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Please help nipples are killing!

(14 Posts)
cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 00:24:05

Hello, I really hope someone out there can help me, I am having real b/f problems for no apparent reason!
My dd is 6 months and for about a month, I have been getting really red nipples after she has fed. They almost look like they are covered in tiny blisters and they are so itchy it's unbearable. My whole boob itches too, whilst she is feeding. After her feeds, they remain red, but the itching stops and gradually the redness fades, although sometimes, they become dry and cracked - but there is no real pattern to it.
Have been to Gp who said he didnt know, but it was worth trying treatment for thrush, so I had some cream and dd had some nystatin - didnt make a bit of difference. I have found that using lanisoh or kamillosan helps relieve the redness, but not the itching. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I dont want to stop b/f as dd1 was b/f 18 months with no problems at all.

Flossam Fri 15-Apr-05 00:27:46

Does sound like thrush tbh. Could you go to different Gp to get another opinion? Does DD have anything white on her tongue?

cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 00:34:36

no, there are no signs of thrush in her mouth and there are no white patches on my nipples. Although I thought maybe thrush when I went to see gp because it seems to affect the let down, which can take a good 5 mins, but the treatment we were given for thrush hasnt made any difference

tiktok Fri 15-Apr-05 09:27:55

cally, I once counselled a woman who had the problem you are having, and it turned out she was allergic to the baby's had started on solids, and it was after this she got the soreness and redness and itching you describe. This mum was already someone who had occasional excema.

She discovered that the worst food for producing this reaction was jarred meat-based ready-made baby food. Once she stopped giving her baby this food, her nipples were fine.

Worth a try??

cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 10:12:48

Thanks tiktok, I feel like it's an allergic reaction, but thought people would think I was crazy if I said I was allergic to my own babys saliva
She is eating solids, but at the moment I only give her fresh fruit or veg pureed(I do cheat and use the steamfresh microwave ones-then blast them with the hand thingy)but I only use ones with nothing added to them. If it is an allergy, do I have to stop feeding her?
I dont normally suffer from any kind of allergies or skin problems, so I find it really odd. She does suffer from acid reflux, so maybe it's her stomach acid that's causing it?

I really don't know what to do and I am far to lazy to start making up bottles and sterlising, my HV says that what ever it is and she hasnt got a clue what that might be, that I should just switch her on to formula. So I am desperate to find a way to solve this myself and prove all the so called professionals that there is no need to give up - plus I'd feel guilty about feeding her for such a short time when dd1 got so much longer!

aloha Fri 15-Apr-05 10:15:18

My gp suggested i had a bacterial infection when I went in with very tender nipples early on and I had antibiotics. I think they worked. Certianly the nipples stopped feeling tender, little cracks healed and they weren't so red. This may have been due to tweaks in positioning but maybe worth talking to gp again.

Mothernature Fri 15-Apr-05 10:23:43

Nurse frequently - at least every 2 hours. This will ensure that your baby does not become too hungry between feedings causing him to nurse ravenously and aggressively at your breast.

Hand express or pump a few minutes before the feeding. This will elicit letdown and elongate the nipple for the baby so that he does not nurse so aggressively.

Nurse on the least sore side first as this is the side that your baby will nurse more aggressively on.

You may want to take a mild pain reliever about 30 minutes prior to nursing or around the clock until your discomfort lessens or disappears.

Open both sides of your bra during the feeding.

Consider applying warm, wet tea bags to your nipples for a short time after nursing.

Warm, moist compresses (wet washcloth works well) often bring relief to nipples both before and after nursing.

After feeding, pat dry your nipples and express some breastmilk to rub into them (this should be avoided if you have thrush as it thrives in milk). Breastmilk has Vitamin E in it which is very healing to the skin. Note: Avoid applying Vitamin E oil from a capsule to your nipples as this can be toxic to your baby!

You also may want to apply a 100% USP modified lanolin preparation, to your nipples after nursing. Apply enough to thoroughly coat the entire nipple/areola area. This does not need to be washed off prior to nursing as it is safe for baby to ingest. Recent studies seem to indicate that using 100% lanolin may hasten the healing process by maintaining the internal moisture of the skin. Avoid other creams and ointments sold for the treatment of sore nipples as these may actually impede healing by preventing air circulation and drying out the skin. Some of these other preparations may also be toxic to your baby and will need to washed off prior to nursing. Over-washing of the nipple area results in a loss of the natural lubricants that protect it and provide it with antibacterial properties.

Some moms find a hydrogel pad soothing and healing to nipple trauma.

Change your nursing pads immediately once they become even slightly damp. Moisture up against your nipples can prolong healing. If your pad sticks to your nipple moisten it with water before attempting to remove it. Also avoid nursing pads with plastic linings. They prevent the flow of air which is essential to healthy nipples. Stick with 100% cotton pads or pads made of plain paper.

If your nipples become so sore that you cannot tolerate the pressure of your bra or clothing on them and it is painful for you to hold your baby, you might want to consider wearing breast shells inside your bra to protect your nipples as they heal.


tiktok Fri 15-Apr-05 10:49:19

mothernature, I doubt very much the problem is caused by vigorous feeding - this is a 6 mth old baby and an experienced breastfeeding mother, and the problem only started a month ago.

cally - the fact your baby has acid reflux may be significant. Add the fruit and veg to that mix, and maybe her saliva is indeed affecting your skin. The timing is too much of a co-incidence, surely.

She's only 6 mths, so you could suspend all solid food for a while to see if it makes any difference.

If it does, then you'd need to start her on something very bland when you get back to solids again - rice, non-acidic fruits, potato - and go very gradually.

How pathetic that all your HV can say is use formula....I feel very down on HVs at the moment as there are so many reports on mumsnet of mad things they have said

catinthehat Fri 15-Apr-05 11:01:22

Just a thought, if you think it's acidity in dd's saliva may be causing it, could you use a solution of bicarbonate of soda (alkaline) to wipe down afterwards to neutralise it? then clean water to rinse the whole lot off later?

cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:58:05

Thnks for the advice mothernature, but I do have to agree with tiktok. There is no way on this earth that she would feed every 2 hours anyway, she's not done since she was about 3 weeks old- she has found far more exciting things to do now she's mastered crawling! Most of the time it's me that initiates the feeding anyway, as I think left to her own devices she wouldn't feed very often at all. I am not concerned about that side of it as she's only 6 months and already weighs a hefty 22lb, so I know she's getting enough when she does feed.And even though she doesnt feed that often, she still doesnt seem particularly bothered about it when she is feeding. She often refuses the breast.
I think delaying the weaning would have been the best thing (with hindsight lol!) but I dont think she would take too kindly to me stopping her food now. She always wants more after I've given her food anyway, and it's a battle of wills when anyone else is eating in the house. She trys taking food out of my 5 yo hand and follows you round like a dog drooling if you have anything food wise in your hand.

catinthehat, that sounds like a good idea, I will get some and try it. Even if it takes the edge of it, it would be a help. I can feel the burning and itching start as she is feeding and my nipples look so red they are on fire. I've never seen anything like it. I know it's not a positioning/latching on problem.

Thanks for everyones help

mears Fri 15-Apr-05 12:04:15

cally272 - I had an itchy red nipple like you describe (just the one though) and it was like eczema. I related it to solids and successfully treated it with hydrocortisone cream from the GP. I just had to make sure it was cleaned off before feeding. The hydrocortisone cleared it up really quickly. DD was probably about 7 months old when it started. Once treated it did not return. I did use jars at times but did not correlate the two things so that is interesting.

cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 12:04:40

Sorry Aloha, didnt mean to miss you out
I dont want to take any antibiotics if avoidable, as I dont want to end up with thrush on top of this. I also dont think it's an infection, as between feeds it clears up almost completely and some days it doesnt happen at all, have been trying to think what the difference is between good days and bad days and all I can think of is that on bad nipple days, dd seems to regurgitate milk much more often, which again would tie in with the acid reflux. Think this may be the answer!

cally272 Fri 15-Apr-05 12:09:25

thanks mears, my dh says it looks like eczema.
But ignored him as I've never had it - and didnt think it would start on nipples, but that too is a possibility. I am very weary of using stuff on my skin though, and although it gets washed off b4 feeds, I cant help thinking that maybe dd would ingest the hydrocortisone that had been absorbed into the nipple.

It's so infuriating as I'd believed 2nd time round would be as easy as first and had no probs until recently.

Thanks again everyone

mears Fri 15-Apr-05 13:30:17

cally - I know how you feel but you have possibly been putting on creams unnecessarily up until now because they were the wrong ones. If it is eczema you will feel an improvemnt with hydrocortisone within 48 hours. As a midwife I was scepitical at first but can I say I was so glad to get rid of it.

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