Why Won't My Cracked Nipples Heal?

Mallory - posted on 07/11/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I have cracked nipples from breastfeeding. On one side it looks like there sometimes is a little blood, but usually it just looks cracked. The other side doesn't bleed but there's a HUGE crack that is at the base of my nipple and it wraps around almost half my nipple. I went to a lactation consultant and she said his latch was fine and she corrected my positioning on the side that my nipple is severely cracked(we were doing a different hold since it was very painful to feed him on that side). My son is now 5 weeks and my nipples still are showing no sign of healing. The LC said there was no sign of infection or thrush or anything, so why won't they heal?! I've tried lanolin, letting them air dry, putting breast milk on them after feeding, letting them rest(pumping one side) for 48 hours. Nothing seems to be working! It's only painful on one side and I've been pumping that side, but I'm getting very discouraged. Has anyone had severely cracked nipples? How long did it take to heal?

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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!

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Have you tried using a nipple shield? Also when pumping be sure not to be too rough.

Leila - posted on 07/12/2009

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Here are some links. Dr. Newman is an excellent resource, and there are videos showing what a good latch actually is (I have worked with many moms who were told they had a good latch and they did not). Look under Breastfeeding Help for the videos and information sheets. (I would recommend "Starting Out Right", "Sore Nipples", "When Latching"). Flat nipples should not be a problem: babies need to latch to the breast, not the nipple. I would make sure the latch is proper.

http://www.nbci.ca/



More information on sore nipples:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/...

Mallory - posted on 07/11/2009

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I've tried that too. :( My poor nips just don't want to evert unless there is some kind of suction! It's pretty annoying. Lol. Thanks for the help though!

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2009

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Theres a device you can buy from boots for inverted nipples it sucks them out. Try looking on ebay phillips make them .....good luck

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12 Comments

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Melissa - posted on 04/29/2011

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Breast shells. Not to be confused with breast shields. The shells helped my flatness.

User - posted on 07/12/2009

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Have you tried APNO (All purpose nipple ointment)? It is by prescription, the stuff pretty natural, so it's OK to leave it on. I am not an expert, but I think you need to let your nipples rest. If you are not against pumping and feeding your son from the bottle, may be do that for a week or so and see if it's getting better.
Some lactation consultants say that the baby may get used to the bottle and won't go back to the breast. Mine luckily didn't have that problem, but it might be a concern.
Good luck!!! I hope you heal quickly.

Awilda - posted on 07/12/2009

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mine are cracked to and his latch is fine. i too went to see an LC. she recommended putting neosporin on them twice a day and the lansinoh before i pump and after i feed. haven't tried it yet, hope it works!

Marabeth - posted on 07/11/2009

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good job being so clever! keep in mind its still the beginning of your nursing relationship.. it seems like constant turmoil but believe me, somewhere between 2 and 3 months it just levels off into being normal. your pain will lessen and his ability will grow immensely. until then you just gotta put that hard work in. you might try hand expressing a little milk before you latch your baby--that might do the same thing the pump is doing without having to use a pump.

Mallory - posted on 07/11/2009

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Thanks for your replies. I tried using a nipple shield but didn't like it. From what all my books say and the LC says his latch is fine, I think the problem may be my flat nipples. It's hard for him to get enough of the areola in his mouth since my nipples are flat, so for the last two days I've been pumping just enough to bring my nipples out, and then latching him on. Our nursing sessions have been pain free since I've started doing that! I'm afraid I'm going to be dependent on my pump now though, is there any way to "train" my nipples to not be so flat?

Leila - posted on 07/11/2009

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Are you sure his latch is ok? It will take some time to heal, but the most important is to make sure his latch is fine every time. After nursing, keep letting some of the breastmilk stay on the nipples. Know the signs of a good latch (do you? did the LC show you what to look for?) and check for them every time.

Marabeth - posted on 07/11/2009

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i had that really bad but i was lucky it healed by two weeks post partum. my right side hurt so bad i pumped it exclusively for two days but the lc warned me that during such an important time while baby and i were developing a nursing relationship that i should let her nurse both sides if at all possible. the pump isnt nearly as efficient as baby and more than a day or two not nursing one side could negatively affect nursing. i know it hurts like heck but it will heal with time! mine seemed to happen overnight. one day hurts like heck, bleeding, the whole nine yards and the next day didnt hurt and next day 100% healed. oh yeah and i also used those soothie nipple pads that had the gel in them.. you put them in the fridge first. they felt so good!! if youre at home most of the time with your shirt off (like i was at five weeks lol) i bet your used teabags would feel good too.

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