Cracked Nipples

Information on how to prepare for breastfeeding and to soothe dry, cracked areolas from nursing.

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    1. What are Cracked Nipples?
    2. What Causes Cracked Nipples?
    3. Help for Cracked Nipples
    4. More Information on Cracked Nipples

    What are Cracked Nipples?

    Very often when women start nursing, they may encounter breastfeeding problems such as cracked nipples. Cracked nipples are extremely painful and often also accompanied by bleeding. This problem commonly occurs as a result of poor positioning and latch-on during breastfeeding. However, certain measures can be taken to make breastfeeding more comfortable while your nipples are healing. Remember, breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful or uncomfortable!

    What Causes Cracked Nipples?

    Cracked nipples are usually caused because your baby is not in the correct feeding position or latched on properly. Irritation and soreness may develop as the skin, (or areola) around the nipple is very sensitive.

    This condition may also caused by dry skin or eczema as a result of soap, lotions, perfume, or the residue of clothes detergent residue applied to the breast. You may also develop cracked nipples if your baby has thrush – this usually occurs during or after a feed. In addition, cracked nipples can occur if you use a breast pump incorrectly or you have inverted nipples.

    Help for Cracked Nipples

    Cracked nipples may be relieved by applying topical medications such as lanolin on your pain nipples. Paracetamol can also be taken as a pain reliever and is generally considered safe to use. If pain and discomfort persists, it may be helpful to consult a lactation consultant or midwife. Correct positioning or latching the baby to your breast is extremely important – once you perfect this, you and your baby should enjoy the breastfeeding experience.

    More Information on Cracked Nipples

    Tips to relieve cracked nipples

    There are a number of things that you can do to relieve cracked nipples and these include:

    • Make sure that your baby is positioned correctly and latched on properly
    • Consult a lactation consultant or midwife for help
    • Feed your baby from the breast that is less sore to give the breast that is more sore a break
    • Slide your finger gently between your baby’s mouth and breast to release the suction if he or she is not latched on properly
    • Change your position whenever you feed so that the pressure of the baby’s gums focuses on a different part of the breast
    • Breastfeed more often but for shorter intervals
    • Apply hot or cold compresses to ease the pain of cracked nipples
    • Avoid using soap, lotions and perfumes on the nipple area – only use clear water to cleanse the breasts and nipples
    • Air dry your nipples and go without a bra if it feels more comfortable
    • Express some milk and then rub it on nipples – breast milk actually heals cracked, sore nipples