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Bleeding nipples

(6 Posts)
vixo Fri 24-Jun-11 09:21:49

I am breastfeeding my week old daughter and have managed to develop really painful cracked nipples - worse on the right than the left, but both pretty sore. Her latch has looked pretty good right from the beginning, and the only thing I can think of is that we might have had a few lazy latches overnight which have caused the problem.

I fed my older daughter for 13 months so (stupidly it would seem!) thought feeding would be ok this time round. I suspect I didn't pay quite enough attention to how this one was feeding a few times, and was a bit quick to try and read a book with one hand etc as I remember how easy it was later on feeding the older one.

My nipples are now scabbed and bleeding with each feed and she is possetting up loads of bloody stuff after the feed. She seems fine, and is gaining weight, but the bloody vom is not pleasant - her babygros look like there's been some kind of massacre - and my nips are pretty sore.

I have been using nipple shields for the last few days which is making it a bit more comfortable for me but doesn't seem to be speeding up the healing, using lansinoh after every feed, and trying to let them 'air dry' with milk on them when possible. Has anyone got any other suggestions or any idea how long they might take to heal? I am considering expressing today to try and give them a break, but would be grateful for any other advice.

TruthSweet Fri 24-Jun-11 09:41:44

Hi Vixo - Sorry to hear that things are going as well as with your last daughter. Hopefully things will get better soon.

If your nipples are scabbing something called 'Moist Wound Healing' is considered better than air drying as with MWH scabs don't form (or at least minimally). With air drying scabs form which can get sucked off by baby when they next feed causing bigger wounds to form, and so the vicious cycle starts. Jelonet dressings are considered really good for MWH - you can get them from the pharmacist or you can try thickly applying lansinoh straight after a feed and covering with a breast pad (spread the lansinoh thickly enough that the pad doesn't stick to the nipple - keeping the tube in your pocket or on the radiator/airing cupboard can help with the application).

Is there a bfing support group you can go to today or could you call one of the breastfeeding helplines?

vixo Fri 24-Jun-11 11:22:30

Thank you truthSweet. I will persevere with the lansinoh - what you say makes sense. I have just managed to express 5oz of blood-free milk which she has taken from daddy without any problem so I think during the day today I'll express to give everything a rest and hopefully a chance to heal a bit. Luckily she seems quite laid back and has happily fed from the breast, with shields, and taken the bottle, so I am hopeful that I'll be able to sort this and then get back to breastfeeding without too much trouble.

Unfortunately we've got wait in today for the midwife to weigh her which is rather frustrating as they can't give any indication of what time they'll be here. Luckily my 3 year old is at nursery or we'd be climbing the walls!

TruthSweet Fri 24-Jun-11 16:07:21

If you are going to express rather than bf direct you'll need to express both sides 8-12 times a day to keep supplies going. Be gentle though with the pump or try hand expressing if you find the pump too much.

Good luck with the weighing smile

vixo Fri 24-Jun-11 16:55:27

I didn't know that - had better get busy then! She had a good feed from me first thing this morning and I have expressed 3 times so far, but will have another go as soon as the pump is sterilised. The expressing is at least producing milk that isn't bloody. I can manage to feed her through the discomfort with the shields on, but the bloody vomit was getting a bit extreme, and as blood is a real irritant to the gut I'm sure it was making her sick more than necessary.

I may well feed her myself overnight though, as i am, I think, inherently rather lazy and I can't face the idea of nipping downstairs several time to wash, sterilise, express, then give her a bottle! She usually has a bit of a cluster feed from 10pm - midnight and I'm not sure I'll be able to express enough to satisfy her then. Oh well, we'll see, nips look pretty ravaged at the moment, so hope they don't take too long to sort out. If no improvement after the weekend I will go up to the breast-feeding 'clinic' at the hospital.

TruthSweet Fri 24-Jun-11 17:05:53

You don't need to sterilise the pump each time, a wash out with hot soapy water and then air dry or clean bottle on pump, pump in zip lock bag and in the fridge is ok too.

The pump does need to be sterilised once a day though.

Each feed you do knocks off a pumping session too, if you have fed her direct from both breasts (if she only feeds for a little on the 2nd side it might be worth pumping anyway) that's one less pumping session to do.

Feeding overnight is a good idea as it's easier to feed and sleep (safely with no duvet over baby, etc) than sit up and express! If you need light to latch try using a torch on your pillow rather than turning all the lights on - you can also use it once baby is on to read a book with minimal interference of baby's sleep/feed.

Hopefully MWH will help you heal up quickly - there is a chemical in BM called 'epidermal growth factor' that will help heal you up too.

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