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Old 01-31-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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Cracked, bleeding nipple

My dd is 7 days old today and ebf. In the hospital she was not latching well and I developed a small crack in my left nipple. It was sore, but not awful. She is latching great now, but today the crack totally split open and started bleeding. My other nipple is fine so I have.been feeding on only one side for the last 2 feedings. I tried to pump and to hand express the torn side, but both brought me to tears, literally. My injured side is now super engorged. My husband is picking up a nipple shield on his way home from work, but I am seriously sick to my stomach just imagining nursing from the side. I have tried lanolin and I have put breast milk on it and let it air dry. Still hurts like everything though!

Any help??? I'm desperate!

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Old 01-31-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

Your doing all the right things, I think the shield will help relieve some of the discomfort. It hurts but it will heal, if you don't end up nursing your baby on that side I would still try to pump so that your production in that breast doesnt drop off, and you don't want it to stay engorged, I doubt that is good for the healing process! Try the shield, call a lactation consultant from your local la leche league, they are really helpful, and may have more tips. Hang in there, I breastfed three babies for over a year and I feel your pain! It will heal and you will love nursing.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for your encouragement!

I took a hot shower after handing off the kids to the hubby and had a good cry over my nipple, which i guess i needed because i was in a much better mood afterwards.

The nipple shield is an absolute miracle. It still hurts, but it is bearable. I was so engorged that I let her almost drain the torn side which took her almost 20 minutes and she only sucked on the good side for 3-4 minutes until she fell asleep and I couldn't get her to keep going. I put a good amount of lanolin on and I plan on calling the lactation consultant in the morning.

Any idea as to how long it will take for it to heal? The crack circles about 3/4 of my nipple. :/
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

Ouch - that sounds really painful! I was really sore the first few days with that toe curling sensitivity whenever anything would touch or rub against my nipples- I didn't bleed though. I tried lanolin, but it seemed to be a little sticky and it felt like my clothes stuck to it. What really helped me was Ameda Gel Pads. They were a little pricey, but oh so worth it. I felt so much better as soon as I put them on. They really helped me heal and made that first week so much better. -Plus they provided a buffer between my clothes, so I didn't cringe every time I moved. Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

The lactation consultant or nurse (I can't remember) gave me hydrogel pads similar to the ones the PP is talking about for free. You could ask about those when you go meet with the LC. Just be sure that you remove them and wash/change them and/or nursing pads frequently to help prevent infection. I got mastitis which I think was related.

Anyway, I'm so sorry!! It is really miserable. I had the worst time for about the first week and then it started getting better from there but it did take a little while. I think I felt completely better by around 2-3 weeks with no pain at all. Glad the shield is helping though. Hang in there!
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

OP hope you heal quickly, I am dealing with the same issue right now
I think I want to try those gerber hot/cold gel pads, I am about ready to give up on bf and my baby is only 6 days old today, it is really hard to nurse so i have been pumping for her but it really makes me sad that i am not able to continue breastfeeding with no issues, we had no problems at all while in the hospital and now that my milk came in 2 days ago, the engorgement makes it to where she can't even latch on and she gums me bad trying.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

I went through the same thing when DD was a newborn. We had a really difficult time getting a good latch, so I ended up with both nipples split open. I pumped almost exclusively from weeks 2-4 and used a nipple shield when she did nurse. I would also get in a hot shower every night and hand express and massage my breasts to prevent plugged ducts. It took me about a month (not to discourage you) for them to fully heal but mine were really, really bad and on both sides, so no matter which side she nursed on, my wounds were being agitated and re-opened. Don't give up though, the rewards are SO worth it. DD is now an excellent nurser and we're going on 14 months!
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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I had the same thing and nothing worked until an LC recommended mixing dabs of equal parts clomitrozol neosporin and hydrocortisone. Worked like a charm! Just wipe it off if nursing within an hour of application.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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Re: Cracked, bleeding nipple

dont use lanolin or any other creams with the gel pads. a warm shower or soak may trigger some leaking and then you can hand express easier if that's more comfortable. pump or nurse as much as you can tolerate on the cracked side. maybe offer that side 2nd so she's not so frantic for food/aggressive? just make sure you keep removing that milk one way or another so you can keep up your supply. the engorgement can also lead to plugged ducts and mastitis. and make sure you keep it clean, clean, clean to prevent infection. wash your hands before handling the breast at all. dab on some freshly expressed breastmilk to help keep out the germs and help with the healing. and be vigilant about making sure you get a great latch every time. hope it improves soon!
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:31 AM   #10
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I will definitely be looking into the gel pads! I talked to the LC on the phone and she said as long as baby is latching properly on the good side now, it will just take time to heal enough that I can stand her latching on the bad side to make sure her latch is good there also. She said it was fine to use the shield if it is working for me.

So I guess it is just waiting to heal. She said healing time would depend on how bad the crack is Anywhere from 2-3 days to a month.
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