Breastfeeding

help! severe nipple damage

Hi ladies! When my milk came in initially, I got super engorged and DD was not able to latch very well. This caused my nipples to be cracked and bloody. Since they kept getting wet every time DD would eat, pieces of the scab on each nipple fell off. So for about 5 weeks now I have had pieces of skin missing on each nipple. The rest of the nipple has healed beautifully, but I have these two red, raw craters. I am wondering how I should go about healing them. I've been told to only feed from one side and pump the other side to let it heal, but I've heard pumping can make it worse. I've also thought of a nipple shield but I don't want her to refuse the real breast after I use it, and I've also heard that it can lower your supply. Has anyone had experience with this and have a suggestion? Is there any kind of ointment or cream I can use to help? Lanolin hasn't really healed it, probably because the damage is so severe. Thanks! 

Re: help! severe nipple damage

  • If you haven't already, talk with a lactation consultant or your OBGYN.  My lactation consultant was able to call my OBGYN and get a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO).  That helped a lot!  I also went to see my OBGYN because I was so concerned about my nipples - chunks of skin missing and I was in a lot of pain ... she suggested Medela breast shells.  They're NOT nipple shields so you don't have to worry about that ... they are just shells that you would wear after BFing.  They have holes in the top and it helps your nipples air out while keeping clothes off of them.  I was in such pain whenever I'd put my bra or tank top back on but I didn't want to walk around the house topless all the time.  Go to Medela's website and look under their "nipple care" tab, there should be a link for the breast shells.  The other benefit of these was they catch any leaking milk - super great during the first month when my breasts would leak like crazy.  I would sterilize the shells and use that leaked milk for bottles :-)  Best of luck!!
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  • Meant to tell you that it's awesome that you're sticking with BFing through it all!  I made the decision to exclusively pump because the pain was just too much for me and I was so unhappy with LO.  4 months later, I'm still pumping so I'm ok with my decision :-)
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  • I had horrible cracks because my DS was tongue tied. The LC recommended taking a minute to soak each nipple in warm water before feeding to soften the scab some before latch, then to use a hair dryer on cool after nursing to dry the area and then apply a bit of lanolin to the crack to encourage wet healing. And to expose the nips to air as often as possible. Kellymom has some other treatments as well.
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  • If you haven't already, talk with a lactation consultant or your OBGYN.  My lactation consultant was able to call my OBGYN and get a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO).  That helped a lot!  I also went to see my OBGYN because I was so concerned about my nipples - chunks of skin missing and I was in a lot of pain ... she suggested Medela breast shells.  They're NOT nipple shields so you don't have to worry about that ... they are just shells that you would wear after BFing.  They have holes in the top and it helps your nipples air out while keeping clothes off of them.  I was in such pain whenever I'd put my bra or tank top back on but I didn't want to walk around the house topless all the time.  Go to Medela's website and look under their "nipple care" tab, there should be a link for the breast shells.  The other benefit of these was they catch any leaking milk - super great during the first month when my breasts would leak like crazy.  I would sterilize the shells and use that leaked milk for bottles :-)  Best of luck!!

    This. I also used the ameda hydrogels and those helped. So sorry you are going through this. I had inverted nipples, too. So painful. Took about 6 weeks for them To heal. I stopped nursing dd on the right to allow it to heal and she refused that side from then on. Just be careful how long you go w/o using one side over the other.
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  • You can actually use neosporin on your nipples. Lanolin and other creams won't help heal it. Just wipe off before baby nurses, apply right after and then air dry as much as possible.

    https://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipplehealing/
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  • I also used a shield during this time and that saved our nursing relationship, too.
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  • Thank you all for the great advice. The shells sound like a great idea. Hopefully I can try everything and they will heal in a week or so. 
  • Awesome advice already! Just wanted to say that I am sorry you are dealing with this. We had issues like this with my first and it was awful. I know it's not always ideal but lots of bare chested time really helped me heal. Once I was healed, things were so much better!
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  • cyprissa said:
    Awesome advice already! Just wanted to say that I am sorry you are dealing with this. We had issues like this with my first and it was awful. I know it's not always ideal but lots of bare chested time really helped me heal. Once I was healed, things were so much better!
    Thank you! I am glad you healed and I'm glad to hear it will get better. 
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