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Thread: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    39

    Question Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Hi there, I'm new around here and am hoping others have had a similar experience. My baby is 2.5 weeks old and has been a great nurser from the beginning, and has been gaining weight beautifully. The hospital where I gave birth is very supportive of breastfeeding and I've been lucky to have guidance from day 1. Whether because of tongue-tie (which we're hopefully going to take care of this week) or the learning curve on getting a good latch, my nipples have been pretty seriously injured. They are both bloody and deeply cracked.

    After consulting with my awesome LC, I started applying a little bacitracin to them as well as using lanolin, gel pads, and salt-water soaks. For the past 24 hours or so I've been pumping using a Medela Pump in Style. So far, so good, but I'm terrified to jeopordize my milk supply and I miss breastfeeding so much. I know that through a good latch it's possible to heal, but after having open wounds for over a week and tons of pain all the time, I started wincing even thinking of putting him to the breast. He sometimes wants to nurse constantly for several hours and the pain was unbearable.

    Anyone have experience with a situation like this? Any tips, advice, or just encouragement is most welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    NW OH
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    3,473

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    In my experience with a cracked nipple, pumping made it worse! Every time I pumped it would bleed, and become more sore. It did not heal as fast as I think it should have. Same thing happened when my son bit me and I bled. I thought pumping would help but it didnt.
    I held in the cries of pain while nursing on that side, but once I was back to nursing it healed in just a few days. I say keep nursing-I know it is painful, but it will get better!!
    I was even told that letting some expressed milk air dry on your nipples helps a lot too!


    I'm Heather, SAHM to Cooper , born 1/2007
    and Bennett, our precious NICU grad born 8/2009
    and wife to Bill since 10/2003!
    We're young, but we know we can do it!
    Life with the Stevens-blog

    I'm an Ergo Baby Carrier affiliate!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    33

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Boy howdy, can I relate. The first two months of nursing my 5 month old was spent dealing with a badly cracked nip. Ouch!

    In addition to letting a drop of breastmilk dry on the nipple itself, be sure to eat plenty of protein and REST! You will heal faster - in all ways - if you take care of yourself. That Lansinoh is a lifesaver, too.

    Good for you for not giving up. I promise, it will heal eventually.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,799

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    I was in a similar situation when my daughter was tiny. Deeply cracked nipples, extreme pain, and in addition my daughter wasn't gaining weight. (Her latch was so bad that she couldn't transfer milk effectively, leading to a lowered supply.)

    My LC suggested taking a few days off and pumping so that I could heal. When things were really awful I did take a day off here and there in order to pump exclusively, though I always nursed at night. I think that by keeping my daughter on the breast for some feedings, it was easier to avoid nipple confusion.

    I hope you can hang in there during these tough early days/weeks. Hopefully once your baby's tongue-tie is fixed, all will be well. Big !

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    39

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Thanks, everyone! I did end up getting a prescription-strength cream (safe to use while nursing/pumping) and am starting to heal a bit faster. I am really hoping to be able to nurse again tomorrow. Fingers crossed...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    16

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Quote Originally Posted by gozal View Post
    Thanks, everyone! I did end up getting a prescription-strength cream (safe to use while nursing/pumping) and am starting to heal a bit faster. I am really hoping to be able to nurse again tomorrow. Fingers crossed...
    How is it going?
    I didn't get a chance to respond but with my last child I had the same issues and took 2 days "off" to pump so I could heal. It worked great, didn't affect my supply and my dd latched right back on after those 2 days and didn't skip a beat. You have to do what you have to do sometimes.

    I sure hope things are going well today with nursing! Let us know.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Good news! We got a great latch this morning - I pumped just a little and fed him a bit first so he wasn't starving, and then put him on the faster-healing side, After a few initial minutes when I was afraid he had forgotten how to latch, he opened wide and got a totally pain-free latch. I am ecstatic! He really seemed to love it too. I'm going to the same this evening. I'm still nervous about those "fussy feeds" when he latches on and off, so I'm going slowly, but I think we can do this! So far, my milk supply has kept up with the baby's needs, thank goodness.

    Thanks again for all the support!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    Quote Originally Posted by gozal View Post
    Good news! We got a great latch this morning - I pumped just a little and fed him a bit first so he wasn't starving, and then put him on the faster-healing side, After a few initial minutes when I was afraid he had forgotten how to latch, he opened wide and got a totally pain-free latch. I am ecstatic! He really seemed to love it too. I'm going to the same this evening. I'm still nervous about those "fussy feeds" when he latches on and off, so I'm going slowly, but I think we can do this! So far, my milk supply has kept up with the baby's needs, thank goodness.

    Thanks again for all the support!!
    Great news!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    39

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    I figured I would keep updating because, well, it is a good encouragement to me and I hope in just a little bit this will be a "success story" for others encountering similar problems...

    Well, yesterday I was alone with the baby all day and just wasn't able to pump very much, because I need two hands to do it and my baby only naps once during the day deeply enough for me to lay him down. I cried as I fed him his first bottle of formula, while leaking all over shirt #4. Four shirts soaked, hopefully that says something good for my supply. I am still healing, and though things are improving, I'm still a ways from comfortable nursing (even with a good latch, I realized the nipple was a lot more sensitive after). But, I am determined. We have a consultation with a pediatric oral surgeon on Tuesday and once the tongue-tie is fixed and I am healed, I really hope with on-demand nursing my supply can re-adjust to his need. I do have help today and so far, lots of breastmilk for him today.

    Thanks for listening, everyone!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    39

    Default Re: Pumping while my nipples heal - nervous!

    I just wanted to update with my happy ending - we have been back to almost exclusively breastfeeding for a month now, since my baby has decided to refuse both bottle and pacifier! Supply seems fine (he is growing very well - 95th percentile - though still eating about 10x per day), and with his tongue-tie corrected (finally, at 6 weeks) I am really healing. I still sort of can't believe this worked out so well, which of course I remind myself on those long nights of frequent wakings when I am the only one who can feed him...

    Anyway, I just wanted to share a positive story for any other mamas struggling with severely hurt nipples - even going on the bottle at 2 1/2 weeks, even supplementing briefly with formula, I am now the happy mom of an 8-week-old baby who loves to nurse and is thriving solely on breastfeeding!!

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