Please help!

Angela - posted on 01/01/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I have a cracked nipple that will not heal. I am only pumping this breast and it will still not heal after weeks of putting on lanolin and letting it air dry. Does any one have any suggestions as to what I can do to help it heal?

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Linda - posted on 01/08/2011

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First of all make sure you correct your latch on position. If you have a La Leche group near by, attend the meeting and talk to a leader to see if they can help you with latch on.
Secondly, my experience has been that lanolin doesn't always work and sometimes makes it worse. So what I discovered while breastfeeding my son and it seems to work this time around with my daughter is to clean your breast after each feeding (lots of work I won't lie). Apply few drops of vinegar solution (1/4 cup vinegar and 3/4 water) and let it dry. Then rub some coconut oil (though I heard extra virgin olive oil is also as effective... but I prefer coconut. Let it soak for about 5 min then wear a clean breast pad with your bras. My breasts healed in 4-6 days.
If yours don't heal, I will go see the doctor to make sure you don't have yeast or any other complications.

Ashley - posted on 01/01/2011

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I've read you shouldn't let cracked nipples air dry and my experience is air drying doesn't help at all. I had cracked nipples and wearing nipple shields and lanolin helped, but applying extra virgin olive oil (while pumping and after - but before lanolin) really helped! Plus, it's safe for baby. You should probably have your baby's latch checked out by a professional lactation consultant, though. Cracked nipples tend to be a sign of a poor latch - it shouldn't happen. Oh, and be sure to clean your breast before nursing if you have lanolin or EVOO on it because this can cause baby to have difficulties achieving/maintaining a proper latch as they both make surfaces slippery.

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Bess - posted on 05/21/2013

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Its funny u write that bc literally as we speak, I am doing a 1c warm water to 1tsp salt solution on my cracked nipples...tried many other things w good results..at about 95% healed, just trying to get that last 5%

Ash - posted on 01/15/2011

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I just dealt with this a couple months ago. I'm hoping by now it has gotten better but if you are still having issues I would suggest using a nipple shield over your nipple anytime your baby nurses until it gets better. Keep putting lanolin on it and letting it air dry in between feedings and it will be better in no time!

Katherine - posted on 01/11/2011

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I never used lanolin (because I know what it's made from and how it's made, and I object). I used extra-virgin olive oil when my nipples cracked, and sometimes I added a little garlic oil (garlic helps prevent infection and speeds healing). I found garlic oil (as I call it) from garlic supplements (vitamin aisle) that I could break open.

Mayana - posted on 01/11/2011

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i had a very stubborn cracked niple that took a whole year to heal. i think all these ladies have good advice for what to put on for healing. but i found i had to take a lot of herbs, minerals and supplements to help my body do the work of healing. among the most helpful and easy to take i found was vit c, zinc, echinacea, iron, vit d - but good to see a herblist and or a naturopath for good dvice to what your body is needing. i was also being very conscious of my diet to give my body the best resources for healing. in the end the doctors offered me steroid cream and antibiotics over and over again and they even suggested cutting my nipple off!!! - don't go down this road, its revolting and hinders the healing process. anyway, my point is is that i ended up dry off that breast while maintaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship with the use of one functionin breast. it did the work of two and performed miracle! just in case you have to go down this road - it can be done and with ease. i hope you get relief and you don't have to dry one off like i did but just in case... don't be afraid, the body is capable of amazing feats! all the best! x

Donna - posted on 01/10/2011

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i had the same problem, keep up with the lanolin, also use a breast sheild to prevent chaffing! that really helped me. Mine was so bad that I couldn't use my electric pump either because I would start bleeding before I would let deown so I got a hand pump with a soft shell by medela it really helped! good luck!

Charlene - posted on 01/10/2011

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You should probably have your baby's latch checked out by a professional lactation consultant, though. Cracked nipples tend to be a sign of a poor latch!!!

Stephanie - posted on 01/09/2011

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As an LC my first advice is to seek latching help NOW! It could be a few different things. Improper latch, issues with babies mouth or yeast. There are so many things that can't be helped over the phone. Medela also makes a nipple cream that is very nice. www.medela.com Take one day at a time if you seek help things should get easier. I would rest the pumping and nurse if at all possible though.

Mary - posted on 01/09/2011

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I had to express milk with my hand instead of a pump for a while. You can google tips on how to do it - there are several ways, you have to find what works for you. It was a way to get milk out without hurting and let the crack heal much faster. I wish I would have known about that option with my first one!

Kirsten - posted on 01/09/2011

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I second breast milk - I lived thru months of cracked nipples when my toddler developed a lazy latch at night. So, you baby may be not getting a great latch - re-evaluate the latch and nurse for a little bit - pumps can be pretty aggressive on the nipples too so it might be easier to nurse if you have the latch right.

Also - a build up of yeast can crack nipples. If this is the case yeast would be on the pump - has to be cleaned and disinfected every time you use it. You can tell if you have yeast when your nipples get cracked and get bright red/hot pink. If yeast is the problem you can take probiotics to help. But if you have yeast - your baby probably has thrush. So look into this it because it may not be just a case of cracked nipple.

Hope this helps!

Nicole - posted on 01/09/2011

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Hi Angela, l too feel your pain. My son and l fell asleep while feeding on the couch on night and he must have slipped off a bit and l was left with sore on the side of my nipple from a tooth. This too took ages to heel and l can't express well so l was having to feed from that side!! I can not remember the name but l found a medical strength honey nipple cream at the chemist which saved my life. Try google it (I am in Australia). Hope you have some relief soon, everyone told me to wean as he was 10mths but l'm soooo glad l didn't. Good Luck.

Deb - posted on 01/08/2011

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hi, yes, lanolin just made me worse. im pretty allergic to wool and im thinking thats why. anyway, what i did was to use sterile vitamin e oil, like from a capsule with a sterile pin, then i put a piece of saran wrap or baggie on it, then a breast pad, then a comfortable bra. left it like that for a day or so.put breast milk on it too, let it air dry. and then just pump for a day or so on that side. then see if its ok. lemme know how it goes if you still need help, really. i breastfed 3 kids forever, worked through all kinds of issues over the years. good luck.

*** fyi ....i read a few places that vitamin e can be bad for the baby. i dont remember the details, i consciously chose to do it after reading, you should google it. i wiped it off really gently afterwards. no harsh soap or anything, always clean dry breast pads obviously ... good luck

Amanda - posted on 01/08/2011

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I cracked horribly with my first two children, though no one could identify why. Anyway, in addition to breastmilk, what worked for me was saltwater. Soaked a cotton pad (gauze or something similar) in it and put it on my nipples a couple times a day. Healed pretty quickly. Don't remember the exact amount of salt per amount of water (haven't needed it with #3) but you should be able to google it. Good luck! Hang in there!

Merry - posted on 01/08/2011

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Your own milk is a very powerful healer, and it is very very effective in healing the nipples. Squeeze some out, and let it dry, or put some on a rag and soak it on the nipple, and the pump might be more damaging then the baby's mouth!
I know I got more sore after pumping, and less sore after breastfeeding. So maybe skip the pump, and put baby back on!
Yeah it might hurt for a bit, but you made it through labor right! It won't hurt worse then that and it wil improve with time.

Jo - posted on 01/08/2011

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some people [like me!] dont respond to lanolin - wet healing is a disaster and I get infections trapped underneath. which can also lead to nipple vaso-spasm [look it up]. so dry healing with an antibiotic helped with silicone shields. good luck - it does pass and it seems to take forever but once its over....

Marsha - posted on 01/08/2011

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...oh and using your own breastmilk to moisten the nipples is really good too!

Marsha - posted on 01/08/2011

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I had this too. It took sometime but mine did heal. I used nursing shields - they go over the nipple while you nurse. It is a bit awkward, but it helps just to take away the edge of the pain when you nurse that side, and helps you heal. I also would nurse with the good breast, and pump (gently) the sore breast rather than use it for nursing. I know it really hurts!!! I remember dreading having to nurse on that side. :P
The proper nipple creams should help too. I didn't use soap when showering on them, and I used the gentle nipple creams too.
I hope you feel better soon. I know how painful it is.

Jennifer Ann Saunders - posted on 01/08/2011

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Soothie gel pads found at any drug store. Lanolin, or the plastic cups (mine were medela) that hold your bra / shirt off of the nipple to allow healing. Watch out - those promote milk production and if wearing while you sleep can cause a puddle!

Jessica - posted on 01/01/2011

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Medela Breast Healing Softshells. I wore these until my breasts healed completely.

Kami - posted on 01/01/2011

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I am having the same problem. Mine is cracked because of pumping. Just baby it. Mine gets better for a week or two and then it gets injured again. I don't know what to do about it. I use lanolin too. Nipples are supposed to heal rather quickly. I wish you much luck! I know I'm not super helpful!

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