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Thread: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

  1. #1

    Default Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    I'm in desperate need of some advice. A little over a month ago, my 14 month old went through a faze where she had a very "toothy" latch. She wasn't biting, but she was kind of digging in with her top teeth while nursing. This resulted in a crack on each of my areolas. After several weeks of extreme pain, I called in a lactation consultant. This did not prove very helpful because my daughter is too distracted when others are around and wouldn't nurse in front of her, getting her to nurse in another position is almost impossible. She did give me some triple nipple cream and hydro-gel pads and suggested I see my doctor if the wounds hadn't healed in a week. A few days later, my daughter went on a 12 hour nursing strike and after that, her latch was basically back to normal. I waited a few weeks to see if I would heal and then went to my doctor. She told me she was going to do everything she can to get them healed, but if it didn't work, that it may be my body telling me it is time to wean. She was worried that it could cause permanent damage and didn't want me to not be able to breastfeed future children. She prescribed an a topical antibiotic, a topical anti-fungal, and an oral antibiotic and told me to come back in two weeks. I am one week in and I don't think they are going to heal in time! The cracks look a lot better at this point and there is very little pain (usually just when she is latching on), the inflammation is gone, no puss or anything, but they aren't closing up. The problem is that every time they start to close, my daughter will latch on a little two aggressively, or suck too hard once or twice, and they are back open. Neither my daughter or I are anywhere near ready to ween. She still nurses at least 7 times a day and breastmilk makes up the majority of her food intake. Has anyone else gone through this or have any advice? Ever heard of this causing permanent damage?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    Well, I don't have a toddler, but as a newborn, my son's latch was causing me horrible cracks right where the nipple meets the areola. I tried soaking the nipples in salt water, coconut oil, soaking in apple cider vinegar (since I didn't know if it was thrush or not), lanolin, hydrogel pads, letting them air dry, not letting them dry out, you name it. Honestly the only thing that made a serious difference was the hydrogel pads, although the salt water baths before nursing was helpful too (maybe your older LO will actually have the patience for this that a newborn does not). The lanolin and vinegar didn't help at all. Another mama on here finally got hers to heal using the coconut oil. (It should be pure extra virgin, not refined-- I use this. You'll smell like coconut .)
    I think the fact that your cracks are starting to look better is a good sign, it took a couple weeks for mine to really close entirely up, but after the first week or so I was seeing enough of a change to have hope. I scar easily, so I have a little scarring but no permanent damage making breastfeeding impossible. If you don't want to wean, I'd say give it a bit longer to heal, and if you're still in agony then reconsider. For us it wasn't an option, I bit a towel or my shirt and tried not to scream until they finally healed up.
    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    I really, really hate it when a doc says "Your body must be telling you that it's time to wean" instead of admitting that he/she doesn't understand what's going on and doesn't know how to fix it!!!

    It's very, very, very unlikely that this will cause permanent damage. A small scar, perhaps. But permanent damage that will prevent you from nursing future babies? No. I don't think so. Otherwise I doubt I'd have been able to nurse my second child. I nursed on deep cracks for nearly 5 months with my first, and they healed without scarring or any permanent damage.

    If your cracks are closing up, that's a great sign that this isn't going to be a problem forever. Finish the antibiotic and antifungal, keep using the hydrogels and try the PP's coconut oil suggestion. Also, try varying your nursing position. If your baby's teeth are consistently landing in the same place, it may perpetuate the damage. It is normal for the cracks to reopen when you nurse, but as long as the general trend is towards healing I think you can ultimately expect complete recovery.

    You're awesome for continuing on despite bad cracks!
    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
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    WTG nursing thru the pain and the cracks! Just casue a doc says something doesnt mean A. its true, B. you have to listen, and C. they have any ide what they are talking about...lol. My pedi told me to cease BF and give formula to my DD as a newborn casue she lost a ton of weight. I said, OK!!! Went home got a pump, and continued to nurse, and the kid still nurses today at 3. Sometimes you just have to say, "Sure doc!" and get out of the office.

    When DD got her top 2 teeth in, nursing for many months HURT. She wasnt biting at all, just the teeth touching my nipple casued irritation and little indents in the nipple after every nursing session. This went on for quite a while, I guess until I got desensitized to it casue it doesnt hurt anymore, but she still leaves teeth marks when she is done nursing!

    Hang in there, it doesnt sound like you or your LO are ready to wean anytime soon. If doc hounds you, you can say, "sure Doc we are working on weaning!" and leave it at that.

    good luck
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    I don't think they are going to heal in time!
    in rtime for who? Weaning was a suggestion by your doctor, one you re obviously uncomfortable with. It sounds like your cracks are healing and every body heals at their own pace. Putting your healing duration on an arbitrary “or else” deadline is unnecessary and probably not what your doctor intended.

    Doctors, often very good doctors, tell moms to wean for all sorts of reasons, almost always, unnecessarily. Personally I have never heard of a mom whose nipples were so damaged by nursing she could not nurse subsequent children, but I do not like to contradict your doctors thoughts on this, it is just something I have never heard of and I try to know what I do not know iykwim. Can you seek a second opinion, maybe from an IBCLC?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,710

    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    Wow, this is a prime example of what we were discussing in another thread, where the expertise falls through the cracks. Your family doctor is very unlikely to have much expertise with this kind of thing. I think it's horrifying that a doctor would tell their patient that something like this is her body's way of telling her to wean, especially at 14 months. That's just putting her own preconceptions in place of an actual medical opinion.

    I have no knowledge of whether significant damage could hinder your ability to nurse future children, but I'm definitely skeptical of the idea, and certainly in your position would not trust this particular doctor to know. I agree about getting a second opinion! What expert to get it from is a bit of mystery to me though! In my area, there is a breastfeeding clinic associated with the hospital - that's probably where I would try to go in your shoes. Alternatively try another IBCLC as LLLMeg suggests, or can you get a recommendation about a doctor in your area who is known to be knowledgeable about breastfeeding and supportive of nursing past a year (maybe an OB?).

    Kudos to you for sticking with it through the pain - hopefully things will get easier soon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    when I hear hoof beats, I think horses.

    I think your symptoms are an indication of thrush.
    Your DD probably has a sub-clinical case.
    thrush is common for mom's nursing toddlers.
    treat the thrush and stay the course!
    DD#1 July 1986 VB
    DD#2 April 1988 c/sec
    DS#3 April 1990 VBAC
    DS#4 June 1993 VB
    and suprise!
    DD#5 April 2001 c/sec
    BTDT scars and stretchmarks,: wrinkles and grey hair

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    As a surgeon (who doesn't know any more about breast feeding than I've learned here over the last 4 years) who does a lot with wound healing, I think the idea that you could cracks that would impair your future ability to nurse, is in a word, hogwash. The nipples have a wonderful blood supply and nerve supply (hence why life can be so tough when they are damaged). If things are looking good after a week, I'd continue what you were doing, and not stop nursing. As long as you are making slow progress (I define that as often being 2 steps forward, one step back) I wouldn't worry. Wound healing takes time, especially when there's re-injury. But that doesn't mean you aren't making progress, and that things won't get better. Hang in there, but ignore that doctor.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    1,949

    Default Re: Doctor says cracks that won't heal = time to wean

    I am wondering how things are going for the OP. Pleaase update when you can!

    Hope that the pain is gone
    Mommy of 4,
    3 who I watch over, 1 who watches over all of us

    J- 8/20/05 pumped breastmilk for 11 months due to his cleft lip and palate!

    M- 10/17/07 my precious baby lives forever in her mommys heart

    M- 3/31/09 my special gift, she helps heal her mommy and daddys heart. Nursed for 4 years and 10 days, self weaned the day her baby brother was born!

    E-, new little miracle born 4/11/13, my BIG baby! Born 8.6 at 38 weeks. At 9 weeks nearly 17lbs, at 12 weeks nearly 20lbs, at 6 months nearly 23lbs, at 8 months nearly 25lbs and all from BREASTMILK


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