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cracked nipples- how long to heal

(19 Posts)
Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 08:37:30

Hi. I've posted a couple of times in the last couple of weeks as quite a few breastfeeding problems. Dd is now nearly three weeks and my nipples have been cracked since day 1. I had problems with engorgement when milk came in which has settled. I have a good milk supply (?oversupply) and a fast let down so baby often comes off quickly coughing.
I developed mastitis last week and swabs of the nipples showed infection. I was really hopeful that the antibiotics would help the cracks heal as well as clear up the mastitis. But it's the last day today and nipples still cracked although not as painful.
I have been doing lansinoh before and after every feed, saline baths and now have multi-mam compresses (these are very soothing but expensive!). Nipples shields didn't help. I've had help with latch and definitely not tongue tie. Latch looks good but nipple always has a ridge when she comes off. Have requested to see specialist midwife again for positions help- I can only feed comfortably in cross cradle on left and rugby hold on right which I think may be exacerbating the problems as stress always over same area. The right side in particular is awful- there's almost a hole on the top of the nipple as well as the cracks across sad
my ds had tongue tie snipped at 4 weeks and I think he was 6-7 weeks before cracks healed. I'm just not sure without the "fix" that we had for DS when these cracks will improve? Anyone been in a similar situation?

MouseInTheSkirting Wed 28-Jan-15 08:50:08

Oh god that sounds awful. I don't have any advice but by responding I hope it keeps your post afloat until someone else comes along. Have you tried lots of boobs in the air time and expressing a few drops of milk to rub on to your nipples - that's what the midwives always tell me to do.

Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 08:59:11

Thank you mouse. I usually put some milk on then the lansinoh and air for 5 minutes after each feed. I've had mixed advice about how much airing is good versus keeping them moist with cream and covered. It's very confusing!

moggle Wed 28-Jan-15 09:04:40

Have you tried breast shells? That was what turned the corner for my cracked nipples. A maternity assistant who came to weigh DD suggested them. They keep your bra and clothes off the nipple but you can then go out in public :-) I found that my bra squishing my nipples after every feed meant that the cracks were healing in a squished position which meant they'd reopen at each feed. OW.

I will be honest they took until DD was nearly 6 weeks old to completely disappear but as soon as I started using the shells they started to heal, I could see the cracks getting slightly smaller every day and knew we were on the right track.

Good luck. They were so awful but so far haven't recurred, DD is 11 weeks now and breastfeeding is now easy peasy.

Hesalovernotabiter Wed 28-Jan-15 09:08:30

Oh bless you, I feel your pain. flowers

Firstly, you are absolutely right to keep seeking help over the latch, you know from experience it shouldn't hurt nor should your nipple be mis-shapen after a feed. I would ask for help with learning as many positions as possible to alternate the pressure points. Have you heard of biological or laid back nursing? That can be good for getting a really deep latch- there are loads of YouTube videos.
When I had sore (understatement) nipples the midwifery care assistant told me to by all means but on the lasinoh but also do plenty of air time too. She basically said how would I like to be damp, greasy and hot & then shoved inside a bra with a breast pad for two hours?! I got her point and it did make me smile.

Is it worth having the tongue tie double checked- could be posterior and not so easy to spot?

Sending my best wishes, you are doing fab x

GrumbelinaPicklebottom Wed 28-Jan-15 09:10:30

If you are "airing" (strange concept, isnt it?! Airing one's boobs! I always felt like an idiot doing it... But it helped) after applying lansinoh then the ointment will be preventing any air from reaching the skin.

Have you tried applying milk, allowing it to air dry, plus a few extra minutes, THEN applying lansinoh?

My sympathies - my eldest struggled to feed and I was in agony with cracked, bleeding nipples for weeks. The pain was worse than labour at times - the only thing that helped me was using nipple shields so that his mouth was no longer in contact with my skin.

Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 09:11:28

Thanks Moggle will order some shells (all these breastfeeding props are seriously making a dent in my cake and coffee fund!). I am resigned to it taking 6 weeks at least.

Jinglebells99 Wed 28-Jan-15 09:19:08

What helped with my cracked nipples was placing a fucidin dressing over the area. You can cut it to size. It was amazing stuff and sorted it out. I think I got it on prescription but you may be able to buy it.

Anotherdayanotherdollar Wed 28-Jan-15 09:27:16

I found the "jack Newman all purpose nipper cream" much much better than lansinoh or multi mam compresses. Cracks started healing almost straight away. You need to get a pharmacist to make it up tho and you need a prescription (in ireland anyway). Google for instructions!

Batmam Wed 28-Jan-15 09:36:12

I second Lansinoh breast shells, they give the nipple a bit of space and I collected the let down milk to give to dc in a little cup/bottle to give my nipples a bit more rest!

Cracked nipples are the worst, I remember the excruciating pain when latching on. I know you've tried nipple shields but these are what saved me (medela ones, boots own are rubbish) I was so engorged at the beginning of a feed dd couldn't latch fully and would suck on the tip making the crack worse. I'd use the shield just until there was enough nipple free for her to latch properly then the crack was back on her soft palate so didn't hurt for the rest of the feed. Think I did this until the crack healed which took nearly a week.

Good luck��

McBaby Wed 28-Jan-15 10:00:57

If you have oversupply I would stay away from breast shells they stimulate supply and can make the problems work.

I would get reassessed for tongue tie it took 8 weeks for someone to spot ours and it was very severe! Her tongue function was very very poor but latch and tongue looked normal! They need to feel underneath to look at elevation and lateral movement

Too much lansinoh can also cause problems as it means the baby can't get a good grip and slips back! Then is only nipple feeding which causes more damage.

Moist healing will help the cracks heal from the inside out if you air dry the top layer of skin heals then breaks again when you feed.

I used jelonet dressing cut to size inside a breast pad with a smear of lansinoh or vasaline to keep the nipple moist.

Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 10:50:04

Thanks for all the advice. I just tried a nipple shield again on right (had one successful bf with a shield last week but then felt worse so stopped using ), and it's opened the cracks and made it bleed. I think I need to rest that side today, express and hope I don't get mastitis on that side

McBaby Wed 28-Jan-15 11:15:14

I always found nipple shields agony I think when they are used to a shallow latch they bite the nipple even more with the sheild on!

Jinglebells99 Wed 28-Jan-15 14:17:37

Ooh it was jelonet dressing I had too. I'd forgotten the name! Op toy really should try and get hold of some. It was the only thing that worked for me.

Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 14:37:44

Our local chemist has jelonet so will get some tomorrow. Do you have to remove the residue before breastfeeding?

McBaby Wed 28-Jan-15 15:46:52

No need to remove residue. Just make sure nipple is not to slippery so baby doe sent slip off.

Bugaboom Wed 28-Jan-15 15:52:08

Just read back and realised I cross posted and missed a couple of posts by hesalover and grumbelina. Sorry about that- sleep deprived. With the biological nursing is DD too old at almost 3 weeks to try this? I always thought it was a first position. Thank you.

moggle Wed 28-Jan-15 17:11:59

I still use that position with DD at 11 weeks. I don't think it's anything she needs to have learned at an earlier age.
I think an important thing is to vary the feeding position as that changes the pressure on the cracks. Mine were in the outer edge of the nipples, from feeding in cradle position so I would try to feed in the rugby ball hold and laid back, but would still use cradle position at night as it was easier.

Hesalovernotabiter Wed 28-Jan-15 20:07:42

I think biological nurturing can be done at any time. A friend was advised to try it during a nursing strike when her LO was over a year.

Sleep deprivation is sooo difficult. One night, one night I might just get to sleep all night, pleeeeease smile

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