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Thread: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Ok, so yesterday we went to a family picnic, after one of the feedings we could see a small shred of skin coming off my right nipple. It did not really hurt, actually my left intact nipple hurt much more, but the sight of actual tissue hanging off my nipple was very alarming to me and even to my husband who is an RN.

    I have decided to continue breast feeding with both breasts and just endure any pain and damage that may occur. I am aware of the importance of getting a proper latch and generally how to do so.

    I guess my question is this: Should I continue with my plan? I have read that soon (we have been breast feeding for 6 days now) my nipples will toughen and this may become a non-issue. Or am I being too headstrong and consider taking a break? We have a breast pump I just do not want him to start preferring a bottle by the time my nipple heals.

    Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
    (Quinn)tessential - overly happy first time parents blogging about their ongoing experience. Quinn was born 5/21/12.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    I have continued to nurse despite damage. Watch for any sign of infection setting in. And I tended to start with the not damaged side so baby wasn't sucking as hard on the sore side.

    Have you seen an IBCLC? I knew why I was getting damaged like that, but if you don't, it might be worth checking into.
    Susan
    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!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Thanks for reassurance that I am not totally crazy in continuing to feed on a nipple that has visible damage. I knew I should continue with sore nipples, just no one mentioned what to do if I had a piece of skin hanging off! I did see an IBCLC while in the hospital, unfortunately she will not be back in until Tuesday because of the long weekend but I will give her a call then if this continues to be an issue. I know part of the problem is my newborn and my inexperience and not getting a proper latch each time, we are working on breaking the poor latches and putting him back on. The other part was him pulling off prematurely at this picnic we were at, it was an unfamiliar chair and place for me and when he pulled off, it certainly didn't help things.

    Good advice on starting with the intact side first, will do. Hopefully with time and practice this will just be a bump in the road. I will definitely keep an eye out for infection and so will my RN of a husband.

    Thanks, again.
    (Quinn)tessential - overly happy first time parents blogging about their ongoing experience. Quinn was born 5/21/12.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    If the skin shred is just dead skin, maybe sloughed off from an old blister, and not a piece of living skin, then I don't think it presents a problem. Particularly if it doesn't hurt.

    And with the PP regarding the safety of feeding on a damaged nipple. I had severe nipple damage for 4.5 months and never got any sort of infection.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Thank you! That is reassuring.
    (Quinn)tessential - overly happy first time parents blogging about their ongoing experience. Quinn was born 5/21/12.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    One of my nipples got so damaged in the first few months, it has completely (probably permanently) reshaped itself. But we made it through just fine nursing on damaged, very painful nipples. I would add to what PPs have said, that it may be wise to apply lanolin or another type of nipple butter after each feed both the keep the skin supple and to encourage "wet healing." This should also prevent your damaged skin from sticking to your bra, which is quite alarming and not very good for the healing process.

    I also used, for a time, breast shells. This completely kept anything from touching the nipples so they could really heal. You have to be judicious with their use, as they can encourage leaking, but they are very effective in allowing healing. Good luck!
    -Hannah

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Hi there, this same thing happened to me with my first child when I was BFing him 6 years ago. At the advice of a nurse, I rented a hospital gradepump and pumped the damaged side until it was healed enough to no longer ne painful. My nipple has a permanent scar from it. But baby did fine nursing on one side! Plus I built up a good size freezer stash in the process. After I was healed, I returned to switching back and forth during feedings.

    I think it worked because with the pump, I could control the level of suction. When baby nursed on the damaged side, the cut reopened each time (and OUCH it hurt!).

    You may be able to work through it since it sounds like its not a pain issue.

    Good luck!

    P's for me, I'm now nursing DD and going strong at 12 mos. My scarred side is actually the better producing side, too.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Thank you all for your replies. It is reassuring to know that others have been there (even though it is not fun!!) The pain level has increased especially when he first latches with the open areas..but then it subsides usually. I did buy a pump but have not been using it yet. But maybe I will consider starting if the damage gets unbearable.

    I am happy that you seem to say that the damaged side didn't lose its supply or affect the baby in any way.

    THANK YOU LADIES!!!!!
    (Quinn)tessential - overly happy first time parents blogging about their ongoing experience. Quinn was born 5/21/12.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    Regarding pumping: I tried this when baby was having a hard time latching and my nipple was really damaged. My midwife advised pumping and bottle feeding for a couple days to let my nipple heal. This DID NOT help. The pain meant baby wasn't latching properly, and introducing a bottle into the mix only made this worse. Then I had the stress of figuring out how to pump effectively and wash a million pump parts and bottles and not let DD lie there and cry while I did all this...it was too much. The best course of action is to figure out how to get baby latched properly as soon as possible and keep EBF. I hope you are able to see the lactation consultant. Fixing latch problems is much easier to do in person than over the web.
    -Hannah

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Damaged nipple, continuing to feed, advice?

    I had cracks that took atleast a month or two to heal. It helped me to change positions every so often so that it would "rest" the damaged area. I also found an 'all purpose nipple ointment' similar to the one here: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...ename=doc-APNO really encouraged good healing. Fwiw, part of my issue turns out that one nipp is turned facing more outward than forward and so ultimately a modified football hold works best for us.
    Proud Wife to my Kyler 10/02/08
    Proud Mum to our Sarah 07/03/10 and Laura 02/03/12

    Btdt: CS & VBAC
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    I love to with my Beco butterfly 2 and enjoying
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