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Thread: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Unhappy Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I am on my third day of nursing my 4th child. I have always wanted to try to nurse but have the same problem. I have read, researched and had a La Leche person come to my house with my second child. I thought I would try again with this baby. I am so frustrated that I can't figure this out. It doesn't seem like it should be so complicated. I have been nursing her doing the cradle hold which seems to be the easiest for me. I have checked her lips, her tongue, held her chin down upon latching. Everthing looks fine. Could their be something wrong with my nipples. I am fair skinned, I have heard that maybe that I could be more sensitive. My skin tends to be on the dry side. I have been using the lanolin. Nothing helps. Today when they started to bleed. I got my pump out and started that. I thought I would give myself a break till I could figure out what to do. Is their anyone that might have a similar problem. It seems everyone I know who nurses never experience the pain that I do, and do it so effortlessly. The pain is like be stabbed over and over. I can never seem to get past this point. I always end up going to the bottle. Any thoughts would be helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    463

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    Have you checked your baby for thrush? I know my nipples were cracked and bleeding with my first child and thrush was the culprit. Also, I was never told about the lanolin with her, and with my second I used it faithfully after every nursing, and it was a life-saver...I would check for thrush though, if there are white patches in her mouth or on her tongue, that could be it. Hope this helps at least a little bit! Hang in there, I know how horrible it is to be that sore, but there has to be something that can help!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    Oh, ouch! Nipple pain is horrible! I'm glad you posted here -- you'll find MANY moms who have had cracked bleeding nipples ... and many who will tell you that they got past it and went on to have a happy nursing relationship. So I hope you'll get lots of encouragement to persevere.

    Your breasts are designed to be sucked on vigorously by a hungry newborn, so I doubt there is anything inherently wrong with your nipples. This kind of nipple trauma is almost always caused by problems with latch and/or positioning. This is precisely the problem that is hardest to fix via a messageboard, as it really needs a face-to-face, hands-on evaluation by someone trained in lactation.

    I urge you to contact a local IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant) and set up an appointment to see her ASAP. You should also contact your local LLL Leaders -- someone may have seen your second baby, but this is a different baby and there may also be different Leaders active in your area now, so it is well worth trying. Many Leaders make home visits, or you can get help from them at or following a group meeting.

    Good luck and try not to get discouraged. Breastfeeding is a learned process -- it doesn't just come naturally to most of us. Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    140

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I second the thought of getting someone over to help and make sure that the latch is really correct. And make sure you are using the lansinoh at all times, after nursing, before showers, etc. It was the only thing that got me through my really bad nipple cracking. But I also remember in the first few weeks of breastfeeding having my positioning correct (had lactation consultant view) and not having thrush and still having to brace myself every time I sat down to nurse. But that passed with a short time, maybe that is what is happening to you?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    44

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I had the same problem and did eventually supplement because the pain was real bad. I had his latch checked out over and over again and they said it was fine. I just think some of us have more sensitive and dry skin. My son also nursed continuosly--maybe 30 minutes of free time in between. After my nipples healed I was able to go back to full time nursing without much problems until my son got a bit older and decided to wrestle while nursing and biting but you don't have to worry about that--one hurdle at a time and not all babies wrestle and bite. If you really want to continue nursing it does become mostly painless if you presevere. Best of luck to you. I still remember my legs in the air, biting my lip in pain everytime he nursed in the beginning but once you heal the pain ends, believe me. Continue to use the lanolin at least for a few months--it does help you heal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    190

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I'm new to nursing myself, (and also suffered cracked and bleeding nipples, although we're passed that now) so I don't have much to offer on the knowledge side of things.. BUT, I just wanted to say that I use the Gerber "Breast Therapy" because I'm allergic to lanolin, and I LOVE it!! I don't know how I would have survived without it.

    A lot of things I've read have said to stay away from anything petroleum based (which this is) but I simply had no choice, but I don't regret it at all. I also got the Gerber therapy pads, which are a cooling gel pad. I put the breast therapy on, then put the pads on (between feedings) and I coped that way. I also tried icing my nipples to the point of them being numb so that I could get her latched on without crying. It served a two-fold purpose; I couldn't feel the pain, and it made my nipples erect, which helped her learn to open wide.

    It does pass, but boy oh boy, I wasn't sure (at the time) how I was going to get passed it. Hang in there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    435

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    Oh my goodness - i have been in your shoes.

    I used Nipple Shields - and WHAT A HUGE DIFFERENCE! They gave my nipples a chance to heal and baby latched fine.

    Next the lansolin cream and i were best friends. My dr also reccomended Shark Fin Oil - all helped.

    Also, try changing the hold and way they latch - each time you nurse. I found when I changed it up everytinme the same spot wasn;t being abused.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,108

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    The nipple pain is excruciating! I sometimes think it's worse than the crowning. I'm also fair skinned and even though I've been at it for 10 1/2 weeks, my nipples are still pink and I'm told they'll likely remain that way. But they are less sensitive than in the beginning, which helps. I know how hard it is to keep going when you start to dread the feedings. I simply never considered formula an option. When it got bad, I did find that it helped to pump for a feeding here and there and give him the milk in the bottle. It gave my nipples a bit of a break. I also iced them for a few minutes before a feeding and took some tylenol or ibeprufen about 20min before feeding him. Even better, the codine they gave me for my lacerations was very helpful.

    It's frustrating when you hear people say they haven't had ANY nursing pain. I'm not sure I believe that's possible unless they have nipples of steel. And then you have to feel sorry for them because there are a few situations in which sensitivity is nice. Try to be patient - I know it's hard - but it's only the beginning. And you're still recovering from delivery, which I think makes the nipple pain that much harder to bear. It was all harder than I imagined, but it really did get better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    8,591

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I had cracked and bleeding nipples--so bad that when I pumped one time I got almost and ounce of blood/colostrum mixture (yuck!)! I too find it hard to believe that there could be no pain in the beginning--its a part of the body that rarely receives that much touch! I ended up using a nipple sheild too, not for the pain but because we went to a bottle when I got engorged and had a rough time getting dd back to the breast. But it helped the soreness too and we got her back to the breast full time and then slowly removed the shield. She has been sheild free for 2.5 months now and goes back and forth from breast to bottle just fine. Make sure if you do get a shield to get the kind that won't affect supply (I believe that means you need to get silicone, but if someone could second that would be great!!! I know Medela makes a kind that is supply-safe)

    Anyway...good luck, and really, if you stick it out it will be pain free at some point.

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
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    January Miles: 37.5/75
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    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    11

    Default Re: Help - bleeding cracked nipples

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but it will get better! The best advice I ever received and what I give is, Just Give It Two Weeks. If you're sure (or possibly have an LC come to also make sure) that baby is properly latched, give it two weeks. It will get better and by the time you are at the "magic two weeks," you will feel so much more confident.

    I emphasize, though, to make sure baby is latched properly for the "magic two week rule," to work. My Ds was not, and we had a miserable three weeks, got help, and then two weeks later it was a different world. WIth my Dd, she was latched properly but I did have some discomfort and voila, agian, the magic two week rule proved true.

    Good luck to you.

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