Cracked nipple, split and wounded plus vasospasm and bouts of mastitus(1 Post)
Well the subject says it all. But the good thing is I have completely recovered now! My baby is 2 months and two weeks all and my nipples are well, vasospasm almost gone and mastitis gone.
I'm posting because I read so many posts about this but none one ended with a happy ending! I vowed that once I was healed I would post about how and when I healed.
So this is my second daughter. My first daughter I successfully breastfed for over a year. The first four weeks were hard. Once nipple got sore and blistered and the other cracked a little. I went to see an LC in a council led group and she helped me learn to latch my baby on properly. i went home, made a real effort and after two days the pain had gone.
This time I wasn't so lucky. The first two weeks my nipples were a bit sore and my left one again was really sore. Perhaps because although when erect it sticks out but it can occasionally become inverted or flat. But only it seems when really cold and then is pulled out easily. Anyway I thought after two weeks they were getting better. My breasts then became engorged which was accompanied by a fever for five days so i was really tired. I remember one feed on the left side being really painful as she can't have been latched on correctly and my nipple had kind of gone hard but stuck flatter and inverted a little so she latched on so badly. I should have taken her off but i didnt as i was desperate to get the milk out of my engorged breasts and nippes. When she did come off i was sore straight after and thats when i must have cracked my nipple. It got worse and worse and became completely split. She wasn;t latching on that well and although that didnt effect my right nipple my left got worse and worse. I had to be so strict with her and faff about until her mouth was really wide. She never opened her mouth wide. The pain was excruciating! Honestly the worse experience ever! I would have swapped it for contractions! I felt quite down at times.
Then to make matters worse I developed vasospasm which was wrongly diagnosed as thrush by my GP. The pain of that was awful but once i worked out what the shooting pains were i was relieved to know what it was. Look it up but its pretty common with bad cracked nipples. The pain would go back and forth burning inside my breast.
THE HEALING So i basically realised i had to give that nipple a break. I slowly over the course of two weeks cut down feeds on that side to only three to four times a day. I never fed her on that side if she was fussy or if i felt scared. That was a relief as half of the trauma was my anxiety of the pain before i fed. I tried moist wound healing and dry wound healing as never knew which was right. At night i slept bra less on a towel and in the day put on a wound healing compress especially for breastfeeding from boots. I did however get a fever twice more probably as i was slowly cutting my supply down and then again as I healed and starting feeding more from that side. Maybe expressing on that side rather than weaning a little would have been better but a) i couldnt be bothered and b) I thought expressing might hurt too. Also the pain was so bad I was almost ready to give up and feed from one breast. Once i had decided that was an option i did feel a lot happier to try and see if i could heal the painful one.
I only sat in positions which were comfortable and that meant staying home a lot. When i went out i even took a pillow as needed mega comfort to cope.
I took ibuprofen and paraceptomol and tried to limit how often. Some days were worse than others tbh. I really wanted to work on her latch and that's why i still fed three times a day on that side and made up the other feeds on the other side. Also I had breastfed my other daughter successfully before so i knew it was possible and one breast was completely fine with no pain.
I took her to an osteopath to look at her neck and spine to see why she wasn't opening properly on that side. He noticed she was a little tight on her left side and did some cranial sacral therapy with her which I felt helped her to open her mouth more.
I also pressed into the middle of the top of her spine quite firmly just as she was about to latch to help her open her mouth. And then I think with time she just learnt to latch on better and her mouth simply just grew bigger.
For the vasospasm I bought a heated pad for renauds disease. It was amazing and really helped. The vasospasm would even sometimes come if i opened the door or the fridge. I think this got better as the wound healed and also as summer hit! I still feel slight burning sensations now if it's cold but it's very very slight. I also took calcium magnesium and a b complex supplements. Probably just to feel i was doing something. But it could have helped.
So basically with all of that I healed. It took about a month and it took a couple of weeks for anything at all to happen to the wound which was the worst part. It just seemed to stay the same for two weeks and the pain was intense. But once i saw the wound slowly closing it healed pretty quickly. It now is fine! I even stopped checking a couple of weeks ago. Breastfeeding now feels lovely and I have no pain whatsoever. We are all happy and glad we got there in the end. So yes it is a happy ending.
So if you experience this my main advice is find a lactation consultant. Get advice from them first. The latch has to be right! And once it is right then all this will pass! I've bravely attached images of my nipple at it's worse and as it's started to heal. I should show one now but you should get the idea from the pictures. Good luck! Really make the time to get it right!
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