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Thread: 1 week old, cracked nipples

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Any hints for my sister. She has a baby girl that will be a week old on Wednesday. She is having trouble with sore and cracked nipples. Worse on one side then the other, it's started bleeding while nursing.
    She is using Lanolin cream and it helps some.
    She is pretty sure that latch is okay.
    Any thoughts on helping the nipples heal?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Hi Jennifer,
    Sorry that your sister is suffering. Is there any way she could see someone in person, an IBCLC or LLLL?

    Unless she is using a pump that is damaging her nipples, there must be a reason that the baby's nursing is causing nipple trauma. There are other things it could be besides latch/positioning (although those are the most common reasons for nipple trauma).

    It could be tongue-tie, high palate, small mouth/large nipples, just to name a few common scenarios. I don't want you to frighten her, but she should really be seen by someone ASAP. Please let us know if you need help finding somebody in her area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Tell her not to give up, it will get better. I found the cream helped as well as air drying and around days 12-14 things got alot better and I was sure happy I didn't quit when I wanted to. Good LUck!

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Kate - she is using a Medala Harmony pump - would you think there is any concern there? Thanks for the other thoughts too.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Is she using the pump *because* of the pain? Or was she pumping *before* the problem started? That might give her a clue as to why/when this all started.

    A pump can cause nipple trauma if the suction setting is too high, or if the flanges are the wrong size.

    But it would be helpful to know which came first, the pump or the pain?
    Last edited by LLLKate; October 23rd, 2006 at 07:00 PM. Reason: clarity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    I agree with Kate about being seen, but in the meantime the best thing to do is let them air out. Squeeze colostrum onto the nipples, let that dry, then apply lanolin. I was prepping the nipple. That caused some of the soreness for me. Once I stopped, that really made a difference. Also it took me about 4 weeks to heal. Some people just have more sensitive skin than others. So there is hope. I was so very sore in the beginning. We have been happily bfing for 6 months now.

    Here is a link you can show her to see if she is latching correctly. Maybe that will help until you meet with a LLL leader. The first link is a video and the second has pictures.

    http://www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/positioning.html

    Good Luck. You are great sister.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    from my sister:
    "I was pumping to give some relief to the nipples. The bleeding started after I pumped, not while I was breastfeeding. But they were already sore and starting to crack. Pumping itself doesn't hurt at all. I'm sitting here topless at the computer, letting them air out!"

    Thanks

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: 1 week old, cracked nipples

    Quote Originally Posted by CaedensMama View Post
    from my sister:
    "I was pumping to give some relief to the nipples. The bleeding started after I pumped, not while I was breastfeeding. But they were already sore and starting to crack. Pumping itself doesn't hurt at all. I'm sitting here topless at the computer, letting them air out!"

    Thanks

    So, it sounds like she had sore nipples before pumping, and tried to pump to give herself a break. At this point she should be able to attribute the nipple trauma to the baby.

    Again, I really do suggest she try to find someone to see her. This is so hard to do online (through another person at that!) . But you are a good sister for trying to help her.

    If she finds that the pumping is not painful then she could try just pumping for a day or two to let the nipples heal. Many moms have done this. She would need to pump as much as the baby was nursing. (Typically at least 8-12 times in 24 hours.) She would then have to choose an alternate way to feed the baby her milk. She could use a cup, syringe or dropper (since the baby isn't taking much at a feeding, this shouldn't be too difficult). Some moms choose to just use a bottle, but there is a risk of nipple confusion. That is up to her. She should be prepared for the baby to be a little fussy, since she will not be getting her sucking needs met at the breast.

    In the meantime, though, she still needs to get to the route of the problem, so it doesn't reoccur. Seeing someone is very important.

    Let us know how she makes out...and you might want to send her over here to the boards after she feels up to it. We'd love to have her!

    HTH!

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