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Cracked painful nipples at 6 months - help, what's going on? Don't want to stop bfing.

(9 Posts)
TealHousewife Fri 28-Mar-14 21:02:39

DS2 is six months old and was EBF until the last couple of weeks when we've introduced solids. His weight gain has not been great and he has had quite frequent colds and ear infections. But he's a cheerful little soul generally and doing fine in terms of development etc.

A few days ago my nipples felt a bit dry and sensitive after feeding. Now the right one has several cracks and is very sore during a feed. Tonight for the first time I noticed it is bleeding during a feed too.

I don't know why this has happened, but I wondered if DS might be sucking harder because of his cold. However he hasn't been congested today but the nipple is getting worse if anything.

I asked for advice from people on the La Leche League and NCT phone lines. Both suggested feeding more from the other side while the nipple heals. But my right breast gets engorged and uncomfortable if I try this. I haven't tried expressing but my hunch is it would be painful; it's not very comfortable to express by hand. I have tried Lanisoh and breast milk to heal the cracks (only in the last 24 hours) but it's not working so far.

I haven't tried nipple shields - would these work? DS does not take a bottle - I only tried for the first time a couple of days ago but he was not interested. I really want to continue breast feeding but it's becoming very difficult to feed from the right side and I don't know what to do. I bf DC1 to 16 months with no problems and this has never happened before, even when I was establishing feeding. I'm guessing there must be a problem with DS's latch but it looks OK to me and I am trying to get him to latch on as deeply as possible.

Any advice or experience would be gratefully received, I'm not sure where to go from here.

Thanks in advance.

TealHousewife Fri 28-Mar-14 21:04:13

One possibly relevant point - he also got his two bottom teeth through this week. But I don't think it can just be the teeth causing the problem? He doesn't seem to be biting and the cracks go all round the nipple, but just by where his teeth go.

TealHousewife Fri 28-Mar-14 21:26:34

not just by where his teeth go

dannydyerismydad Fri 28-Mar-14 21:32:54

Have you been to a drop in? They aren't just for mums with newborns, but for bf mums at all stages in their breastfeeding journey.

What you're experiencing is quite common in mums of older babies. Our muscle memory leads us to keep holding the baby the same way each time we feed, but our babies grow. Before you know it, baby's bum is still in the same place, but their head ends in under your armpit, taking your nipple with it. Try to wrap baby's body around yours and out the way to get the head back in the right place.

The cold most definitely won't be helping, but with a good latch you should be back to feeding comfortably soon.

Try rubbing some breastmilk into the cracks too - it really can speed up the healing process.

Sunflower1985 Fri 28-Mar-14 22:22:40

I found I had sore nipples again after introducing solids - ds was treating them like finger food. I had to go back to being really careful with the latch for a few weeks. All the old tricks.

Quodlibet Fri 28-Mar-14 22:26:41

I would try expressing off that side, and give the Lanisoh a bit longer - when I had mangled nipples they took a few days to heal.

Erroroccurred Sat 29-Mar-14 00:02:11

Get swabbed - often an infection can cause this. Ab cream = all better.

Thewhitelady Sat 29-Mar-14 06:20:36

I had the same both at six months and when dd cut the bottom teeth. In all cases it was a matter of readjusting the latch. As she grew older she was more able to sort it out herself though so I found it normally was solved within the week. Currently struggling with the top teeth coming through, so I hope I'm still right..

TealHousewife Mon 31-Mar-14 18:36:49

Thanks very much for the advice everyone. Just in case anyone reads this for info, it turns out DS and I both have thrush - cracked nipples can be a symptom, so the cracks could be related to re new teeth or DS's cold, or could just be down to the thrush. We are getting treatment for it so hopefully it will sort itself out.

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