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Thread: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    15

    Default chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    My baby was born Wednesday at 4 p.m. -- he's been nursing really well until last night/this morning. He has developed what looks like a dry/chapped patch of skin on his top lip...part of it is hard. When he latches on , he's good until he puts that top lip down, then he cries. I think the hard, dry part must be kind of painful for him when he sucks.

    It seems like he has a really good latch and I am not yet sore (a tiny bit tender, perhaps, but not sore), though that could be b/c I'm just a couple of days into this. I do break the latch and start again if he is only sucking on the nipple. I put a tiny bit of Lansinoh on after he's finished nursing.

    He's still nursing, but not as long. He only nursed for 10 minutes on one side this morning and it took several tries to get him to latch AND suck.

    Is it normal to get this dry patch of skin? My mom says she can't remember any of us having it....but her youngest is over 30, so she acknowledges that she may have just forgotten. Is there anything we can do to help alleviate the dryness?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Becky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    My son developed a similar thing on his top lip as a newborn -- if I recall correctly, it was like a callous (somewhat hard, definitely chapped-lips look on that one little spot.) Right in the middle of his top lip.

    I don't recall it causing him any pain, though. If it's interfering with his latch and his nursing frequency, then it's probably better not to just "watch and wait" (my son's callous eventually disappeared).

    Try rubbing some expressed breastmilk on it after each feeding, and maybe between feedings. That should help it soften up and promote healing if anything near/under the callous is irritated or raw.

    When he nurses, make sure that top lip is flanged out, not tucked in. There must be some friction happening at that point, so try to get that lip folded up, so the breast is against the inside of his lip rather than the irritated outside tip of it.

    Chances are this will pass in a day or two if you keep nursing. He sounds like a little champion nursling, and he knows where the good stuff is (momma!), so I doubt he'll let this stand in his way for long. WTG on getting your nursing relationship off to an awesome start! Let us know how things go.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    66

    Default Re: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    My son (now two months old) also got chapped lips in the first few days of his life. They quickly went away (at most 48 hours after they developped). My midwife said it was normal - not a sign a dehydration, as I feared - rather the baby's skin adjusting to life on dry land. Around that time I made sure to drink more fluids (it hadn't occured to me yet) and his lips healed, but my midwife said they would have healed anyways.

    If you think he's in pain from the dry lips while breastfeeding (in my son's case I didn't notice any pain reactions) then talk to your lactation consultant or doctor to see if anything can be done. (Edited to add: If Rebecca's good tips don't help.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    Thanks Rebecca -- actually, I fed him again while I was waiting for a reply and I did just that (expressed a bit of breastmilk on the spot)...it really helped and he nursed great and is sleeping soundly for the moment. His top lip is flanged out, but it's kind of a fat lip (very cute though), so I think that's causing some friction.

    The dry spot is looking better already. Thanks so much for your help though...it makes me feel like my instincts are good! I will keep an eye on it and if he sleeps for an extra long time, I'll put a little additional milk on it to keep it from getting all stiff again.

    Other than that, everything is going well! I'm sure that the major soreness will hit soon, so I'm preparing for that mentally, but thus far it's been much, much better than expected.

    Becky

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    66

    Default Re: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    Glad to hear things are going so well!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    561

    Default Re: chapped lip on newborn (painful) - what to do?

    My son also had what you described. My mom called it a "nursing blister". Though it never seemed to cause him any pain. He actually got several of these over the first several weeks. One would wear off and another would develop. Eventually his lip got used to it and he got blisters no more.

    He also was a quick nurser at first (sometimes still is). Starting around day 3 or 4 he only took one side per feeding, and was usually finished in about 10 minutes or so. He's still a one side per feeding guy more than four months later! Sounds like your little one might be the same way, quite efficient already!

    I'm so glad to hear that breastfeeding is going well for you, keep up the good work! Mentally preparing for soreness probably doesn't hurt, but since your experience sounds so much like mine I'll offer this bit of advice: My "sorest" time was night number two (which you've alredy passed!)- and here's what I did- after he fed I expressed a small amount of milk onto the nipple he had just used, rubbed it around the area and let it air dry for a couple minutes. Then I used a pea sized amount of Lansinoh and put it on BOTH nipples, regardless of whether or not he had fed from both sides. After about 10 days or so I was golden, no more need for Lansinoh or expressed milk and no sore nipples!
    Congrats to you!

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