Sore and cracked nipples

Christine - posted on 11/11/2008 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My baby boy is 5 weeks old today, and I have been having trouble with cracked and very sore nipples. It is beyond cracked on one side. I talked to a LLL leader and she said it was a fisher. It pretty much is a big open hole in the nipple now. I was just wondering what any of you found to help with crack and sore nipples?

christine

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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!

Joanie - posted on 11/12/2008

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Fissures are usually caused by the position your baby is nursing. You should probably use a new position for awhile. Also, infection is a concern. Wash your nipples with a mild soap once a day (while you're in the shower works). And you may want to use an antibiotic ointment once a day as well (neosporin is fine). Do that during the longest sleep period your baby has. You don't need to clean your nipple off if it has been a little while and it is absorbed into the skin. I haven't had any luck with the lanolin cream to heal open wounds. I would recommend leaving your nipple open to the air for as long as possible (sometimes it starts hurting pretty bad after awhile) and then using gel pads when you need to cover up. Gel pads promote tissue regrowth. You can use breast shields to allow more time open to the air if you need to be covered (these are different than nipple shields and you would need to use the bigger attachment). Also, pumping can help. It will probably still be painful, but not as bad as the baby latching, and it will at least not re-injure the skin. When you do put your baby to that breast, do not do the same position you have been doing. Try side-lying or football or something.



The thing is, there is most likely something wrong with your baby's latch if you are cracked and bleeding. You should meet with a lactation consultant if possible and have her check things out. Make sure your baby opens really, really wide. Also, you can pinch and pull your nipple before latching baby on, just to make it more erect so there is less friction when baby pulls it back in her mouth. I know this will hurt while you have a fissure, but it will help in the long run.



The reason I know about things hurting is because I am not only a lactation specialist, I went through the same thing a few months ago (not a real fissure, but deep cracks). My baby had a bubble palate, which was causing problems with the latch. Being tongue-tied can also cause sore nipples. If you can meet with a lactation counselor, she should be able to check these things for you.



I used a nipple shield for a little bit to help with the pain. I would always do at least one feeding a day without it so my baby didn't get dependant on it. And I would pump once a day. If pumping works you can do it more often. You have to do something different, because it's not going to get any better if you keep going like you have been. Good luck.

Kerry - posted on 11/12/2008

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I also used the All Purpose Nipple Cream prescribed by the doctor. It is expensive if you don't have insurance but was amazing. With a new baby and all that comes with learning how to breastfeed it was such a lifesaver. Def. check into it.

Andrea - posted on 11/12/2008

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I had the same problem you are having. I went to see the Lactation Specialists at the hospital and they suggested asking my doctor for an All Purpose Nipple Cream. It had to be mixed by the pharmacists so not all pharmacies will make it, but it healed everything up in 2 days. What a lifesaveer!

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I had sore, cracked nipples, too. I just had to pump from the sore side until it healed up. It seems that my nipples finally toughened up by about 6 weeks, and the soreness and bleeding was no longer a problem.

Mary - posted on 11/12/2008

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what i had to do when i had a 'hole' is pump on that side and give it to him in a bottle for about a week. i still latched him onto the other side,but then i would him the bottle. even after that it was still sore for a little while. my nipple has a permanent gouge in it now though. i used lansinoh and gel soothies too to help.

Cathy - posted on 11/11/2008

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I didn't have your exact problem but I did have cracked and bleeding nipples. My peds and ob/gyn felt that it was happening due to thrush and I got a prescribed compound cream that worked great. Definitely talk to your doctors and see if you can meet with a lactation consultant, the baby might not be latching on right. Good luck and hang in there.

Heidi - posted on 11/11/2008

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Lanolin has worked great for me. Eventually the soreness does go away, but I remember I was sore for awhile after my first. Apply it liberally to your nipple right after every feeding, it really helps. I'm not familiar with "fishers" but I would just keep an eye on it for any signs of infection, and be sure your health care professional is aware, but sounds like you've already done that. Good luck!

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