Nipping Cracked & Sore Nipples in the Bud
If you’re a new breastfeeding mother, you may have experienced sore and cracked nipples. No need to be ashamed about it. It’s quite normal and quite common. There are many reasons for it including Mastitis, inverted nipples or even a bad latch from improper positioning and attachment of your baby at the breast. Let’s face it: you don’t know what you know and that’s quite OK.
Cellnutrition, which produces a range of paediatric safe products including its Dermo Spray (more about that later), would like to help with this advice by nipping lack of knowledge in the bud. Getting help early can help so you can continue feeding more comfortably.
When to seek help
Having sore nipples when breastfeeding can be stressful and unpleasant. If you find that one or both nipples hurt at every feed, start to crack or bleed it is important to seek help. A health advisor can support you to correctly position and attach your baby to your breast correctly. Although it can take about 10 days for cracked nipples to heal properly, try to press on. If you find it too painful, seek help immediately.
How do I know when my baby is effectively attached?
It takes a bit of practice to properly position the nipple in a baby’s mouth and their body against yours. Your baby is effectively attached when your nipple rests comfortably against the soft palate at the back of its mouth. If your baby is poorly attached to the breast, the nipple is nearer the front of their mouth and can be pinched against its hard palate, causing pain.
It takes a little practice getting it just right, so there is no need to pressurise yourself. If you’ve had the privilege of antenatal classes, be sure to ask in preparation of the first feed. Alternatively, don’t be shy to ask your midwife or even gynaecologist for a few tips and hints.
What to avoid
- Using anything on your nipples that is drying or may damage your nipple skin such as alcohol-based products and rough towels.
- Nipple shields (a thin, protective cover worn over your nipple as you breastfeed) or breast shells (a hard, protective cover worn inside your bra) – these will not improve your baby's attachment to the breast.
- Wearing poorly fitted bras and plastic-backed nursing pads.
- Using breast pumps that have strong suction and hurt your nipples. Why not try hand expressing?
Tips to help
- If you are using breast pads change them at each feed and if possible, use pads without a plastic backing
- Wear cotton bras so air can circulate.
- Keep feeding your baby for as long as it wants - shorter breastfeeds can affect your milk supply.
- Express a little milk or colostrum onto your nipples after nursing. In many cultures, human milk’s antibacterial properties are used to treat skin irritations. However, this is not recommended when soreness is due to thrush, which is a yeast infection of the nipples.
- When your nipples are sore, apply some of your own milk on your nipples. Your milk has healing properties to relieve soreness.
How to treat cracked or bleeding nipples
There are a range of things you can do to treat cracked or bleeding nipples.
- Look after your nipples: wash your nipples with water and sterilise your nipple shield after each feed.
- If you can, continue breastfeeding (it is quite safe for baby to feed on a bleeding nipple).
- If it’s too painful, you may need to take your baby off your breast for 1-2 days, rest the nipple and feed your baby expressed breast milk. Slowly reintroduce the breast after resting and take extra care with positioning and attachment.
- If you have prolonged abnormal breast pain contact your nurse, lactation consultant or doctor.
Invest in Cellnutrition’s Dermo Skin Spray. It contains 78 minerals and trace elements in a bioavailable form. This helps keep your skin in great condition and hydrated. It can even be used on burns, wounds, sunburn and cold sores. Continued use during pregnancy and before childbirth will help with stretch marks too.