The good news is that there are many treatments available for this issue, which can help prevent or lessen the severity of this problem. You should consult with your doctor to determine what treatment will work best for you and your baby.
What Causes Cracked Nipples?
When you are breastfeeding, the nipple is repeatedly pulled back into your baby’s mouth. This causes friction and can lead to sore cracked nipples. There may also be an infection in your breast tissue that has resulted from this pulling action.
The cracks will cause this infected fluid to build up under the skin of the nipple which only makes things worse due to the constant rubbing against your baby’s gums.
What Treatments Are Available?
There are many different treatments available for sore cracked nipples from breastfeeding, including: ointment or gel pads to help soothe pain and prevent infection; air exposure by allowing some time without a bra on each day; saline rinses and many others.
Let’s take a look at 11 ways you can treat sore cracked nipples from breastfeeding.
1) Identify the Right Latch and Position for Breast Feeding
The first step to avoiding sore cracked nipples is ensuring that you are properly latched on. If your baby’s mouth does not completely cover the nipple and part of the dark area around it, then he or she will get more milk from other parts of the breast which can cause damage to your sensitive skin.
2) Foment Your Nipples’ With a Warm Cloth after Nursing
Using a warm cloth to gently massage your nipples can help decrease the pain after you have just breastfed your baby. You can then just lay down and put the warm piece of cloth over your nipples for a few minutes.
Make sure the cloth isn’t excessively wet so wring it before you put it on your nipples.
3) Avoid the Sweating and Chafing Of a Traditional Sports Bra
If you are planning to be active while breastfeeding, then avoid the sweating and chafing that occurs when wearing a traditional sports bra.
Instead, opt for one with thinner fabrics or mesh panels which will allow air circulation in your breasts which can promote milk production. This is also a great way to avoid getting a yeast infection from sweat.
4) Apply a Natural Ointment or Cream
You should also apply a natural ointment or cream to your sore nipples. You may need an antibiotic medication as well, especially if the cracks are very deep and you have noticed some drainage from underneath them.
Antibiotics can reduce swelling and prevent infection in these cases.
5) Expose Your Nipples to Air as Much As Possible Each Day
Leaving your nipple exposed for at least half of each day will allow it time to heal naturally without being irritated by clothing or other things rubbing against it constantly. Some women prefer wearing gauze pads over their nipples while others leave them completely uncovered between feedings during this treatment phase which typically lasts two weeks with signs of improvement.
6) Apply Lanolin to Your Nipples
Lanolin is an excellent way to moisturize, soften and condition cracked nipples from breastfeeding without causing irritation like other products might do.
Apply a small amount of lanolin each day after breast-feeding to keep sore cracked nipples at bay. Do not apply too much that it makes it difficult for you baby to latch on correctly which will make your issues worse in the long run!
7) Rinse Your Nipples with Saline Solution At Least Once a Day
Saline solution is a gentle and natural way to soothe your sore nipples. It can be purchased in most pharmacies or you may want to make your own by adding one teaspoon of table salt into one cup of warm water.
Use this saline rinse once per day, which will remove any accumulated milk residue on the skin around your nipples as well as help keep them moisturized naturally at all times during treatment!
8) Take a Warm Bath with Epsom salts Every Day
Adding just one cup of Epsom salts into your warm bath water can soothe sore cracked nipples by providing relief to this area both during and after treatment. It is important that you do not use soap on these areas as it can cause irritation or further inflammation instead.
Rinse off with tepid water before applying treatments again after each time you take your baths!
9) Avoid Tight Clothing during Treatment Phase and After Your Nipples Heal Up Completely
Tight clothing could rub against your sensitive breasts, which causes more damage than good especially if are dry and tender already. This includes bras, t-shirts and other clothing that is too tight or non-breathable.
Wear loose fitting cotton clothes to help reduce this discomfort instead during treatment which will also make it easier for you to air out your nipples as well!
10) Start the Breastfeeding from the Healthier Side
You should always start feeding your baby from the healthier side because once you have to switch their sides, the baby would no longer be that hungry and he/she wouldn’t suck with too much pressure which will be great for the mother and the child.
11) Apply Breast Milk to Your Cracked Nipples
Another one of the treatments for sore cracked nipples from breastfeeding is applying breast milk to them after you have been done nursing your baby with it.
Breast milk contains lauric acid as well as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help boost healing in this area. You should not use any over the counter medications or creams on these areas until they are fully healed up!
These are some of the ways you can prevent and avoid further damage to your nipples.
If your nipples have gotten really bad then consult your child’s pediatrician about switching your child on to formula milk until you are fully healed.