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Thread: Nipple Damage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Nipple Damage

    I'm trying to continue breastfeeding my 9 day old son despite cracked and sore nipples. I saw a LC several days ago and she was able to give me some great tips, but sometimes when the latch is bad and mommy's especially tired I'll just let him feed. Lansinoh seems to help but not that much. We've already introduced the bottle to help feed him when the nipples are especially sore and I'm thinking of switching to formula out of desperation. Has anyone experienced a similar situation? How did you manage the pain and avoid infection?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Nipple Damage

    You really need to make sure you have a good latch. If you do (once your nipples heal) you should not have any pain. Until your nipples heal, as well as the cream, some women use nipple shields. Please discuss this with your LC before using the shield. It may help as a last resort, though.

    When you do feed with the bottle, are you using expressed bm or formula? It is not a good idea to introduce formula when you are establishing your supply.

    The first several weeks of bf are hard. But you will look back and appreciate that you made it through the rough times because it does get better and easier and is a great experience! Hang in there
    Mom to Lainey (11-8-06)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Nipple Damage

    When my daughter was a newborn, I was where you are now. Horribly cracked nipples, thinking of switching to formula, and low milk supply on top of everything else (My daughter's latch was so bad that she couldn't empty the breast effectively, leading to low production). 19 months later, she is still nursing, and I'm really glad I hung in there.

    I saw 2 LCs, and both gave me different tips to help me improve my latch, keep my daughter on the breast, deal with the pain, and avoid infection. Here's what I remember:

    1. Fix the latch. Do your best to have a perfect latch every time. If there is one particular position that works well for you, use it every time, even if it seems weird to you. Other positions will come in time. Get as much breast into the baby's mouth as possible every time. One LC suggested a technique she called "areola sandwich." If you're biting into a big, fat hoagie, and you want to get as much as possible into your mouth, you do it by compressing the hoagie into a flatter shape, right? Same with the breast. Try compressing your breast behind the areola so that the areola's shape flattens from round to oval. Align the long axis of the oval with the long axis of the baby's mouth, and latch her on.

    2. Moisture. Put some Lansinoh or expressed milk on your nipples between feedings to keep the crakcs moist and supple. A lot of the initial pain of latching comes from the scabbed cracks reopening, so try soaking your nipples with a warm wet towel or immersing them for several minutes in a shot glass of warm water before nursing to soften the scabs.

    3. Staving off infection. My LC suggested using a pea-sized amount of Bacitracin mixed with 1% Hydrocortisone cream to reduce infection and inflammation.

    4. Pumping. If you can't take the pain anymore, you can take some time off of nursing, so long as you pump to maintain your supply, and are careful to keep your baby at the breast for some feeds in order to avoid nipple confusion. A good pump (hospital-grade) is invaluable if you decide you need a break. A LC can rent one to you- mine cost $2 a day, which is cheaper than formula.

    5. Hang in there! Your baby will grow, and her mouth will grow, and you will heal. You WILL NOT have cracked nipples forever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Re: Nipple Damage

    First off, you deserve a hug. I know what you're going through. I too had a lot of pain at first and a bad latch, which caused the cracking, etc. My ds has a very lazy lower lip that I had to control at virtually every feeding.

    As per the pp, a good latch is vital at this stage. Even though you're very tired, you need to get your lo to latch one correctly. If you continue with a bad latch, you'll continue the pain and will have a very difficult one correcting your lo once he is older. It really is the idea of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

    As for the sore nipples, olive oil is a great product. It moistures the nipple, and it doesn't have to be removed before feeding. It gives the baby some fat, and I think that it helps with latching because of slickness/smoothness that it promotes.

    If you are worried about infection, you can use neosporin on the cracks, etc., but you HAVE to wipe it off BEFORE feeding your little one. Just use a burp cloth and gently wipe it off before allowing him to latch. Also, there are Comfort Gel Pads made by Ameda. These are circular gel pads that you put against your nipple between feedings. They have a cooling effect on the skin and feel great. Check with a local lactation center or LLL group to find out where to get them.

    Just remember...you are doing a great job, and it does get easier.

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