I recently discovered that while discomfort during breastfeeding is common in the first few weeks, it is not normal (What To Do About Nipple Pain. Global Health Media Project, 2015).
My first time nursing, I almost gave up. Not only was it extremely painful, but my nipples were cracked, bleeding, pussing and scabbing over. And none of that stopped our infant from wanting to nurse. She nursed right through the blood and dead skin giving me no relief.
Damaged nipples can lead to infection causing problems in your nursing journey. They can also discourage a mom from nursing due to the excruciating pain.
Thankfully, we have amazing bodies that can heal themselves pretty quickly with proper care. Here's how to heal damaged nipples...
1. Fresh Air
If possible, stay home and leave breast uncovered. If you have to go out, the least amount of layers is best - thus, I preferred thin layers and/or being braless
2. Breast Milk
Express some milk from your breast and let it dry on the sores. Breast milk naturally heals and is better than any man-made product.
3. Nurse From Other Breast
If possible let baby nurse from the other breast. Although, baby may want to feed from the damaged nipple, try and encourage baby to nurse from the other side. If both nipples are damaged -- see if you can stretch out feedings so that there is more healing time in between each session.
4. Latch Properly
This video has an excellent tutorial on how to properly latch the baby so that less damage is done and nipples can heal quickly.
Did you experience cracked nipples? What are ways you healed them? If you have damaged nipples now -- please watch this video and know it gets better.
If you would like local support check out zip milk or the Boston Breastfeeding Coalition.
Need a breastfeeding coach? We'd love to help.
Until next time...
More breastfeeding posts you may love...
I Almost Gave Up: My First Time Breastfeeding
3 Ways Our Non-Medicated Birth Affected Our Baby's Latch
3 Ways Our Epidural Affected Our Baby's Latch
4 Reasons You Might Be Afraid To Breastfeed A Baby With Teeth (But Shouldn't Be)
3 Immediate Actions I Take When She Bites Me
4 Mishaps When Baby Falls Asleep On The Breast