Re: Cracked Nipple, Plugged Duct(s?), and Latch Issues, Oh M
Ouch, I am so sorry about the crack! Been there, done that, and I know just how painful it is and how you really have to psych yourself up to attempt a latch on a badly cracked nipple. It's like voluntarily sticking your finger in an electrical socket over...and over...and over...again.
So at this point, I think you should go and see your doctor or midwife and get a prescription for antibiotics. The plug, redness, pain, and fever all suggest that you have mastitis, which is more common when there is a crack in the nipple, providing a convenient pathway for bacteria to get into the breast.
Meanwhile, nurse on that side as much as possible, hand express, use cool compresses to treat the pain, and go braless for a while. If your baby is doing a poor job of emptying that breast, it would be great if you could find some way to get the milk out. Hand expression, pumping, nursing an older child or even your partner... Some moms with soft, flexible breasts and long necks can even self-nurse- believe it or not, that's how I once beat a case of mastitis.
I would also want to treat that nipple crack with something other than lanolin. My LC recommended a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment. The hydrocortisone fights inflammation and pain, the Bacitracin is for infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean fingertip.
Another thing that can help with the latch-on fear is to hydrate the crack before nursing. Scabs tear open more painfully when dry and hard. So get a shot glass and fill it with warm water. immerse the nipple in the glass and bring it up to the skin so that it forms a seal, and then hold it there for 39-60 seconds. A soaked washcloth can also work.
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!"