Re: Nipple Trauma and breastshields- Hel
Welcome and congratulations on the new baby and on toughing out the first difficult weeks of breastfeeding! I have been where you are and I know exactly how much a bad, persistent crack hurts and how much fortitude it takes to keep on nursing. It's like sticking your nipple into a mouse trap over and over again- any rational person would feel reluctant to do it.
The best thing you can do to fix a bad crack is to fix the baby's latch. If you haven't seen a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC, I suggest you do so now because nothing helps with latch issues like hands-on attention from a pro. And because shields should only be used with professional guidance, it's a good idea to see a LC before using one. (Shields have the potential to interfere with a baby's ability to latch and because they can reduce stimulation to the breast and slow milk transfer, they can also cause supply problems.). Make sure the LC checks baby's mouth for tongue-tie, something which can impact his ability to generate a deep latch.
Here are some tips that may help you heal a bit faster:
- Strive for the best possible latch every time.
- Vary your nursing position- there may be one position that allows better latches than the others. Many moms find the football hold to be helpful; I personally had the most luck using the side-lying position.
- Keep the humidity in your house nice and high.
- Use a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on your crack to combat inflammation and infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger. Does not need to be washed off before nursing.
- Immerse nipple in a shot glass of warm water for 30-60 seconds before latching baby on. That will hydrate the scabs on the crack, allowing them to open with less pain.
- Give it time! Tiny babies have tiny mouths and cannot latch on all that deeply even when everything is perfect. But babies grow fast, and if you wait the baby's mouth will grow and his latch will spontaneously improve. When that happens, healing generally occurs quite quickly.
Hang in there!
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"