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Thread: Cracked nipple won't heal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    5

    Question Cracked nipple won't heal

    Help! My baby is 4.5 weeks old and I have had a cracked nipple for almost 3 weeks. I had a clogged milk duct and now have slight mastitis that I am taking antibiotics for. I have been on the meds and putting triple antibiotic ointment on the crack for 6 days now and it won't heal. I am about to give up bf on that side but I am afraid I will become engorged again. Can anyone help? It seems to get better the longer I go between feeding or pumping, but as soon as I do that the crack opens up and is deep and red again. This really hurts.

    Suzi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    3,900

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    Hi, Suzi.

    It sounds like possibly the crack is scabbing over, and whenever your baby nurses, it is reopened. Is that correct?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    5

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    No, there isn't a scab ever. It just looks like it the large gap closes between feedings. I have waited more than 12 hours without nursing or pumping on that side and it still won't scab over.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    5

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    I just soaked in salt water and it opened up again without any pressure on it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    3,900

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    Ouch!

    You might not be aware, but I wanted to let you know that soaking can actually swell the tissue. A saline rinse or "dip" (for lack of a better term) can be beneficial, while soaking can super hydrate the skin and make the cracking worse.

    When drying off after the rinse (or after a shower, for that matter) be sure to pat instead of rub to dry.

    Have you talked to your doctor or IBCLC about using "moist wound healing" techniques? This means that you're using either an ointment or hydrogel pad to maintain the internal moisture in the skin which can help promote healing.

    Could you expose your breasts to air more frequently?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    100

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    I had cracked nipples with my daughter that would somewhat heal over then when nursing the healing process began again. So I used lanolin and talked to a LC about her latch. I found that with using the lanolin and readjusting her latch my nipples started to heal much better. So if you can get ahold of LLL or a LC to get your latch looked at as well. Hope that might help you out a bit along with what others might suggest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    40

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    Ouch!! I know what you are going through-- I had huge, horrible deep cracks for about 3 weeks after my baby was born. One side was so painful, that I couldn't bare feeding her from that side any longer, until I started using a nipple sheild on that side. I know that there are some issues with nipple shields, but for us, it kept me from quitting breastfeeding. Maybe it could enable to you still nurse on that side while the crack heals?

    For me, lanolin didn't help, and moist wound dressing didn't help, although I have heard those things do help some women a lot. All purpose nipple ointment finally got my nipples healing, and exposing them to air as much as possible seemed to help, even though it hurt alot.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    I know what you're going through. I had the same thing with my dd. It did heal eventually, but first we developed thrush. With you on antibiotics, you should watch for this. It was very painful. I don't mean to scare you, but help you avoid it! Maybe start taking acidopholis (sp?) supplements to prevent thrush. You can get it at a health food store. It should be the refrigerated kind. But even if you do get thrush, it will get better. I cried through so many feedings between that and the crack. I'm only telling ytou this because it's all better now. I wanted to give up so bad because of the pain but I am sooooo glad we worked through it. It is so worth it. Just keep telling yourself that this to shall pass. Good luck.

    Shelley

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am trying them all today.

    I am trying to stay positive, but it's hard.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Cracked nipple won't heal

    Ouchie! I feel your pain! When I had my baby, she had a hard time latching on, and when she finally got it down packed... she had a very vigorous suction! From this "vigorous" suction... it had caused one of the little bumps on my nipple to tear off. It caused me to have mild mastitis as well and I was trying everything the LC had told me to do. I tried the gel pads so my nipple wouldn't get stuck to my bra, I tried lanolin, I tried lots of air... but I just couldn't seem to get it to go away!

    Finally, I asked my OB/GYN about putting triple antibiotic ointment on it. He said it would be fine as long as I just wiped it off before feeding her on that side. As I did that, I also rented a hospital grade pump and just pumped that side to give it a break. It was tiring, but worth it! It helped the wound to heal and I was back to feeding her on that side by the time she was 8 weeks old.

    However... from me not feeding her as frequently on that side caused my milk supply to be a little lower than my other side. But she still gets enough and she's now 7.5 months old. I do however look a little lopsided, but it's a small sacrifice for something wonderful and free!

    Godd luck!

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