What Causes the Condition?
A universal reason for having severe nipple pain is attributed to improper latching. Ideally, an improper latch causes a baby to suck and pull at the nipple causing cracking and bleeding over time. Other causes of cracked nipples include:-
- Improper use of electric breast pump by turning the suction level too high
- A thrush infection from your baby causing itchy, shooting pains
- Eczema that causes red patches and severely dry skin causing cracks
- Tongue tied condition(if your child has it) that causes the connecting tissue of the mouth to be too short forcing your child to latch improperly
What You Should Do
If the thought of breastfeeding almost has you in tears, then it might not be the initial discomfort associated with breastfeeding. Aim to contact a lactation consultant for help. In the meantime, practical steps you can take include the following.
Care While Breastfeeding
- Ensure your baby latches properly. To do this, your baby should open his mouth wide with the bottom gum a distance from your nipple. Doing so allows your baby to latch deep enough encompassing the whole nipple and part of your breast.
- Offer the non-injured breast first to limit aggressive sucking on the injured side
- Adjusting the way you cradle your baby. Try several breastfeeding positions to get the most comfortable way to nurse your baby.
Care After Breastfeeding
- Gently clean your nipple after each feed by rinsing it out
- Make use of an antibacterial ointment or nipple cream that does not require you to wipe it off.
- Using hydrogel dressings pads designed to speed up nipple healing.
- Taking a painkiller like ibuprofen to aid in reducing the swelling and general pain
Prevention and Treatment
Aim to always apply soothing balm that’s free of alcohol or fragrance of any kind when your nipples are severely sensitive. To limit infections, air-dry your nipple after every feeding. Though rare, debilitating pain can force you to stop breastfeeding for a while to enable your breast to heal correctly. In this instance, make use of a breast pump to extract milk as you book a consultation with a lactation expert for further assistance.
Overall, bleeding nipples do not harm your baby as it will pass right through them. However, even as you try to get assistance for your aching nipples, aim to fix any improper latch as this causes irregular feedings that can cause weight issues in the long run.
#Please note that development differs from one child to another.
#Content intended for educational purposes only, and not substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
Last reviewed January 2019