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Thread: Help!! They won't heal!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    23

    Default Help!! They won't heal!!

    Hey ladies ... I am in desprate need of help! I have open wounds on both my nipples from bad latch issues early on that I cannot get to heal. They seem to be getting worse in fact. I've tried salt water soaks, lanolin, Jack Newman's Cream, nothing, air drying, leaving them out, putting clean pads on everytime ... it's been almost 2 weeks now and they just will not heal. Every time she latches to the Left it bleeds in fact and that's with using a nipple shield. Today I decided to try coconut oil but if anyone has any, ANY suggestions ... I want to breastfeed but this is getting unbearable. I tried pumping and bottle feeding, but the idea of pumping for every feeding and then bottle feeding is stressing me out. I'm home alone most of the day so that would be all I did (She eats every 2 hrs during the day)

    Any advise is welcome!

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,178

    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    How old is your baby?
    Have you had issues since the very beginning, or did you ever experience a trouble-free period?
    When your baby unlatches, are your nipples shaped more like pencil erasers (symmetrical) or new lipsticks (asymmetrical/wedged/creased)?
    How would you describe the pain- more of a stabbing, or a burning?
    Are you experiemcing any itching, skin flaking, nipple redness/pinkness?
    Do you have just one big crack/wound per nipple, or do you have multiple slit-like cracks, perhaps radiating around the nipple?
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    She's 2.5 weeks. We've never had a totally pain free feeding. I've seen a LC and even though my nipples come out more in a straight line than round 2 LCs have said she's latching good now and bc they didn't see a white line they thought it was ok. One nipple has open wounds at opposite sides, the other a large fissure straight through from side to side. When she latches it's stabbing pain but I continue with a dull ache like after feedings. Other than the open areas they look fine, no redness, flanking, etc. I just cannot get the wounds to heal and trying to nurse without the shield brings me to tears (I had a c section and never took a narcotic, even in the hospital so I can stand pain). I feel like the LC have 'written me off' for lack of better term. They just keep saying 'give it a few more days'. I started putting coconut oil on them today - id try anything at this point!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    Sorry, mama, I've been there done that for about 7 weeks, and it sucks. Congrats for hanging in there so long through what is some severe pain!

    Just because an LC (or anyone) says the latch looks good, if it hurts, it's not good. It can look really sloppy and as long as it doesn't hurt, then it's good.

    For me, I had to work on latch constantly, taking the baby off if it wasn't right, and starting over. If he got too frustrated, I'd let him get a few minutes of toe-curlingly-painful nursing and then try to start over. I also found hydrogel pads to be the only thing helping heal the cracks (took about a week of using them), I had also tried everything else. I think I tried cocoanut oil, too. But yeah, until you get the latch right, the cracks can't really heal. For me, the turning point was when I got the latch to feel good. The cracks were still hurting, but less so. And slowly I started being able to nurse without screaming, weeping, or biting a towel.

    Oh yeah, I also later figured out that my son has an upper lip tie, which is why his bad latch looked good and good latch looked bad, since he wasn't curling his upper lip out. We haven't done anything about it, and nursing is great now, but that may have been contributing to our problems in the beginning. Maybe you could have your LO evaluated for lip/tongue tie?

    And another thing I found helped was stop worrying about positioning like the pictures in books, and do whatever felt right, basically "laid-back breastfeeding".

    Things will get better, and I hope quicker for you than me!

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    Mama, I know for a fact that this sort of thing is extremely painful. I had bad cracks for a very long time and nursing on them was the most painful thing I have ever done, and that includes 2 natural childbirths and several broken bones.

    If you're seeing nipples that look flattened, creased, wedged, or like new lipsticks after nursing instead of round, then you have a latch problem. And I don't care what it looks like on the outside: it's how it feels on the inside that matters!

    Here's what I suggest:
    1. See another LC, preferably an IBCLC. Every LC has different tricks and maybe a new set of eyes will see farther.
    2. Experiment with different nursing positions. Some moms find they have more success with the football hold. I personally had the most luck with the side-lying position.
    3. Support the breast throughout the feeding, using either your hand or a rolled-up washcloth tucked underneath the breast. This will prevent the breast from dragging on the baby's latch and causing her to "slip up" into a shallow or shallower latch.
    4. Google "breast sandwich" or "nipple sandwich" technique, or better yet, have your IBCLC show you how to do it. It's an extremely useful way to cram the maximum amount of breast into a small mouth.
    5. Moist healing. Keep the humidity in your house high, use lanolin on the cracks, and immerse the cracks in a shot glass of warm water before nursing. Hydrated, supplle scabs tear open less painfully than dry ones.
    6. Use a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on the cracks to combat inflammation and infection. My LC said it did not have to be washed off before nursing.
    7. If you cannot stand the pain, consider pumping to replace some feedings. Sometimes that's what it takes to give a mom the strength to go on. Use a very good pump, and do try to keep the baby at the breast for as many feedings as possible to reduce the risk of nipple confusion.
    8. Make sure your baby is checked carefully for tongue-tie and lip-tie. Some moms get immediate relief when their LO's ties are clipped.
    9. Give this time! newborns have tiny mouths and cannot latch on deeply even at the best of times. But they grow swiftly and their mouths grow, and as that happens they can get deeper and deeper latches right from the start.
    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!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,652

    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    Your nipples should heal, rather quickly, once the latch is better. Until then, they keep getting reinjured & so they cannot heal. A painful latch is terribly frustrating but, it is also common and almost always fixable.

    Good tips above. I just want to add my voice to the chorus-if an LC has told you the latch 'looks good' and sent you on your way, she has not done her job properly. This may be due to time constraints and have nothing to do with ability, many hospital or medical group LCs are not given time to do a proper job. An appt with an LC should last around 90 minutes, it takes time to get this stuff figured out!

    I was just talking with an IBCLC last night about this exact type of scenario and she told me some interesting things about how LCs-even IBCLCs-are trained and the different paths they take to becoming LCs and how (in her opinion) it may impact the type of assistance they give. So, when shopping for an LC, I suggest you ask some questions. For example: Does the LC have experience with babies of various ages, or is her experience primarily with newborns in the first couple of days of life? What path did the LC take to becoming an LC? Was she first a nurse, a LLL Leader, breastfeeding peer counselor, other? Did she follow an IBCLC who was working directly one on one with moms & babies on breastfeeding issues as part of her training? Was attending an LLL meeting or other breastfeeding support group part of her training? What are the typical issues the LC sees in her practice? What is the typical length of a lactation consult? Does the LC usually find that adequate or not?

    Obviously there are no guarantees of who will be the most helpful for you. But in general if it were me, I would want to see an LC who had good communication skills (this you can get a feel for on the phone, and also if she was/is a Leader or a Peer counselor she would have had training in communication skills, and if she was encouraged to attend a LLL or similar meetings, then it is likely whoever trained her also had a good appreciation for the importance of good communication skills.) I was shocked to learn some hospital based LCs never see babies who are more than a couple of days old. I would want to see an LC who is experienced in working on latch issues past the first few days. Things change!

    A visual inspection of baby latching and nursing by an LC is an important tool to help fix things, but it is far more important how a latch feels, and an LC should not only be observing but also be asking you how it feels throughout the feeding and suggesting adjustments etc. until it feels better. Since there is already an injury it may not feel great until it heals, but you should be able to notice some relief if baby is on there good. If a latch is painful, something is wrong no matter how textbook beautiful it looks.

    Have you tried laid back positioning? http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com Positioning is very important when working on latch and what works best for you and your baby will be very individual.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; April 18th, 2012 at 12:12 PM.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    23

    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    For anyone else that may be reading this for advice ... nipple shields and coconut oil worked wonders. One is now completely healed and the other close. We've started to wean the nipple shields!! YAY!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    That's terrific, mama!
    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!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,652

    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    OK that is interesting about coconut oil. I know an IBCLC who has been having her clients with sore and injured nipples try it and recording the results. Can you give any details (when do you put it on, what kind do you buy, how quickly you saw results etc?) Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    23

    Default Re: Help!! They won't heal!!

    *Nature's Way Organic Extra Virgin Coconut is the brand I used, off amazon. I put it in after each feed and the put a breast pad on or let air dry (most of the time a breast pad, our neighbors are close and I hate to close all the blinds). It instantly stopped the pain I was experiencing after the feeds and saw marked improvement within a few days, fully healed one in less than a week the other was really awful and is almost completely healed a week and a half of use (been off the nipple shield for 3-4 days though). I bought it after doing research about diaper creams and cloth diapers and discovered many people saying it would heal anything so I thought hey why not?!? A friend did buy a brand from Walmart and says it doesn't feel or act like mine (stays greasy etc) I'm not sure the difference. I would advocate for its use, I had tried jack newmans, lanolin, breast milk, air drying and they just kept getting worse.

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