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how can i continue feeding with severly cracked nipples. how will they heal?

(25 Posts)
meganorks Wed 10-Jul-13 18:09:14

The very ends on my nipples are red and some chaps round the sides too. Obviously need to correct the latch and think the problem is that she is too high on my nipple. Correcting easier said than done now nipples are damaged though.
Just wondering how they are going to heal if I keep feeding. And how I keep feeding when so sore! Got some nipple shields but struggling with those too. Got some lansinol cream that I have been using after feeds before putting on breast pad. But not doing everytime as never sure when she will wake wanting more - seems to nod off but then 20 mind later wants more. Currently using some medela hydrapads but not sure they are doing anything. And can't use these and cream.
So any tips? Or idea how long will take to heal? (Assuming I sort latch problem which isn't really guaranteed)
Really disappointed in myself that despite bf dd1 for a year I am having all the same problems with newborn.

CaptainJamesTKirk Wed 10-Jul-13 18:11:22

Do you have some lansinoh? It's te best thing for cracked nipples. Pop it on frequently and about 10 mins before feeds.

LaTrucha Wed 10-Jul-13 18:18:49

do you have a support group near you? That, or ring the national breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0210. They can talk you through the best way to heal the damage that has been done, talk you through positioning and let you rant about how much it sodding hurts.

There is a good chance that a talk with one of them will help feeds be siginifcantly less painful while your nipples are healing and prevent further damage.

FWIW, keeping your nipples moist is the best way to heal them, so Lansinoh is good. So is expressing a small amount of milk on to them at the end of a feed.

SpooMoo Wed 10-Jul-13 18:20:08

Are they both bad? You're right things will improve with an improved latch, but when I had this on one side near the beginning I expressed using a manual pump on that side for a whole day to let it heal. In the end baby wouldn't take a bottle so the milk was dumped but at least my nipple had a break! Nike shields never worked for us. It was painful perfecting the latch but it got better within weeks. Hang in there, get lots of practical/hands on help with the latch & positioning.

SpooMoo Wed 10-Jul-13 18:20:55

Ha, nipple shields not Nike shields! Autocorrect.

midori1999 Wed 10-Jul-13 18:23:42

If you can get the latch sorted, your nipples will heal while you keep feeding. Lanisoh does help too, but it won't solve the problem.

Can you get to a BF group/clinic and get someone to help you with the latch? Or do your local NHS offer a peer support service where someone can check the latch for you? You can ask your HV for details.

Wwendy33 Wed 10-Jul-13 18:55:31

I am just working through a cracked nipple too. I must say that NHS BF support is fab. Also use lots of Lansinoh and try a different feeding position. I found that allowed healing too. The key thing and the most difficult is to be sure the larch is correct everytime and that baby doesn't slip off a bit in feed.

meganorks Wed 10-Jul-13 19:58:47

I have the cream so will keep using that. Interesting you say to put it on 10 mins before feeds Captain. I have been trying to avoid putting it on when I am not sure if I will br feeding again soon. Maybe just need to lather it on I guess.
Both nipples are bad so can't really avoid using one side. Might go with the expressing option for both sides but don't want to effect supply or spend all my time sterilizing stuff.
There is a breastfeeding clinic at my surgery. But don't really like the woman who runs it as don't find her very useful. She did my nct bf session and didn't really address our concerns or offer practical advice. And when I went to clinic she decided my problem without looking at me feed or helping to show me how to sort the latch. But I might try and go and see if I can talk to someone else.
Just did a feed on one side and that felt a lot better. Had baby much lower and more in position with how my boob and nipple sit naturally. Think the problem in part had been her slipping during feeds. Sometimes hear a loud suction noise and then gets more painful. But as getting her on and off the most painful I haven't really been correcting it.

LaTrucha Wed 10-Jul-13 20:15:26

Are you putting your little finger in her mouth to break the latch?

Your position 'sitting naturally' already sounds much better.

Suction noises suggest that the latch is letting in air, which isn't always a problem if feeding is otherwise pain free and baby is happy but if it is painful it does suggest that the latch could be improved.

I hope you have more luck at your clinic. FWIW a phone conversation with a trained helper is ging to be more use than a feeding roblem that is decided without seeing a feed or talking properly to the mother. In the meantime, I found Jack Newman's videos helpful and I know bf experts think well of him (apart from he's a bit hands on!)

DangoDays Wed 10-Jul-13 20:20:27

I had really sore nipples the first week. I remember having the exact same thought about how could my nipples heal when I seemed to be constantly breastfeeding!

Using one breast per feed helped give the other side a rest and gradually they healed with a bit of a break. In fact after a week of bleeding and cracking it was sorted. I did t use cream or shields so can't comment...

I know lots of people insist that it shouldn't hurt but despite getting the lactation specialist, several midwives and support at a breastfeeding drop in no one could see something wrong with the latch. I think it was a case that maybe nipples just need to toughen a little for the first bit...

I am not advocating enduring serious pain! But I think it sent me into a panic that everyone said things looked fine but kept reiterating it shouldn't hurt. I remember a midwife finally saying it might just be that my nipples were toughening up and once she said this I felt a lot more relaxed and that this didn't mean it wasn't going to work out. I guess I am trying to say don't panic or get too worried. It will improve. Sounds like you are feeling better about the latch which is great.

In the meantime cake and a decent box set always helped distract me from the pain. Keep us posted.

Baabaapinksheep Wed 10-Jul-13 20:21:29

Calendula cream is excellent! Make sure it's the pure stuff not the moisturiser one, it sorted my nipples out in no time better that anything else.

DangoDays Wed 10-Jul-13 20:22:41

Oh yep ... Good point latrucha about breaking the latch! Ah it is all coming back to me. Good reminders as I am due to do it all again come December!

sleepyhead Wed 10-Jul-13 20:23:25

Be a wee bit careful slathering on the Lansinoh if you find that the latch slips quite easily. I found that if I used it too soon before a feed ds2 was more likely to slip down and start sucking directly on the nipple again. It's great for stopping things drying out after a feed though.

As previous posters have said, once the problem that caused the cracks is sorted the nipples will start to heal as the rubbing/pressure that caused the damage won't be there any more. It should get better very quickly after that happens.

mrsyattering Wed 10-Jul-13 20:28:43

I went through weeks of agony, DD had a tongue tie sadI swear I wouldn't have got through it without using nipple shields (avent silicone ones) also rugby ball position helped the sore bits heal. I went on to exclusively bf till dd was 14/15 months old. I do still bear the scars on left nipple ;)

QuickQuickSloe Wed 10-Jul-13 20:31:56

Try to spend as much time topless as you can. I know that is easier said than done when you have leaky boobs but the less fabric and breast pads you have rubbing your nipples the better.

BrownBearBrownBear Wed 10-Jul-13 20:33:03

I had terrible cracks in both nipples for weeks. Once I'd got the latch sorted (spent the day at an NHS breast feeding clinic attached to birthing centre.....brilliant) they healed fairly quickly even thought I was still feeding.

The main thing that made a difference to me as letting my nipples dry out in the air after each feed. Once they were completely dry I put lansinoh or Vaseline on them. Air drying them was a turning point, as well as sorting the latch of course.

Hope you get some relief soon. I'm pregnant with number 2 so am wondering how the feeding will go this time.

FadBook Wed 10-Jul-13 20:36:04

Some excellent advice so far.

It sounds daft but are you taking painkillers too? This will help with some of the pain.

Dd has tongue tie so i had that sorted but nipples were damaged from shit latch and i completely didn't think about painkillers until someone mentioned it! It won't remove the pain fully but it will take the edge off after a couple of paracetamol and ibruprofen (alternated) every 4 hours. You can take ibruprofen if bf'ing too (it's pregnancy you can't take ibruprofen)

Congrats on arrival smile

WandaDoff Wed 10-Jul-13 20:36:40

Kamillosan cream.

I was recommended it by a midwife & it did the trick for me.

Let your nipples get plenty of air as well.

CakeMonster100 Wed 10-Jul-13 20:40:12

If nothing seems to be helping it might be worth a trip to the Dr just to make sure it isn't a thrush infection. I had terrible split and bleeding nipples and just kept thinking I wasn't positioning correctly until a lovely lady at our NHS breastfeeding clinic suggested I get checked out. They prescribed some cream (name escapes me but you have to be careful with it to wipe it off before feeding) that sorted the problem out.

Also don't assume that there's only one source of help. I came across several breastfeeding counsellors that I just couldn't understand until I found one I liked. Try your HV, Google for la leche league/NCT in your area to find other people to see. Also try some of the baby groups in your area. Recommendations are the best.

lovepigeon Wed 10-Jul-13 20:40:32

What worked for me and has already been suggested by others:

rugby-ball hold (better latch or at least a different angle of attack so not same areas getting sore)
letting one side heal at a time by using a pump
lansinoh and kamillosan
try different bf support group to get help with latch - lll?

I had terrible soreness the first week or so (having to bite on something so I didn't scream in pain) and then it got better, I think my nipples toughened up lots too or they became somewhat numb.

Wingdingdong Wed 10-Jul-13 20:40:49

Are you using a cushion (or 2)? By the time DC2 came along, I'd forgotten how small newborns are; I bf DC1 till 12m and she was fairly self-supporting. I needed an extra cushion under the pillow with DC2 as a newborn to get him high enough, but I'd forgotten till he was a week or so old.

Do check for tongue tie too. Despite good positioning after the first few days I never could get the latch right; DS had 65% posterior tongue tie.

StuckOnARollercoaster Thu 11-Jul-13 04:31:59

Echo what's been said about getting the latch right to prevent further damage. See if you can find some other bf groups if you don't feel with the lady at the one you know about.
To heal your nipples try to go without a top for as much as possible. Use your own milk on the cracks, when that has dried in add some lansinoh. I was advised to just put it on the crack not whole nipple/areola so that it's not 'slippy' for the baby next time they are latching on. If you do have to go somewhere and hence wear cclothes I found breast shields useful. They keep air around the nipple and ease some of the pressure, but are only recommended for use for 40 mins a time although I would forget sometimes and use them for more like an hour.
Good luck - my girl is 3 weeks now and we seem to have come out the other side but at the time I couldn't see how it would ever get better but it did slowly...

meganorks Thu 11-Jul-13 11:34:07

Thanks for the advice. Have got out the cushion and might get another too to raise her up a bit higher. Trying to do one side each feed to give other boob a rest. I am taking painkiller as post c-section, so will try and time closer to feeds.
Think we are doing a bit better already. Watched some videos online that were really useful. Latch improving. But she doesn't seem to open her mouth wide very often. Just need to keep working at it and correcting. But I think she is getting more milk as sleeping longer and can hear her gulping more. She doesn't seem to be waking after 20-30 mins wanting more which in itself is helping. Plus my boobs seem yo have calmed down a little from being red hot rocks!

Clarabell78 Thu 11-Jul-13 20:06:17

I've had the same problem and the midwife got the go to prescribe actiform cool hydrogel dressings. They are pretty new apparently but you just put them on and remove them before feeding. Only got mine yesterday but they are helping already - very soothing. You can only get them on prescription so worth asking gp.

meganorks Fri 12-Jul-13 10:39:49

Thanks clarabelle. Might try that. The medela ones did seem to help a bit but very expensive.
Think I spoke too soon about things improving. Have had some good feeds where I manage to get her in the right position. But really hard to get full nipple in as she doesn't open her mouth wide very often. Going to try the breast feeding clinic now...

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