Re: bleeding nipples
Welcome! I'm sorry you're having such a struggle with nursing. I had a similar issue, but on both nipples. Here's what helped me:
- Work on the latch.
- If there's any position that works better for you (i.e. is more comfortable), use it. Other positions will come in time. Many moms have good luck with the football hold. I personally had the most luck with the side-lying position.
- Support the breast throughout the feeding. Sometimes the weight of the breast drags down on the baby's mouth and causes her to "slip up" onto the nipple.
- Try the sandwich technique. Imagine that you are biting into a thick, rounded sandwich. You're going to need to squish it in order to get the most sandwich into your mouth, right? Same with the breast. So: position your hand in a "C" shape around your breast, with your thumb above the areola and your other fingers below it. Now compress your hand, squishing your areola/nipple from a rounded shape into a flattened, more oval shape. (Just like you're squishing that big round sandwich.) Now, keeping your hand compressed, latch the baby on. Once the baby is latched on, you can release your hand. Hopefully your baby now has a nice deep bite of breast in her mouth!
- Try pumping the badly cracked side for a bit before latching the baby on. That may draw the nipple out a bit longer, enabling a better latch.
- Use the shield with care. They can slow milk transfer and reduce supply.
- Go topless/braless as much as possible. Don't further irritate sore, cracked nipples.
- Moist healing. Keep using the lanolin, the Soothies, and keep the air around you humid (probably not a huge problem in Guam!).
- Hydrate the crack before nursing. Dry scabs tear open more painfully. Use a wet washcloth or immerse the cracked nipple in a shot glass of warm water for 30-60 seconds before nursing.
- Use a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on the cracks to combat inflammation and infection. Use a pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger.
- If you are in such pain that you're on the verge of quitting, think about nursing on the side that is okay and pumping and bottle/finger/cup-feeding the milk from the other side. You may only need to do this for a short while, since cracks tend to heal fast once they're not being constantly reopened.
Don't worry if your baby gets some bloody milk. It won't hurt her. Also, it only takes a very small amount of blood to turn your milk a very alarming color, so your milk may not be as bloody as you think.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"