Cracked or bleeding nipples are quite common during breastfeeding. It happens when the baby is not latching on to your breast properly. Due to the tenderness and pain in the nipples, many lactating mothers stop breastfeeding early.
Breastfeeding should not hurt. It is a lovely way to bond with your baby. But if you are experiencing pain in your nipples while performing it, then get assistance. Learn the right way to breastfeed your baby. In this article, we will discuss some easy home remedies to treat your sore and cracked nipples easily.
What causes cracked and sore nipples?
It happens when the baby is not able to take a big mouthful of the breast at the time of latching on to the breast. It causes your nipple to compress between the tongue and palate of the baby. When it continues, your nipples become sore and cracked. In severe cases, they may bleed as well. Red, flaky and sore nipples can cause a thrush infection on the breasts. It may impact your baby as well. To prevent this condition from happening, you need to teach your baby the right way to latch on to the breast.
Other causes for this condition are:
- When you have extremely dry skin or eczema that can lead to cracked skin of the nipples. Avoid the use of harsh soap or cosmetics on the breast to prevent excessive dryness. The use of skin hydrating ointment is advised.
- Incorrect use of a breast pump that damages your nipples
Also read: No Breast Milk After Delivery; What To Do?
How to treat cracked or bleeding nipples?
There are several ways in which you can treat bleeding or cracked nipples. Here are some of the effective and convenient ways to heal your nipples naturally.
Apply expressed breast milk on your nipples: Breast milk has got remarkable healing and anti-bacterial attributes. Take a little expressed breast milk and apply it on the cracked skin of your nipples. It will protect the skin from bacterial infection and heal it too. Let the milk stay on your nipples for some time and become dry before you cover them up. Wash your hands before and after the procedure.
Warm Compress: This is another effective and cost-effective treatment to heal your nipples. All you need is to use warm, and damp compresses after your breastfeeding sessions. It will provide a soothing sensation to your sore, and cracked nipples. Take a warm cloth and squeeze out excess liquid from it.
Now place the cloth over the nipple and breast for some time. Use a clean cloth to dry your nipples. Prepare salt water by adding half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of like-warm water. Rinse your nipples with this saltwater. The complete process will help hydrate the skin and promote healing. Perform this step daily till you get relief.
Ensure that the saltwater is freshly prepared to prevent bacterial contamination in it. Rinse your nipples before you breastfeed the baby.
Apply Medicated Lanolin Lotion: In addition to the above procedures, you can also apply a medicated lanolin ointment to your nipples. This ointment is made specifically to treat soreness and crack in the nipples due to breast-feeding. The lotion will provide moistness to the skin and help in healing the wound. Apply it each time you breastfeed the baby.
Change Nursing Pads Regularly: When you notice that the nursing pad has become damp, then you should change it. It is required as the presence of moisture against the nipples can slow down the healing process. When choosing a nursing pad, go for the ones that are made from breathable fabrics like pure cotton. They promote the proper flow of air through them and give you comfort.
Maintain hygiene: You should wash your nipples with water whenever you breastfeed your baby. Maintain the best level of hygiene by cleaning and sterilizing the nipple once you finish breastfeeding your baby. If you find it painful, then allow your nipple to rest for a day or two so that the skin heals.
In the meantime, you can feed your baby via expressed breast milk. Return to normal breastfeeding following the right latching position and attachment of the baby. It will help you prevent future trauma to the nipples.
As a new mother, you would take a few days to acclimatize to the strong suck of your baby on your breasts. Cracks and soreness in the nipples is a common sign of breastfeeding. It is quite normal and diminishes with time. However, it is important to learn the right way to breastfeed your baby and use the above remedies, to reduce the pain and keep your nipples healthy.