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Nipple Sensitivity during breastfeeding
Cracked nipples are more often than not the direct result of following improper nursing techniques. Yes cracked nipples can indeed be painful and worriesome. Here are few reasons that cause niples to crack and also some tips to treat the condition.
While the main reason for cracked nipples is improper positioning of the baby while feeding there may also be other reasons that cause nipples to crack which we shall quickly go through first.
Bloody discharge that occurs in the week following child birth may be due to increased blood flow and will settle with time. Nipples also tend to crack due to dry skin conditions caused sometimes due to application of certain ointments or lotions to the breast. Try and eliminate the causes of dry skin by change of ointment, powder, cologne etc and also detergent used to wash clothes as residues may also trigger a skin allergy.
Cracked nipples may also be due to your child having thrush and this may need medical attention. Read about thrush in my other post.
Tips to help treat cracked nipples:
- Like i earlier mentioned the most common reason is the baby has not latched on properly which causes your nipples to get sore cracked or bleed. This is generally observed in the immediate weeks following birth when mother and child are adjusting to breastfeeding. Once the baby learns the technique you will find that it is a lot easier to nurse without much effort. If you continue to feel your child is unable to latch on properly do go through the post of “different positions to nurse with comfort”.
- Most importantly your baby has to take in not just your nipple but a good mouthful of areola as well. Areola is the dark skin surrounding your nipple. When your baby sucks on the areola milk is secreted through the nipple. The best position is to lie your baby facing towards your nipple lining up his nose with your nipple such that your nipple is at the back of her mouth and much of the areola below the nipple is inside the mouth. Changing of position at every feed will make sure that the pressure is at different areas of the breast hence not causing pain to one spot only.
- Avoid nursing with longer spans of interval as your baby will get hungrier and nurse more harder which will in turn cause your already sore nipples to get worse.
- Avoid painkillers as much as you can but if the pain is severe you may try some Ibuprofen or paracetemol which will relieve your pain. Make sure you do not take this on an empty stomach and try consuming it about an hour before feed.
- Use clear water to cleanse your breasts and minimize use of strong soaps ointments and colognes that may trigger dryness. U may also use Lansinoh (Pure Lan) available in most baby product shops and medical stores. Though on the expensive side costing about 700 Rs per tube it gives you instant relief from cracked nipples and is safe to use while breast feeding.
- Also like mentioned in one of my other posts you may apply a bit of your hind milk (which is the thick milk that is rich in proteins vitamins and fats) on the cracked area after every feed to see remarkable results.
If you find that the cracked nipples don’t show any signs of healing you may need to consult a doctor for eliminating possibility of infection.
Do not get disheartened and let cracked nipples come in way of breast feeding and giving your baby those much needed vital nutrients and antibodies needed for her to grow. Keep in mind it is just a matter of time that you master the art of nursing and you will enjoy nursing your little one again.