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Thread: Nipples in shreds at 18 months (sorry, long..)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Nipples in shreds at 18 months (sorry, long..)

    Hello all, I've never posted here before.. I've found lots of useful info browsing the forums but I've got a problem I can't seem to solve by browsing.. hope you can help!

    I'm bf my 18 month old. Apart from a tongue tie that he had cut at 7 weeks, nursing was wonderful for the first year. He has a very high palate and upper lip tie too but they didn't cause us problems, though I've always been aware that his latch is a bit shallow. He was a late teether - first four teeth appeared together at 9/10 months and didn't cause any problems.

    Then during the second bout of teething in May (around 13 months) my right nipple started getting a irritated. A dry, red patch spread out gradually from the nipple, over a month or two - like dermatitis/eczema. At that point it wasn't painful, just a bit irritated/itchy at times. I put it down to the teething and moisturised with coconut oil. On advice from my LLL group, I tried getting LO to latch a bit deeper/different positions etc but I was a bit half-hearted - I guess because at that point it wasn't painful.

    The irritation spread till it covered a large part of the right areola. In July I went to my GP - she said she didn't think it was fungal or bacterial.

    She said if it didn't go away after a week of intensive moisturising she'd send me to the breast clinic to rule out Paget's disease (rare breast cancer that looks like nipple eczema on one nipple only.) Breast clinic doctors discharged me saying it definitely wasn't Paget's but they had no idea what it was. (They were also a bit about me "still" bf at 16mo.. whatever! I ignored that "advice".)

    Meanwhile the nipple got worse. In August I developed cracks a couple of times - agony!! Used lanolin for "moist wound healing" and continued with the coconut oil.

    In Sept, GP prescribed a steroid cream which I was reluctant to use, but it did work wonders, totally took away the irritation... for a day or two I thought I was cured! But it came back with avengence - I guess because the steroid cream is treating the symptom but if the cause is the shallow latch, it's going to keep coming back.. ?

    Now it's worse than ever - the whole areola is dry, inflamed, crusty & really sore - AND the left nipple is starting to get inflamed

    I'm beginning to suspect I (we) may have picked up thrush along the way (maybe due to the cracked nipple?) because I'm now getting shooting pains during and after nursing - in both breasts - that I never got before. So I will go back to doc and see about that. (I've also heard probiotics are good for thrush - any advice?)

    But I think the underlying dermatits-like issue wasn't thrush to begin with.. so my main question is.. Has anyone else had an experience like this with a high-palate toothy toddler? What helped?

    How can I get LO to latch more deeply? I can kind of do it when he's awake but when he's asleep the latch is shallow as heck, and it's agony. It feels like his teeth are rubbing against the nipple.

    Weaning is definitely not an option. Any tips on how to get back to enjoyable pain-free nursing?! Please and thank you so much!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Nipples in shreds at 18 months (sorry, long..)

    that sounds really tough. I wish I had advice for you but I'm sure someone on here will.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Nipples in shreds at 18 months (sorry, long..)

    I'm going to preface this by saying that these may or may not work. I used them to great effect when I had deep cuts on both nipples after being bitten twice. I later did the same thing when faced with an eczema-like response to thrush (my 4th bout), and the irritation cleared up within a week.

    1. With the cuts, I had an acute injury on each areola, so I nursed DS exclusively in a backwards side-lying position (we simply had our heads pointing in opposite directions while lying facing each other). Nursing in the same position was causing repeat trauma to the injured areas. So, step 1, reevaluate your positioning. A larger toddler often requires adjusents--or an outright new position.

    2. Saline washes after nursing, and a gentle pat dry. I dissolved 1 tsp of table salt in warm water and used that for the day.

    3. Jack Newman's APNO, applied sparingly after each feeding. Most pharmacists can compound the ointment. I've attached it's formula below.


    4. Expose the wounds to air as much as possible. I spent several hours each day at home topless to help the wounds dry and heal.

    As an aside, I'm appalled that so-called breast specialists would deter breastfeeding at 16 months. I guess they haven't read the literature on extended breastfeeding and lower breast cancer rates. Shameful.

    Hope these tactics are of some help! Remember, if you suspect thrush, it's important that you and your LO be treated concurrently to prevent recolonizing each other.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Nipples in shreds at 18 months (sorry, long..)

    with the PP.

    Have you considered seeing a dermatologist?

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