What's in This Guide?
- 1 Signs of a Sore or Cracked Nipple
- 2 What are Cracked Nipples or Nipple Trauma?
- 3 What Causes Cracked Nipples?
- 4 How to Treat a Broken or Cracked Nipple?
- 5 Tips for Preventing a Cracked Nipple
Preventing a sore or cracked nipples when breastfeeding is a precautionary measure for mothers due to the benefits and addictive nature of breastmilk for babies.
An Infant’s joy knows no bounds when carried in the mother’s arms to be fed of their favorite meal – the breast milk. Not only do they enjoy sucking in the milk, but they also enjoy massive health benefits as the breast milk contains numerous nutrients that help protect the baby against allergies, infections, viruses, and so much more. However, as necessary as this is for the baby, mothers could be unknowingly threatening it by making one simple mistake.
When you breastfeed your baby, you could be doing it the absolutely wrong way, which may, in turn, lead to a sore or cracked nipple, and having a nipple issue will make your little one a victim of improper feeding. In light of this, it is essential to note that having a profound knowledge of what sore or cracked nipples are and how to prevent them will place you in a better position to take care of your baby, and reading this article is an excellent place to start.
In this article, we’ll show you what cracked, or sore nipples are, how to spot them, what causes them, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.
Signs of a Sore or Cracked Nipple
How do you know if you have a cracked nipple?
Aside from the pain you’ll be feeling in your breast, you’ll begin to exhibit some of the following symptoms:
While you breastfeed your baby, if you observe blood coming out of your nipple or nipples, then you have a nipple trauma. It doesn’t have to be pouring blood; a little bit of it signals something is not right.
If you notice your nipple is unusually dry, it may be because it is broken or sore.
If you experience pains while breastfeeding your little one, then you must have a cracked nipple. These pains are usually severe because of the pressure applied to your nipple by your baby.
An irritating feeling in your nipple could be pointing to the fact that you have a cracked nipple. You must be very observant as you must not take anything lightly when it concerns your baby’s health.
Nipple Skin Cracks
When you notice a crack or break in the skin of your nipple, it is because your nipple is cracked and requires prompt attention.
Open Sores on Nipple Skin
In a few extreme cases, you may experience open sores on the skin of your nipple, and when this happens, you may require medical attention.
This is probably very common amongst breastfeeding mothers, and most times does not mean something is wrong. However, when you notice an irregular or continuous discharge of liquid from your nipple, you may have a cracked nipple.
When you have an uneasy feeling – more like throbbing, in your nipple, it is happening because your nipple may be broken.
The growth of boils on your nipple indicates it is cracked and requires treatment. Boils could be quite damaging if not treated immediately and please make sure you do not feed your baby with a boil-ridden nipple.
What are Cracked Nipples or Nipple Trauma?
A Cracked Nipple is a trauma that occurs in breastfeeding women for various reasons, and it is highly painful and distressing. It is when one or both nipples are sore or broken, which results in pains for the mother, especially when breastfeeding. It occurs mostly as a result of a poor connection of the baby to the breast, which prompts the baby to pinch or pull the breast to feed appropriately.
This nipple disorder is prevalent amongst breastfeeding mothers; however, taking proper precautionary measures could help prevent it.
What Causes Cracked Nipples?
When you carry your baby in your arms to breastfeed them, it is high time you begin to pay attention to how you position them next to your breasts because when this is done improperly, you risk having a cracked or sore nipple. This inappropriate positioning causes a poor latch of the baby to the breast, which happens to be a widespread cause of cracked or sore nipples.
When a baby isn’t appropriately latched at the breast, they tend to find protection against any movement that may disrupt their feeding, therefore pinching or pulling the breast to maintain their balance. Also, a poor or weak latch would mean an unsatisfying nursing session for the baby, which would prompt them to ask for more breast milk.
For a mother who wants to do away with the risk of a cracked or sore breast, you must ensure your baby is latched correctly and has the entire nipple deep into their mouth when breastfeeding. A part of your breast should also be in your baby’s mouth so that your nipple gets close to the end of your baby’s mouth.
Not doing this well is what makes your baby pinch your breast because they are experiencing one or more of the following:
- Sucking Problems
- Inappropriate tongue position when feeding.
- Nipple Confusion
Other Causes are Labeled Anatomical:
- Small Baby Mouth
- Tied Tongue
- Little Frenulum
- High Palate
- Receding Chin
If you already have a cracked or sore nipple, what you have to do is speak to a Doctor or Lactation Consultant for a thorough assessment of your breastfeeding and your baby’s feeding pattern so that you can have a proper diagnosis of where the problem is originating from, and treating it becomes much more manageable.
How to Treat a Broken or Cracked Nipple?
It does not take a lot to treat a cracked nipple.
Following any of these simple solution steps will make you an over comer in no time:
Regularly Change Your Nursing Pads
Fundamentally, you should replace your nursing pads with a fresh one as soon as they get dampened. This is because you will experience slow healing of your nipples if they are regularly damped, and keeping your pads dry helps change that. Besides, you should not use pads that include plastic lining because they are unfriendly to good airflow. Try making use of pads that are entirely made from cotton.
Carefully Rinse Your Nipples with Salt Water
This is a simple step you can carry out in your Kitchen. Rinsing your nipples with salt water helps eliminate the bacterial infection, dampen your skin, and fasten the healing process. To do this, take a cup of warm water and add half a teaspoon of neat salt to it. Following a breastfeeding session, gently dip your nipples into a bowl with the saltwater and leave for one minute or two.
Alternatively, you could make use of a bottle to spray the water on your nipples. Dry thoroughly afterward. Furthermore, it is important to note that you should make new salt solutions every day rather than using a previously made one, which could be festered with loads of bacteria. Also, rinse clean your nipples when you’re done, especially if your baby doesn’t like the taste of salt.
Administer Breast Milk
Following a breastfeeding session, take a minute amount of breast milk and apply it gently on your nipples. Your breast milk is endowed with tremendous nutrients that can help neutralize any harmful bacterial infection in no time. Also, be sure to have your hands thoroughly washed afterward and let the milk dry on your nipples before putting it back in. However, if you’re diagnosed with Candidiasis, please do not employ this step. Wash your nipples immediately with fresh water after feeding your baby.
Lanolin lotions are made specially to be used by breastfeeding women, and they are highly effective in fostering your healing process. After you’re done breastfeeding your baby, you can administer it gently on your nipples, and you don’t have to wash your nipples before the next breastfeeding session.
Tips for Preventing a Cracked Nipple
If you’ve once had a Cracked Nipple, currently have one, or you’ve never had one, you must know what precautionary steps to take so that you don’t have to deal with one in the future.
Here are Some Relieving Tips for Sore, Cracked Nipples When Breastfeeding:
Ensure Your Baby Latches Well
Poor latching is primarily what causes most of the Cracked Nipple cases out there, so you have to pay your utmost attention to ensuring your baby latches properly. Make sure your nipple is entirely in your baby’s mouth and even along with a part of your breast.
Feed Your Baby in a Great Position
Having a proper breastfeeding position can go a long way in preventing a cracked nipple as it places you and your little one in a comfortable state where no harm is done. There are several popularly right breastfeeding positions, and we recommend the cross-cradle hold, especially for new mothers.
Keep Your Nipple Skin Healthy and Clean
Always wash your breasts gently with lukewarm water and try not to use harsh soap.
Moreover, when you properly latch your baby onto your breast, you reduce your chances of getting a cracked nipple by 90%.