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Very cracked sore nipple and very hungry baby - help please!

(17 Posts)
hal91 Fri 21-Aug-09 17:10:44

Hi everyone - I'm new to the chatroom so apologies if I get some of the terminology wrong

After a difficult and painful start I'm still perservering bf my 4 week old son however one of my nipples is so deeply cracked and sore it is excrutiating. It bleeds whenever I feed and normally ends up with me in tears when I feed him. He's a really hungry baby and I tend to be feeding hourly which means it just doesn't get any chance to heal and breaks open again at each feed. I'm using Lansinoh and the local bf clinic recommended dressing it with Jelonet but nothing is helping it to heal. As he's so hungry I've introduced some formula feeds on advice of the HV but really would rather bf but the pain is starting to affect my ability to.

I've also tried laying off feeding him on that side and expressing instead but that still breaks open the wound and he ends up with pink bloody expressed milk.

So I've got two issues - keeping up with his very demanding hourly feeding schedule which is exhausting (day and night!) and healing the nipple so I can continue bf and not reduce my milk supply. I've been really tempted to jack it all in a few times now but really don't want to give in on the bf at such an early stage.

Any advice really gratefully received as I am at my wits end and in so much pain.

Thank you.

sockmonkey Fri 21-Aug-09 17:39:40

Do you get chance to "air out" your breast? I found that and Kamilosan (sp?) helped.
Closed the curtains and went about topless...DH was a bit dismayed but it did help.

Also try feed lying down. Feeding from a different angle might mean that the sore bit of the nipple gets a rest.

I'm sure someone with some better advise will be along shortly.
Good luck and congrats on your little DS

shonaspurtle Fri 21-Aug-09 17:55:04

Congratulations on your baby and welcome to mumsnet!

Re: cracked nipples I had the same thing. It's hell I know sad

Firstly, it WILL heal but it might take a long time and it may be very gradual. It might feel like every time it cracks open you're back to square one but I exclusively bf ds with 2 very cracked nipples so even though I didn't give them a break as such they did still heal.

Secondly, don't worry if the milk is pink - you can still feed it to your ds. Feels ick but really is ok.

Have you tried hand expressing? I found this was much more gentle than the suction of the pump. I think there's directions on Kellymom (which if you've not come across it yet is a fab website for bf advice)

Also, keep monitoring your ds's latch. Mine was never that brilliant which exacerbated the problem. Again, Kellymom is good and I also found the videos on Dr Jack Newman's site really useful.

I also tried Jellonet, Lansinoh, breast shells, airing etc but tbh, it was time that sorted it in the end.

You're doing a grand job. I hope it gets easier for you soon.

happyquacker Fri 21-Aug-09 18:57:54

this is really healing and non toxic

i would use nipple sheilds till soreness passes

well done on bf be determined its not easy always but its worth the effort x

happyquacker Fri 21-Aug-09 19:00:21

also rubbing breast milk into sore nipples is healing

kamillosan is also good from boots

EldonAve Fri 21-Aug-09 19:04:12

moist healing - opens a pdf don't let them dry out

lanosinoh & kamillosan are good and you should be able to get both on prescription

take painkillers

it may not seem like it's improving on a day to day basis but you will heal

good luck

JimmyMcNulty Fri 21-Aug-09 19:06:17

I had/have the same problem (ds is 3 weeks). Think we may have sorted the latch now (obv the first thing to do) but I have also been using Silverette between feeds - hugely expensive but I was desperate! - and they seem to have helped a lot. It may just be that they keep the wound moist and stop it constantly scabbing over and then being sucked off, which is what was happening before. Also they stop my clothes and breastpads sticking to the wound and having to be peeled off it every time! (sorry gross I know) There is probably a less expensive version though (Silverette are about £30).

hal91 Fri 21-Aug-09 21:33:13

thanks everyone - a few things here I haven't tried so will give them a go (never heard of Silverette JimmyMcNulty so will investigate as I've been having the same problems with the wound sticking to the breast pad).

It's a relief to hear from your experiences that they will heal in time, even if I persist with the feeding. Feels like I'm feeding a mini Hannibal Lectre at the moment and will have a gaping, bloody, deformed nipple forever!

I have tried nipple shields but DS really struggled with them. He's really hungry so gets frustrated that the milk doesn't flow fast enough and also after only one day of using them seemed to struggle to latch properly the next day when I took them off. Seems to switch between bottle and breast fine though.

I've been to the local bf clinic a couple of times now and they say that the latch and positioning looks good -just need to keep an eye on him towards the end of the feed as he starts to slip off and then pulls on the nipple. I don't think it helps that I've been struggling to keep up my milk production to meet his demand and if the breast feels quite empty and he has to work harder to get the milk he has a tendency to pull on the nipple and shake it around in frustration(bit like a dog with a toy and very painful!). Will have a look at the Jack Newman link and see if I can pick up any tips.

Interesting to hear that I might be able to get Lansinoh on perscription as it costs a fortune and I'm getting through loads of it.

Happyquacker - I'll give that cream a try - I assume I'll need to wash it off before feeding/expressing?

I'm just hoping that his appetite will regulate soon to something more manageable and that my nipple will heal and we can have a more pleasureable bf experience. Thanks for all the tips and support - you are a nice bunch

ShowOfHands Fri 21-Aug-09 21:37:53

Can I just offer you some sympathy? I remember the toe-curling agony of a baby latching onto a cracked nipple. Vividly. grin

It will get better. I had an hourly feeder, hungry baby she was.

I'm still feeding at 2yrs old and honestly, once the cracks were gone and we'd got it sorted it became the most fulfilling and joyful thing. I am so proud of it.

Congratulations to you.

TomThumbMum Sat 22-Aug-09 20:58:24

Just wanted to concur with ShowOfHands, I had excruciating pain and cracked, bleeding nipples. It happened overnight for me at 5wks. I went through tons of lansinoh which was prescribed by the MW. I couldn't believe it when breastfeeding turned from a tear-inducing mission to a lovely, pleasurable experience.
Congratulations, you are doing brilliantly, I found expressing exhausting so well done for persisting. As soon as the pain stops start feeding as much as possible, get back to bed with baby and you could ditch the formula, if thats what you want. Much easier for getting out and about.
Also learn to feed lying down, a total lifesaver for us and we still do this at night now ds is 19wks old.
Oh and one last thing, I really struggled with my right breast, agonising! I changed to rugby ball hold which seemed to take the pressure off and when the pain was gone reverted to cradle hold so would recommend trying a few positions out - your breastfeeding clinic or MW could help go through the different holds and feeding lying down. Good luck, it will pass and breastfeeding will soon become a pleasure.

TomThumbMum Sat 22-Aug-09 21:00:01

Sorry, I meant it got better overnight for me at 5wks! Let us know how you are doing Hal91 x

hal91 Tue 25-Aug-09 11:14:35

thanks everyone. After a weekend of walking around the house with my boobs out and not feeding on the really bad side but expressing, it seems to be healing a bit (think any neighbours that caught a glimpse of me through the window might be scarred for life though!). I tried feeding again yesterday and was braced to peel myself off the ceiling when he latched on but was really pleased when it was manageable pain. It seems to be bleeding less after feeding too so hopefully turning the corner - fingers crossed. I think just hearing that it got better on its own for you guys really helped me to stay positive.

Next challenge is trying to crack the hourly feeding. Feel absolutely exhausted and not sure how much longer I can sustain feeding through the night every hour to 1.5 hours, even though some of those are FF. I'm really not expecting anything like getting him to sleep through the night but at least a couple of hours between feeds would let me recharge the batteries and feel like I can cope so much better. Got a glimpse of what life could be like when DS slept really well on Sunday night - 2.5-3 hrs between feeds and with the improvement in feeding I felt like a new woman yesterday. Hugely depressed today as that was clearly a blip and back to no sleep again - defeat snatched from the jaws of victory again. May post as a new thread for some more help as going off the original topic and you mumsnetters have been so great with the nipple problem (and there aren't many places you can say that to strangers!)

pop1973 Wed 26-Aug-09 14:09:40

I had the same problem and because I was in such a pain I found that I didn't want to feed to often. I dreaded it for 2 weeks.

Keep it up though and it will get better and if the latch is good then the baby will stay on the breast for longer feeds. Try breast compression as well, it will encourage the baby to continue to feed it it gets sleepy and nods of and will stimulate the baby to eat again if it stops.

Regarding the pain, I tried to feed on one breast only, then would express a little on the other breast to keep it stimulated. I put cabbage leafs on to help the pain, cold one, cold ice packs to ease the pain. Rubbed lanolin cream on and let them get fresh air. I had sore in both of the breasts, but found that my little one had a strong latch as well and changed the position which did help. Keep up and it will get better. Try and rest in between and do whatever you can to ease the pain, having a little drink from you when you are bleeding is awful. I agree with you, but if you let one side rest then it does improve in 24 hours and I found that I changed breasts then as the other one got sore. I did the same and when they got better just fed on each breast and changed the position and it improved greatly.

You will also find that the baby should go longer in between feeds as it will stay on longer and you will feel more comfortable and will continually keep putting the baby on the breast.

Hope it gets easier for you.

TINKERBELLE33 Wed 26-Aug-09 15:50:33

I had awful problems with DD,she used to posset up blood after every feed bless her. Found Lansinoh to be the only thing that helped, use loads and it should stop breast pads sticking to the wounds. I just wish I'd been offered it on prescription!

I can totally sympathise with you about the pain, I cried when I was feeding and cried when I wasn't as I knew I would have to do it again soon. No reasons could be found but I did have a slow let down and DD would get very rough, a hospital breastpump used for a few minutes before feeding really helped. Once she got bigger she seemed to 'fit' better and everything healed up. I managed to breastfeed for 11 months before she decided she want to continue anymore!

I would continue with alternate formula feeds for a while to give healing time, you will be able to return to breast only. (I have just done it ater needing to bottle feed DS during the day for 3 weeks.)But remember if it does get too much don't beat yourself up, you gave it a go and at the end of the day so long as your little one gets fed, it really doesn't matter how you do it. I'm sure this contributed to my PND.

I was dreading feeding my second but DS took to it like a duck to water! No pain, no cracks and only a little tenderness @ day 3 which was quickly sorted with Lansinoh.

P.S. I asked my HV why they didn't tell mums that BF can be difficult and she said "if we told you what it was really like, no one would even try!"

caen Wed 26-Aug-09 20:44:07

I found the Jelonet useful to stop the scab being ripped off by vra or pad but the only thing that helped me was expressing half of feeds (for 5 weeks - very tiring!) and walking around/ sleeping with topless. I was still open after five weeks but a lot of the pain had gone and it has gradually healed since then.

mumblecrumble Wed 26-Aug-09 20:50:51


Oh I rememner that so much! Feels so painful and I wondered if I'd ever manage a painfree feed.

Have you had an expert watch you feed? I had several people sya my latch was fine, suffered as you have then found a strict midwife who said my latch could be much better.

Joined several support groups which was soooooo lovely.

It does get better. And you deserve a medal for persevering.

subsomatic Sat 05-Sep-09 03:13:27

I have a 1 week old and scabbed, cracked nipples. I thought I was going to die yesterday and woke up dreading the thought of feeding.

The little man is latching well and feeding well, but I'm having the same problem where he wants to feed every hour. I talked to my midwife this morning and she suggested picking up a nipple shield. Oh my goodness - what a difference! We've fed 4 times since then and it makes a world of difference! The little guy doesn't even notice a difference.

I'm expressing a bit of breast milk after and air drying as well as using Lansinoh every time I lie down for a nap. Hopefully everything should heal up quickly.

Good luck!

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