During breastfeeding, many moms experience cracked and sore nipples, which could lead to bleeding and sometimes even infections.
There are a few reasons why you might experience cracked and sore nipples during breastfeeding, but the most common is that your baby is not attached properly to the breast.
When this happens, it can be so difficult to continue on your breastfeeding journey, but it is so important to keep going. Here are some tips on how to heal cracked, sore and bleeding nipples, to help breastfeeding be comfortable again.
Healing Cracked, Sore, And Bleeding Nipples
Below are some tips you can practice on your own to help heal your nipples. Keep in mind though that these will not be as effective if your baby is not attaching properly during feeding. It is best to see a lactation consultant or nurse to help your baby latch better, which will really help reduce the pain.
The below will bring some relief and healing to your nipples:
- Wear a light cotton bra, which will allow air to circulate and your nipples to heal.
- Change your breast pads each time your baby feeds, and avoid using plastic-backed pads.
- Try to avoid using nipple shields or breast shells, as these do not help your baby attach to your breast properly, which is often the cause of the pain.
- Do not stop your baby from feeding to rest your nipples. Allow them to feed for as long as they want, and stopping their feeds short could affect your milk supply.
- Rub some expressed breast milk onto your nipples after feeds. Breast milk contains some healing ingredients that will help prevent cracking.
- Speak to your doctor about which nipple cream is best to use, and apply this as recommended.
Don’t Wait To Ask For Help
It is important to seek help early when you experience one or both of your nipples hurting when you feed, or if your nipples are cracked and begin to bleed. Speak to your midwife, a lactation consultant, or a health care worker for support.
Often, they will take note of how your baby latches to your breast and can help your baby feed properly to reduce the pain on your nipples. Your nipple should rest against the soft palate at the back of your baby’s mouth, which should not cause any pain.
Leaving your nipples cracked, sore and bleeding could lead to you stopping breastfeeding early, or it could even lead to an infection.
Many specialists are there to help, and getting help early is the best way to ensure a smooth sailing breastfeeding journey!
Preparing Your Breasts For Breastfeeding
You could also try to prepare your breasts for breastfeeding before your baby latches, to try and prevent any pain or harm to your nipples.
Make sure to wash your hands properly before touching your breasts, and sit back in a comfortable position. Apply a warm washcloth to your breast and massage gently. You can express some milk to lubricate your nipple before your baby latches on.
This should help reduce strain on your nipples while you try to get your baby to latch properly.