Tender, cracked nipples

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by chicagomama, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. chicagomama

    chicagomama Well-Known Member

    I am postpartum day 5 and BF mostly going ok, but my nipples are really cracked and tender. I don't remember how long this stage lasted with previous kids. I am mostly just expressing milk over my nipples and exposing to air, some coconut oil...was never really a fan of lanolin. Just wondering if my nipples will adjust relatively soon or if I should take more measures to address pain. I have those gel stickies I have not used them yet, never really liked them either. Kinda just trying to grin and bear it, but knowing it is temporary will help me continue...
  2. threebecamefive

    threebecamefive Well-Known Member

    I had a horrible time with tender nipples and cracked nipples. The things that worked best for me are two of the things you don't really want to try. :) The lanolin and the gel pads. I didn't use either when I nursed my first baby; I think because I was hesitant to put anything on my nipples that my baby might ingest - even though I was told she would be fine. When the twins came along and I was struggling even more, I was desperate for relief and tried the lanolin and gel pads and they did help a lot.

    As far as how long you might have soreness, I'm not going to be any help. I had problems nursing my daughter for roughly 4 months and problems with the twins for at least 7 months. From reading these boards, I know that most nursing moms don't have that pain (from cracked nipples) and problems (repeated mastitis) for nearly that long.

    Good luck. I hope things clear up for you sooner rather than later. Those first weeks (months?!) are hard enough without adding in nipple issues!
  3. weegus

    weegus Well-Known Member

    A lactation consultant gave me "Medela TheraShells Breast Shells" combined with Lansinoh Lanolin. The shells just fit over your nipple to allow airflow when they are not in use (heehee). I also slept with my shirt off an night to allow air to get to them. I had relief from pain within 8 hours and the cracks gone in a few days. The shells look kind of funny under clothes, but you're a nursing mom of twins.... you're not going anywhere, are you?!?!?! :p
  4. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    If it were me, I'd be inclined to consult with an LC or PP doula with additional breastfeeding support training because of the cracks. That to me suggests a possible latch issue and that is always easier to deal with sooner rather than later. If they were just tender/sore I would say give it a couple more days and it should be fine but the cracks I would want some objective input on. After my experience breastfeeding the girls though (very rough start), I have a very low tolerance for things being "off" in the beginning - I think it's because I know I won't stop breastfeeding but I'm deeply anxious about relieving the pain and anxiety of my experience with the girls. I like to nip ANY possible issues in the bud.
  5. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I didn't have cracked nipples with my singleton and I think it's because I was militant about her latch- it had to be correctly positioned (bottom lip flanged out, deep latch) otherwise it would hurt and lead to cracked nipples. A consult with a LC would be a good idea. :hug:
  6. chicagomama

    chicagomama Well-Known Member

    thanks I do see an LC on tuesday. I gave the gel pads another try and found they worked great and really reduced the irritation. How long do you use them before discarding? Do you wash them or does that stop them from sticking?
  7. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm glad to hear they helped! I can't answer your other questions though as I haven't ever used them myself. Let us know how things go with the LC.
  8. threebecamefive

    threebecamefive Well-Known Member

    I don't remember too well, but I do believe I rinsed my gel pads off. I have no idea how frequently I did this though. I believe I re-used them until they lost that cool, sticky feeling they had when I first put them on.

    I also have to say, I used a LC from the first nursing session with all three babies. The hospital I delivered in, and where my pediatrician's office is located, employs two LC's that any nursing mom can use, free of charge. I saw the LC's fairly frequently the first few weeks with each of the babies (my DD and the twins) because my nipples were so tender and sore. Nursing was flat out painful for me. Both of the LC's that I saw said my babies had a nice, strong latch. One of the twins had a really strong suck that made the pain worse, so once things settled down for me, my boys actually had "assigned" breasts. One of my breasts was much more sensitive and the nipple split all the time. I learned, over time, that if my strong sucking baby was on that breast, my nipples would be a mess. Once he stayed on the tougher nipple side, my problems decreased until I had no issues.

    I agree that tender, split nipples are usually a result of a poor latch, but I had to share my story because the latch isn't always the issue.
  9. weegus

    weegus Well-Known Member

    Something else to throw out there... with my one son, my nipple issues came from tongue tie. A LC found that had tongue tie at 5 weeks old. I had seen the LC in the hospital then again after 2 weeks of seriously painful nursing, but she said his latch looked fine and that he was transferring and gaining well. It took 3 more weeks of pain before I sought another opinion! No more pain or cracks after his tongue was fixed. Worth asking about during your appointment.

    I used the gel pads for about two weeks, rinsed them, and stored them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Good luck!
  10. chicagomama

    chicagomama Well-Known Member

    Had a good visit at the LC. One of my boys has a bit more struggle with his latch and kinda hangs on waiting for the letdown while the other boy does all the work for it. So this works when I am feeding simultaneously but individual sessions he struggles with more. So I am trying to do a few individual corrective sessions and then simultaneous feeds. Their weights are appropriate and I just started taking More Milk Plus to hopefully give a boost... I forgot to ask for more gel pads. I have one more set right now but no pain so don't want to use them. Good to know I can make them last up to 2 weeks!
  11. carriesmithee

    carriesmithee Member

    Use a lanolin-based nipple cream to moisturize the cracked area. Aveeno and Lansinoh are some brands that are highly recommended, and these are readily available in drug stores and supermarkets. You don't have to rub off the cream before feeding, as it is safe for the baby.
Similar Threads Forum Date
Your Two-Year-Old Terrible or Tender The Toddler Years(1-3) Jun 11, 2010
Where do I find onesie extenders The First Year Apr 1, 2010
Tender abdomen Pregnancy Help Jul 9, 2009
Pelvic pain/soreness in "tender" areas..... Pregnancy Help Apr 25, 2009
Tenderness on c-section incision The First Year Jan 17, 2009

Share This Page