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Cracked bleeding nipples - help me please

(10 Posts)
Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 13-Nov-12 22:12:24

Its killing me sad Red hot daggers of pain for the first 5 mins of each feed. Ds has been cluster feeding for hours at this time of night and I just can't bare the thoughts of the pain ahead.

I have nipple shields that seem to really affect how ds feeds but they do really help with the pain. The last night I used them ds literally fed ALL night, think he wasn't getting any hind milk.

Is there anything else I can do?

Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 13-Nov-12 22:18:09


YorkshireRose12 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:29:48

Yes. Here is your plan of action...

1. Take some painkillers. You can take both Paracetamol and ibuprofen when BFing and they do help to take the edge off the pain. When things were at their worst for me I took 1 Paracetamol every four hours and 1 ibuprofen every four hours in between the Paracetamol IYSWIM so I was constantly dosed up.

2. Use Lansinoh nipple cream on the cracks. Do NOT let them dry out, they will only stick together and then re-open and start bleeding again next time you latch DS on, meaning you are then back to square 1. The cracks will seem to heal more slowly with moist wound healing, but trust me, they will heal eventually. Try to get the Lansinoh right down into the crack. You don't need to wipe it off the nipple before feeding but do wipe any off that gets onto the areola so it doesn't cause your DS's latch to slip.

3. Go and get yourself some breast shells tomorrow if you don't already have them. They will keep your bra/breast pad off the cracked nipple - stopping this pressure/friction gives your nipple the chance to heal. They made a whole world of difference to me the same day I started using them.

4. Finally, tackle the source of the problem. This is likely to be a poor latch - Do you know what a good latch looks like and what the signs of a good latch are? How does his latch compare? Try to find a local BFing group you can go to run by a BFing counsellor so they can observe a feed and give you some tips- ask your MW, HV or children's centre if they know of any local groups to you. This kind of RL support is invaluable. If you think his latch looks good, has he been checked for tongue tie?

Hope this helps - I have been where you are now and it is awful, I really thought my poor nipples would never heal but I am pleased to report that they did and feeding is no longer painful (there were definitely times when I never thought I'd say that!).


Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 13-Nov-12 22:39:18

Thank for replying. Ds is 3 weeks today and we spent last week in hospital as he had broncholitis and he was tube fed a few days. I expressed but the problems started when he went back to the breast.

He latches great some feeds but not so great at the start of others. He has a slight tongue tie we are being referred for. I'm tempted to sterilise a bottle

stargirl1701 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:47:59

You must keep them clean. Obsessively. I was hospitalised for a week just 10 days after giving birth with infective mastitis which had developed into blood poisoning. It entered my body through a cracked nipple. There were no symptoms initially. Then my entire right breast felt engorged again. No lumps, no redness. The first inkling I had that I was ill came from bladder pain. I had developed a bladder infection from the sepsis. By the time I was admitted to the regional teaching hospital my temp was above 39 degrees and my pulse above 120. Not good.

I gave up bf as a result of all this.

YorkshireRose12 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:56:11

Oh you do sound like you've been through the mill with having to be back in hospital.

If you want to continue BFing I would avoid the bottle at this stage if you can because it could cause him to have nipple confusion. It's easier said than done though when you are in so much pain. Maybe try the painkillers and Lansinoh tonight, get through tonight, get some breast shells tomorrow and re-assess where you are in 24 hours time? Eveything is just so much worse at night.

Some things to try for latching...

Hold him with his tummy against yours in the cross cradle hold. Use your elbow to pin his bum in really close to your ribs, support his back with your whole forearm and use your hand like a pillow under his underneath cheek to support his head. In this position you should be able to manoeuvre him easily with just the one arm.

Support the boob you're latching him onto with your other hand. If you're struggling to get a latch that's deep enough for him to get a big mouthful of breast tissue try this... Put your fingers on the edge of your areola where his chin would be when he's latched on. Put your thumb on the edge of the areola directly opposite where your fingers are. Pinch your thumb and fingers together to squash the boob with the nipple forming a point on the end. Then latch him on when he opens really wide, this way you should be able to get more boob in his little mouth.

The tongue tie could well be contributing massively to your pain (my DS's did - everyone said his latch looked great but it still bloody hurt!). Do you know how long the referral is going to take? Do you know who snips the ties? In my area it was done by the infant feeding advisors at the local hospital so I went to a feeding clinic they were running and they cut my DS's tie there and then, but I know that I was exceptionally fortunate with this and it doesn't happen like this in many areas.

Fisharefriendsnotfood Tue 13-Nov-12 23:08:01

Thanks everyone, I'm running on empty here sad. I had a section, blood transfusion then vomitting/diarrhoea bug then ds in hospital and now I have a hematoma that is not healing and this nipple problem. All this and DD 4.5 and ds 2.9.

I need a break!

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Tue 13-Nov-12 23:10:47

YorkshireRose12 has covered all the pain asoects, I just wanted to reassure you that the "hind milk" doesn't exist in the sense that it isn't there, then it magically is there if he sucks enough. 'Hind milk' is basically fat, there is a little bit of fat in every bit of breastmilk and the fat contact will gradually increase with the feed, Bertiebots linked to this on my thread and I've just finished reading it it might help reassure you that you need not worry about foremilk/hindmilk.

My baby is only 6 weeks old so don't listen too much to my advice, but from lurking on these board for the last 6 weeks and starting my own threads cracked nipples are mainly due to Tongue/Lip Tie or Latch Issue.

These videos really helped me figure out what was going on when the pain became unbearable on day 3/4. video 1, video 2.

How old is your baby? Do you have much local support? Try and take things one feed at a time and follow Yorkshireroses advice on pain management. Maybe do some skin to skin and have a bath to help relax things if you think it would help?

Keeps posting here too as there are lots of fab people who have helped me over the 6 weeks.

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Tue 13-Nov-12 23:16:59

Sorry cross posted; you've been through the mill poor thing. Do you have a DP/DH that can help you out a bit? If you want to carry on breastfeeding then maybe instead of a bottle you could try cup or syringe feed until you can get some help tomorrow? I found this on kellymom that might help?

Are the ends of your nipples white/yellow looking too OP?

louisianablue2000 Tue 13-Nov-12 23:26:23

You poor thing, the pain of cracked and bleeding nipples is horrendous (actually thinking of it, it is definitely the most painful pain I've ever experienced). Stick with the nipple shields for tonight but speak to a BFing councillor tomorrow morning, get them to watch you feed to help you sort out the latch.

I'd not use a bottle with such a young baby, do you have any syringes or cups to feed your DC if you can't face BFing? A break from feeding will help your nipples to heal surprisingly quickly but won't solve the big issue. Are you still under a MW, can you get her (or your HV/GP) to push for the tongue tie referral? It needs sorting if it's causing you such pain.

At least if you've BF before (?) then you should know it will get better. It's so so hard at the beginning with every child but suddenly after a few weeks they get the hang of itand you're away!

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