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Thread: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    Ok...so with DS I had a TON of issues - including and not limited to poor latch issues, Raynaud's, mastitis that lasted until week 12...so I really don't know what's normal.

    DD is 4 days old, and her latch seems really really good. She occasionally makes a slurp noise, but the LC at the hospital told me that was due to my engorgement and not her latch. My nipples are CRAZY sore, which I know is normal...but they are also getting cracked. They are cracked around the base and also on the tips. Not nearly as bad as with DS, but the pain level is about the same. It feels like a thousand knives going through my nipple when she latches and until she gets into a nice suck/swallow pattern.

    My question is - is it normal for my nipples to crack like that if her latch is indeed OK? Or should I be more concerned with her latch?? I'm thinking about finding another LC in the area to get a 2nd opinion...what do you think??

    TIA for your opinions
    Proud mama to Matthew Rory, born naturally 10/29/10, and mama to Callie Elisabeth, born naturally 5/15/12.

  2. #2

    Default Re: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    No, it is NOT normal for there to be that much pain or cracking. Is it common? Yes. Could it fix all on it's own, as baby and you get more practice together, baby gets bigger, you stop bing engorged, etc? Yes. But imo best not to assume it will. The myth that nursing "always" hurts in the beginning and it’s nothing to worry about has led to way too many moms trying to power through and ending up with very serious nipple injury, infection, and to giving up breastfeeding due to the excruciating but almost always fixable pain.

    It does not matter how the latch looks, it matters how it FEELS. If you have seen an LC who ignored your statement of being in pain and said it looked fine with no further assistance, you have not been well served by that LC. By all means, get a second opinion, ASAP. Make sure who you see is trained and experienced in helping mothers with painful latch. The appointment should be between one and two hours long. If she is an IBCLC that is probably best but in any case ask about her experience. Especially since you had serious issues before, it may be helpful to have your baby assessed for tongue tie, which has a genetic component.

    In the meantime, try laid back positioning or any position that seems to help. Nurse on the least sore side first, use purified lanolin or some nipple cream to help protect nipples between nursing sessions. Nurse very frequently to avoid engorgement, try reverse pressure softening to help baby latch better if you are engorged.

    Laid back positioning, often helps with nipple pain: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and www.biologicalnurturing.com

    Engorgement and reverse pressure softening: http://www.llli.org/faq/engorgement.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    Cracking is not normal. It is common, it may resolve even if you do nothing, but it implies that something could be improved. Definitely seek a second opinion!
    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!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    The pain doesn't bug me, as that happens to me, but it should not hurt the whole nursing. But the cracking...that isn't supposed to happen. something could be improved.
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*expat-mum View Post
    First of all, hi! Congratulations on your new baby girl! Have you had a chance to post in the birth announcement section?? I would love to hear how everything went for you.
    Thank you!! I haven't had a chance to post yet...I've barely had time to be on the computer at all. I haven't even read your birth announcement - I'm going to have to go back and get caught up! Congratulations to you too!!

    Thanks everyone for the tips...I didn't think it was normal to be cracking if everything was OK, but the LC seemed to shrug it off. She is a BSN, MSN and IBCLC...go figure. Moving on to the next. There are several LLL IBCLC in my area, so I'll look into them today and tomorrow.

    Definitely going to try the laid back nursing. We've been sticking to cross cradle because it's easy to hold her, but I can see where laid back nursing would be better...thank you so much for your opinions. I didn't know if I was making a big deal out of nothing...
    Proud mama to Matthew Rory, born naturally 10/29/10, and mama to Callie Elisabeth, born naturally 5/15/12.

  6. #6

    Default Re: nipple pain - normal vs. not?

    Often the issue with hospital based IBCLCs is that very often, through no fault of their own, they simply do not have time to do what is necessary to fully assist a mom with owie latch. In the hospital it's basically a triage situation with one LC expected to cover many moms, many mere hours away from discharge, or including really serious issues, plummeting newborn weight, jaundice, premature babies, etc. So it is not uncommon at all in my experience to hear of hospital based LCs sending painful latch issues on their way particularly if the mom is an experienced breastfeeding mom or seems basically determined, kwim? Plus while I know this was not your situation, in many cases latch does feel fine in the first couple of days in the hospital and only becomes an issue once mom is home and milk is becoming abundant. This is why I wish more hospitals would offer outpatient lactation clinics, there is only so much that can be done those first days in the hospital. She may very well be an excellent IBCLC unfortunately working under less than ideal conditions, I am sorry I implied otherwise in my passion.

    I have seen laid back do wonders, it may feel fumbly and odd at first don't worry about that, and make any adjustments that make sense to you, don’t worry so much about "rules"-there really arn;t many for this position. For example you can still hold baby across your body, but you are leaning back-that is 'laid back.' It's more about your position than baby's. If baby will not latch in the laid back position at first, some moms find it helps to latch in an upright position first and then lay back once baby is latched.

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