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Thread: Help -- Nipple Creasing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Hi -- new dad here (our daughter is 10 days old).

    My wife is having a lot of difficulty breastfeeding. Supply is not an issue -- she's able to pump 3-4 oz of milk when she uses the Medela pump on both breasts.

    Her nipples have become very, very sore and she's experienced deep 'creases' in each nipple -- the baby's suction causes a sort of a line / fold that becomes very painful and often raw. We've seen our lactation consultant twice now to work on getting a good latch and are definitely using all the tricks they showed us -- switching to football hold, trying for a deep latch etc.

    Still, no luck and my wife is at her wit's end -- she's extremely nervous before every feeding and I can see the tension. Horribly sore and raw.

    One thing we're wondering is if my wife is overendowed -- she was a 34 D with large nipples prior to pregnancy and is even larger now. Her nipple seems to us like it may be too big to get sufficiently deep in our daughter's little mouth. Our lactation consultant had us put 3 tea bags into a 4 oz cup of water and apply that after feedings in hope of healing from the 'inside out' but she's still extremely sore. At this point only one of her nipples is 'feedable,' the other literally makes her cry and scream in pain (as much or more than labor did) so we pump that breast and give 3-4 oz bottles of breast milk when she's between feedings.

    Any experience with nipple creasing or advice is much appreciated. Thanks to all in advance for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Congrats on your daughter, and way to go dad for trying to help out mom. If only all women were as lucky as your wife to have such a caring and helpful husband!


    Hmmm... I'm not sure I completely understand...

    So you mean that her nipple is folded up or to the side and pointing that way, instead of straight ahead (note nipples don't always point "straight" straight ahead, but generally forward).

    If that's the case I used to have that happen from my bras in the beginning. My breasts were just so heavy and full of milk that they'd kind of sag, even in the bras I had. I often got clogged ducts as a result of it (or clogged nipple pores).

    If the baby is causing this, I would guess the latch isn't quite right. Unfortunately I'm an exclusive pumper (my daughter refuses to latch and just screams if you put her near a naked breast for more than a few minutes). so I can only guess... perhaps her tongue's not down when the nipple is in her mouth? Is the crease on the bottom or the top of the nipple? Or is it sideways?

    Now if by crease you mean like a little valley - like in her nipple (it's so hard to explain -- basically, the little bits of the nipple separate some and you can see between) then all I can guess on that is that she needs time to heal. Has she tried lanolin creme? Lanolin's great stuff -- I use it when my pump makes my nipples very tender. The great thing about lanolin is you don't need much to do the job, and it's safe for baby, so you don't have to wipe it off before feeding.

    Unfortunately without seeing what you're describing I can only guess. I hope I've been helpful.
    Momma to K 05/24/07 (due 05/31/07)
    Momma to I, 06/04/10 VBAC'd (due 05/31/10). Read about it here

    Exclusive Pumper to first for 18 months.
    I got my VBAC!

    Struggling with nursing but one way or another breast milk is all they get.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    I *think* I know what you are talking about. When my lo was newborn after feeding there would be a line across the middle of the nipple that kinda blistered up and started to bleed after a bit. It was very painful. See what your lactation consultant says about nipple shields. My lo also had a very little mouth and no matter what I tried I could not get a proper latch which is what caused all the pain for me. I used a nipple shield for the first few months before he could latch on correctly. He latched onto it right away and it totally eliminated the pain for me. It's worth a shot though, they sell them at target and stores like that. I have to warn you some think using the shield can decrease your supply but it never seemed to affect mine. Also it can be hard to wean from using it the longer you use it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    833

    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Congratulations on your new baby!!! Your wife sounds like she's got some of the same problems going on that I had in the beginning.

    Here is my absolute best link on nipple pain.

    Sore Nipples

    How the baby is latched on is extremely important, as it explains in that link. Also make sure to check out the part about breast compressions, that can help shorten feedings sometimes.

    There's a good graphic here that shows a baby latching. You will notice that the baby in the graphic is covering more of the areola with her bottom lip than her top lip. This is called an asymmetrical latch, and according to breastfeeding expert Dr. Jack Newman:

    In this [asymmetrical] position, [baby] can get his lower jaw under the milk sinuses and extract milk from the breast in a more efficient manner. ---from "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers pg 55
    If the baby has latched on well:

    --he will cover more of the areola with his lower lip than his upper lip.
    --his lips will be turned outward.
    --his chin, but not his nose, will be touching your breast.
    --his body will be slightly rotated upward so that he is looking at you. -- pg 58
    There are video clips on Dr. Newman's website that you and your wife can watch.

    I also wanted to mention that there is a product called Soothies that I found very useful for short-term relief. They are sold at some Target stores or Babies R Us, fairly pricely at $12 a pair but you can reuse them for 3 days. They're sort of like gel patches, and I LOVED them. Of course still get the latch right, it's always better to prevent than treat. Oh and I also took ibuprofen.

    I definitely encourage you to reach out and get more help. Looking at these links will hopefully help, but there's no replacing skilled, real-life breastfeeding help. I know you've already seen someone, but keep reaching out if things don't get better soon.

    Hope that helps, again congrats!!!!!
    Erin (32), breastfeeding CLW, knitting cloth-diapering crocheting, heirloom tomato-growing philosophizing poker-playing feminist artist mama to my 19 month old daughter! Baby #2 due January 2009.


  5. #5
    Clare's Mum is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    I know exactly what you mean what you say nipple creasing! I had the same problem when my LO was born. The only way I can explain it is, it looks like your nipple is unfolding like an accordian. Does that sound right? I was a new mom and I was really worried that my daughter was going to suck the tip of my nipple right off It was very painful, but I expressed some breastmilk after she was finished eating and let in dry on the crack. This seemed to help it heal. I think it was because she had a shallow latch and a tiny mouth. With some practice and as her mouth grew I healed fine but the crease is still there, it just doesn't hurt anymore. I know that this can be a overwhelming time but it does get better, so much better. I love my breastfeeding relationship my daughter and I share. Hang in there I know you both can do it.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Your wife's situation sounds nearly identical to mine! I literally read your post out loud to my husband and we both stared at each other in disbelief! I wish I had a good answer for you but I am still dealing with the problem with one breast. My baby is now several weeks old. Initially, we had the same problem with creasing on one nipple and it KILLED. I cried so many times and saw multiple lactation consultants. We tried the nipple shield, feeding devices, and a few bottles. At the end, the advice was to just wait for baby to grow bigger and hopefully, his mouth would be able to accommodate my larger nipple. Well, it's been several weeks and while the pain is somewhat better, it still is there and recently has gotten worse (and I am still trying to figure out why). Do try either lots of lanolin on the sore breast or the hydrogel pads (Soothies or Comfortgels). Do let me know if you find out how to surmount this problem as I'd love to hear how!

  7. #7
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcernedDad View Post
    Hi -- new dad here (our daughter is 10 days old).

    My wife is having a lot of difficulty breastfeeding. Supply is not an issue -- she's able to pump 3-4 oz of milk when she uses the Medela pump on both breasts.
    .
    Hi concerned dad, I dont have any advice, but from one new dad to another hi!. Our daughter was born 17 days ago and Im doing the best I can to support my wife and new daughter as well.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    You'll find so much help on this site!

    So glad you are supporting your wife! I couldn't have come this far without the same support from my husband...

    I've read all the previous posts and agree - lots of lanolin, fresh air, and breastmilk on the nipple to help it recover. Be sure to check out Dr. Jack Newman's stuff, full of good info and visuals!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    I am so sorry to hear the problems your wife is having but go you for being such a supportive husband and dad!
    I have/had some of the same issues. I am doing my best to keep things going while we are working through our issues. The issues just kept piling up to the point I am almost exclusively pumping, I refuse to completely give up bringing him to the breast, I still have high hopes for us.
    The only advice I would like to share, that I have learned in my last 6 weeks is relax and rest as much as possible, I forgot to breathe so many times. And nipple shields are a wonderful thing but you do need to be careful with them. We could not get my son to latch on without a shield, well not long after that I got mastitis in both breasts and he was not gaining well, I have concluded on my own and through many things I have learned and researched that it was due to the shields. He can not manage my breasts mixed with my nipple and was only getting half of my nipple so to say, which is why my breast didnt get emptied and he was gaining very slowly.
    So all in all, she should give that a shot but to take care to pay close attention to how her nipple looks after he is done eating, I finished my conclusion today as a matter of fact when my best friend came to assist us yet again and my nipple looked like a lipstick tube after he had eaten for a good 15 -20 mins.

    I also say to use lots of lansinoh cream, it works wonders! It is also great for keeping the shield stuck to your breast.
    Christine
    lots of for the cloth dipes!
    Sara Elizabeth 5.25.04 and Holden Joseph 10.18.07

    Wife to Eddie. <3


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Help -- Nipple Creasing

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcernedDad View Post

    Her nipples have become very, very sore and she's experienced deep 'creases' in each nipple -- the baby's suction causes a sort of a line / fold that becomes very painful and often raw.

    Still, no luck and my wife is at her wit's end -- she's extremely nervous before every feeding and I can see the tension. Horribly sore and raw.

    One thing we're wondering is if my wife is overendowed -- she was a 34 D with large nipples prior to pregnancy and is even larger now. Her nipple seems to us like it may be too big to get sufficiently deep in our daughter's little mouth.
    I had a problem with poor latching too. One thing I noticed was that while we were having the latch problems, my nipples were HUGE and so painful I could barely stand to touch them enough to put lansinoh on them. The only way I could get them to feel less painful was to shower and wait about half an hour.

    I was taking multiple showers a day, popping advil as often as I could, and spending miserable times with my baby at the breast, popping him off after every latch until he finally got it right. It took about a week before I saw an LC and another week after before he was regularly latching properly and the pain subsided.

    Once we were getting a consistently good latch, my nipples went down in size considerably. They're still a little fatter around than they were pre-pregnancy, but they aren't bright pink and stiff like they were during the bad latch period.

    I went through fearing feedings too. It feels terrible because your baby is hungry and you feel selfish for not wanting to put yourself through the pain. Fixing the latch is the best thing your wife can do for your baby because she'll get more milk when the latch is right.

    I also read several comments that fixing the latch would instantly fix the pain, but that isn't true when your nipples are swollen and raw. It takes time with the right latch for the nipples to heal.

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