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Thread: Cracked nipple that won't heal

  1. #1

    Default Cracked nipple that won't heal

    I have an 8 week old who is breastfeeding... and I'm having trouble with a nipple injury. Here's what's happened so far:

    During the first week or two, I had some troubles with my nipples sticking to my bra and tearing the tissue. Over time this torn tissue developed into a crack in the nipple on my left side.

    At about week 2, I had a lactation nurse evaluate the sore nipple, and she had me adjust how I was latching the baby slightly, and I've been doing it as she suggested since then.

    At week 6 the crack was still there and very tender. I had the nurse practictioner at my OBGYN take a look and she prescribed anti-bac and anti-fungal creams and had me apply those with lanolin 4x/day (there were no sure signs that there was a fungal infection, but because of the inflamation she suggested coming at it from all directions), use breast shells to protect the skin from my clothes and rest the left side by pumping and giving that milk to the baby with a bottle.

    After 2 weeks of pumping the left side, there is still a crack on my left side. The sore/tenderness has gone away and it doesn't hurt. Redness has gone away. Crack has closed some, starting in the deeper layers. But the crack is still half way open. I have tried letting the baby nurse on this side and it doesn't hurt. But it is clearly not all the way healed and I'm afraid that it could easily break back open.

    Any suggestions on getting this healed?

    I feel almost as if I need something like a butterfly used on a deep would, but don't know what I could use on the delicate skin. The two edges of the crack aren't touching, and the fuller my breast gets, the more it pulls the crack apart. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    btw... I have read that cracking is a latching problem... but I am not convinced. We are nursing on my right side with no problems. Maybe I had a latching issue early on, but now it seems to be more of a healing problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,599

    Default Re: Cracked nipple that won't heal

    Cracking can be a latching problem, and latch problems can affect only one side, or can affect one side more than the other. But cracking can also be a pumping problem, or an infection problem, or a combination of pumping, latching, and infection problems. It can be tough to tease out the root cause of a crack!

    Since you had redness associated with the crack, and because the crack has closed some and the redness has disappears since you started the combination antifungal--antibacterial cream, I'm thinking that infection is a good explanation for at least some of the cracking. The fact that nursing doesn't hurt also suggests that this is an infection problem rather than a latch problem.

    Are you experiencing any of the following:
    - burning or itching sensations, particularly in between nursing or pumping sessions
    - nipples appearing more red or pink than normal
    - flaking or dry-appearing skin in the breast or nipple area
    - a vaginal yeast infection (you) or oral thrush or diaper yeast rash (baby)
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