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Thread: Cracked nipple

  1. #1

    Default Cracked nipple

    Hello :-) I have a nearly 3 week old little girl and we have been breastfeeding since her birth, however I am having some issues with one of my nipples.

    My left nipple has a history of being inverted while the right has always been normal. With my older child (she is now 2) I exclusively pumped for four months (she was born at 29 weeks and we were unfortunately never able to transition to breastfeeding). After pumping for four months my left nipple seemed to sometimes be inverted and sometimes be "sticking out". I could also get it to protrude easily with my fingers, so I assumed I would have no problems breastfeeding with the new baby.

    The current problem I'm having is that about 4-5 days after my daughter's birth my left nipple developed a large crack. I've been very careful with positioning and latch and I believe we are doing everything properly in that regard (particularly since I am having no issues on the other side). My thought is that the crack is caused by the same thing that causes that nipple to be sometimes inverted. I've been treating the crack with expressed breastmilk and lanolin and it doesn't seem to be getting much better (although it doesn't seem to be getting any worse either). I don't think it's bleeding anymore but it is still rather deep and very painful. The initial latch is VERY painful and while the pain does subside some after about 30 seconds or so, I do still experience pain the entire time she is nursing on that side.

    I so want to have a long breastfeeding relationship but I'm becoming very frustrated by the amount of pain I experience when she is nursing on my left side. If you have any tips for ways to allow the crack to heal I would appreciate it very much! Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Denver, Co.

    Default Re: Cracked nipple

    I don't know much about inverted nipples, but I don't want this to get lost...


    This link may help:http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/....html#inverted

    Can you get some All Purpose Nipple Ointment? Have you reached out to a Lactation Consultant preferably an IBCLC or a local LLL leader?

    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Cracked nipple

    with the PP. (Thanks for bumping this one!). A visit with an IBCLC would be my first choice.

    Healing broken skin in the nipple area is hard to do when the baby's latch is off or when the nipple is short or inverted- if the baby can't get a good latch for whatever reason, the crack just keeps reopening and once the crack is established it tends to take a long time to heal. I suggest taking the following steps:
    - use a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on the crack. Mix and apply a pea sized amount using a clean finger.
    - keep the humidity high. Stay away from air conditioning! Dry skin is the enemy of healing, in my experience.
    - vary your nursing position. There may be one position that allows a better, deeper latch.
    - be patient. A small baby has a small mouth and that makes latching difficult at the best of times. But babies grow and their mouths grow, so this situation should improve with time.

    Hang in there, mama!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cracked nipple

    My nipples look like bullseye with a huge crater in the middle from the baby chewing on my nipple when he was tongue-tied. The tie has since been fixed but my nipples don't seem to be healing or getting worse, like you and it's been about two weeks since the tongue-tie procedure. But the tongue really just healed this week. I got the APNO cream and I'm hoping that's helping. I'm debating on pumping on one side and feeding solely on the other to let at least one side heal but I fear it will be weeks or even months for it to repair. Let me know if you have any success with anything. I feel for you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Cracked nipple


    I second the recommendation to get help with your latch from an IBCLC, and to treat that nipple regularly. Cracks can be hard to heal, and worse, they can increase your chances of getting mastitis, because it's an easy entry point for bacteria. My midwife recommended that I use polysporin ointment on my cracked nipples, and I found it was a lot more healing than just lanolin. An all purpose nipple ointment (APNO) like the PP recommended usually has an antifungal ingredient (for thrush) and an antibacterial ingredient (like polysporin) so it covers all of the bases. I also think chronic thrush can contribute to really cracked nipples - do you feel a burning or itching pain? I can only imagine that inverted nipples might make thrush worse - it makes for a darker, damper place for the yeast to multiply.

    So, sorry, that's a lot of information. Basically, what you are suffering from is not normal (in the sense of something you're supposed to just grin and bear), and I urge you to get help! But also, many of us have dealt with nipple trauma, and it is treatable and curable, and you can get past it and breastfeed your baby in comfort (it can even be enjoyable!). Lots of ladies on here dealt with inverted nipples, and lived to nurse their babies for a long time. So it CAN be done. Hang in there!

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Cracked nipple

    First of all Second of all, your LO is so lucky to have such a dedicated mama. You CAN do this.

    I had huge, crater-like cracked nipples for 12 weeks. I suffered through it for about 2 weeks, and then went to see the IBCLC. She was shocked - she had never seen someone nurse through cracks like that. She called my midwife and she prescribed APNO cream for me http://www.drjacknewman.com/help/Candida-Protocol.asp is some info on it. That helped, but it didn't heal them all the way.

    I took a 2 day break from nursing - and pumped and gave DS the milk in a bottle along with using the APNO and that actually helped me heal a little bit more.

    Ultimately, I had an underlying condition which is why they didn't heal for so long (Raynaud's in the nipples), but I know that the APNO has worked wonders for so many women - and the nice thing about it is you don't need to wipe it off before nursing.

    Good Luck - hang in there and talk to someone about APNO or something similar.
    Proud mama to Matthew Rory, born naturally 10/29/10, and mama to Callie Elisabeth, born naturally 5/15/12.

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