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Thread: Cracked nipples

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  1. #1
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    Cracked nipples

    Hoping a mum can help me, l have been breastfeeding my baby and l started off with very sensitive nipples. As time progressed my nipples are very sore and red. l have noticed they are starting to crack and it hurts so much. I am starting to dread feeding her. Is there a home remedy that anyone knows of that can help me. I desperately want to breastfeed but if this persists, l will have to put her onto formula.

  2. #2
    Dear Rainy33,

    I am sorry to read this.

    I know cracked nipples are excruciatingly painful. Cracked nipples are not a normal part of breastfeeding. They are a sign that the latch is not right or it was not right to begin with. I take it that you are at the start of your breastfeeding journey - how old is your baby? What you really need to do is ideally go to a local breastfeeding peer support group where someone can check the latch and advise you of any changes you need to make. It really is a learning process for mum and baby - and many mums find that it does not come naturally at first. However, know that you are doing such a wonderful thing in breastfeeding your baby - unfortunately formula milk doesn't come close to the nutrients and make-up of breastmilk. Breastfeeding increases a baby's brain development and protects them from childhood cancer and many childhood illnesses. It even contains stem cells.

    I know from personal experience how hard it is at first. La Leche League is another excellent breastfeeding charity that can help you further (there are many local support groups). Alternatively, your midwife (or ideally a specially trained breastfeeding midwife) can check the latch and position.

    Has your baby been checked for a tongue tie? A tongue tie is quite common and can easily be cut (even by a trained professional in your home) but it means that your baby would not be able to latch on properly to the nipple. Signs of this are painful nipples and very long feeds.

    Your baby needs to get a really full mouthful of the breast. If they are just on the end of the nipple then they will not be able to extract milk efficiently from the breast and it will be painful for you. I have put together some links to excellent resources on getting the latch right here. Please have a look through these - I think they will help you.

    Lansinoh breastcream is excellent for helping with sore nipples and it is the only type of breastcream that you don't have to wipe off before a feed. You may find that feeding laying down is more comfortable. Also, cabbage leaves which are cooled on the breasts can give some relief.

    You are doing so well but I would urge you to get more help from the sources above and not to give up. I have been in your shoes and it was extremely tough but with lots of help and support you can get there - and the benefits are truly worth it.

    Thinking of you - please post back if I can help you further.
    Warm wishes,
    LJ
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 29th April 2014 at 11:37 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you so much for your advice. l will look at he links and get some of the cream. Thank you again.

  4. #4
    You are really welcome Rainy33. Your post reminded me of myself at the start of my breastfeeding journey. I was ready to give up and felt I couldn't go on for one more day. However, thankfully I had some excellent help from a Lactation Consultant and a Health visitor and my little lad was diagnosed with a tongue tie which was then cut. I also got extra help with the latch which was not right. I have now been breastfeeding for almost 3.5 years (with my first, then tandem feeding, then just with my second son).

    Wishing you all the very best and don't hesitate to post back if you need further help or support.
    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  5. #5
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    I really appreciate your advice. I will not give up as you are proof that l can do this. Thank you :-)

  6. #6
    Oh your comment has just made my day. Thank you. You can get there but please know that it is ok to keep on asking for more help and support. In fact, I would say to ask as many breastfeeding groups/ health professionals for help and support. This is the best way to get the latch checked and to get extra advice and experience. You can do it and it will be so worth it. The first few weeks are the hardest but suddenly it becomes easy and comfortable and you can do it without thinking.

    We are here for you whenever you need to talk.
    Wishing you all the very best,
    LJ

  7. #7
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    Thanks heaps, l am taking your advice and seeking help from my health centre nurse. :-)

  8. #8
    Excellent, If that doesn't help enough or is not encouraging then keep asking for more support in other places. One of the very best health professionals to seek help from about anything breastfeeding related is a lactation consultant. If you see if there is a lactation consultant local to you this would be invaluable help.

    Best wishes to you,
    LJ

  9. #9
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    I will be talking to my health sister about a Lactation Consultant today :-) So hopefully l can get an appointment asap. My friend was telling me nipple shields might help...What do you think? Have you ever used them?

  10. #10
    How did it go? Yes please try to get in touch with a Lactation Consultant as this is the best-qualified person to help you.

    You have to be careful with nipple shields. This is because the baby can not drink the breastmilk as efficiently through a nipple shield. Breastmilk works on a supply and demand basis. The more your baby drinks from the breast and the more breastmilk they remove from the breast - the more breastmilk will be produced in the next few days. Even in these early days your baby (by the amount of breastmilk they remove from the breast) is telling your body what supply to put in place for the next months ahead.

    So, because nipple shields dont allow the baby to get as much milk from the breast this is like telling the body to produce less milk and then you can experience problems with a drop in your supply. This can lead to mums having to supplement with formula which then leads to supply staying dropped etc Formula milk also unfortunately removes some of the immunological properties of the breastmilk.

    This information from the KellyMom breastfeeding website on nipple shields is excellent. This is really the bottom line of nipple shields from KellyMom:

    'Although nipple shields should be used only after other options have been tried, it is better to have a baby on the breast with a shield than not on the breast at all!'

    It is much better to sort the root of the problem (which is most likely to do with latch and positioning but could possibly be related to a tongue tie) than use these.

    Please do let me know how you are getting on.
    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  11. #11
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    Hi,
    l think l will forget about the nipple shields, l have enough problems with feeding, this to me, l think, will add to my problems. Appointments early next week, my health sister seems to think it is a latching problem and because l am in pain, l am actually making it worse by being tense and hesitant. Will keep you updated. Thanks for your care.

  12. #12
    I think that would be wise. Certainly it would be best to get the latch sorted. Nipple shields are ok when used sparingly and carefully in some situations (when you are aware of their disadvantages) and are certainly better than switching to formula but are best when other avenues have been explored.

    Yes I would agree with your health sister based on what you have described.

    If you gently squeeze a little breastmilk out of your nipple at the end of a feed then this will help with healing your nipple and stopping it getting dry.

    Have you tried expressing any milk at all?

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

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