deleted account]

I had a very similar experience with my son and it was definitely bloody. Really, really gross and painful. However, both the pediatrician and lactation consultant assured me it was FINE for him to consume blood. Gross, yes, but perfectly fine.

Nipple shields - - use them!!! They don't really protect from pain, but they will help your baby latch... I had to use them with both babies. Yes, it did take a few months to wean them off, but sure beat not being able to nurse at all, which was my other option. When I was cracked, scabbed & bleeding, in the beginning with my son, I could set two bowls next to the rocking chair - one with 3 nipple shields floating in warm water, the other just with warm water. If the shield I was using became too grody, I'd put it in the empty bowl and get a fresh one.

The nipple cream also helped a great deal.

The best sites I've encountered for breast feeding are:

http://www.kellymom.com/ - tons of technical info and experience
http://www.normalfed.com/index.html -- amazing about the philosophy of nursing

Alisha - posted on 05/04/2009

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Jessica-- I am using the nipple cream, it does help a little bit.
Trisha-- Thanks for the website, I'll check it out.
Jessica-- I hesitate to use a nipple shield because I used it with my first for a different reason and it took me months to get him weened off of it.
I'm kind of wondering if she may be tongue tied a little bit or if I may have a yeast infection and her thrush. The pain is so intense. I am going to try and see a different lactation consultant tomorrow. Maybe she can help me get this figured out, or maybe I just need to give it more time.
Thanks again for the input, I really appreciate it.

Jessica - posted on 05/04/2009

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do you have a phone number for your lactation consultant? I would ask about trying nipple shields, just until the scabs clear up. You could use the Lansinoh cream at the same time, and keep it comfortable, and with the nipple shield she would be less likely to get blood with the milk. It might be worth a try! I'd hate to think you would have to pump and bottle feed this early, even for a couple days, because that could really mess up her latch...but at the same time, you have to be able to heal, too. Hope this helps!

Trisha - posted on 05/04/2009

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I experienced that too and now I have some blocked milk ducts. My baby is 6 1/2 months already and I'm trying to wean her off to bottle...it's hard... Anyways, check this website since I found out helpful tips on breastfeeding. I hope it helps :)



http://www.drjacknewman.com/

Jessica - posted on 05/04/2009

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I had that same problem a while back, my LC recommended I use nipple cream, after showering, nursing, or at any time when i'm in pain. She also said to keep nursing through the cracked bleeding nipple. After a few day's it cleared right up and i don't have anymore bleeding. I love the nipple cream....it's been my best friend, i use Lansinoh! Hope this helps. Your little girls is adorable!!

Jessica - posted on 05/04/2009

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I had that same problem a while back, my LC recommended I use nipple cream, after showering, nursing, or at any time when i'm in pain. She also said to keep nursing through the cracked bleeding nipple. After a few day's it cleared right up and i don't have anymore bleeding. I love the nipple cream....it's been my best friend, i use Lansinoh! Hope this helps. Your little girls is adorable!!

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