Cracks in the nipples arise especially in the first few weeks of breastfeeding due to incorrect handling of the baby on the breast. You can suspect the baby is not correctly breastfeeding when after he stops breastfeeding, your nipple is wrinkled. If it is crushed, it is very likely that the babies grip is incorrect and that the cracks and bleeding appear the next day.
To heal cracked and bleeding nipples you should continue breastfeeding, but always check if the baby is making the correct grip. It is important to continue breastfeeding if bleeding or cracking occurs because breast milk itself is an excellent natural remedy to heal cracked nipples.
If the baby has candidiasis in the mouth, which is very common, the fungus Candida albicans can pass to the nipple of the mother and she can develop candidiasis in the breast and in this case the pain in the nipple becomes even greater in the form of deep burning sensation or stinging in the first few minutes of breastfeeding, and remains until after the baby has finished breastfeeding. This pain can appear again or become worse whenever the baby breastfeeds, becoming very uncomfortable for the mother.
What to put on your nipples
To heal the crack in your nipple faster whenever the baby finishes sucking, you should pass a few drops of your breast milk itself on both nipples and let it dry naturally because the milk is very moisturizing and has everything the skin needs to heal on its own.
However, it may also be recommended by your doctor to apply a thin layer of a lanolin ointment to the nipple when finishing breastfeeding. This ointment can be purchased at any pharmacy, but it should be removed with a cotton swab soaked in water before putting the baby to breastfeed.
Doing about 15 minutes of top less daily while breastfeeding is also a great way to protect your nipples and fight cracks, but the best time to expose yourself to the sun in the morning is before 10 am or after 4 pm hours because you need to be without sunscreen.
In the bath pass only water and soap in the breasts and dry with a soft towel. Then place nursing discs inside the bra as this helps to keep the nipples more comfortable and dry, preventing infections.
What not to put on your nipples
It is contraindicated to pass alcohol, mertiolate or any other disinfectant substance on the nipples during the breastfeeding phase, so as not to harm the baby. It is also not indicated to pass bepantol, glycerine or petroleum jelly.
When there are changes such as nipple wounds what you should do is continue breastfeeding, being careful to check if the baby is suckling in the correct position and pass only breast milk or lanolin ointment to your nipple. Both milk and lanolin help in healing without causing harm to your baby.
Can I continue to breastfeed with cracked and bleeding nipples?
Yes, you can and should because the milk does not accumulate causing even more pain. Milk and blood can be ingested by the baby without any problem, but if you think there is too much blood, talk to your pediatrician.
How to avoid cracks in your nipples
To avoid cracking your nipples during the breastfeeding phase it is recommended you follow a few simple tips every time the baby sucks. They are:
- Press lightly on each nipple until a little milk comes out and wet the entire nipple and areola with this milk to moisturize the skin, especially after the baby sucks;
- Avoid using creams or ointments on your nipples, using only if cracked and under medical supervision;
- Use a nipple protector inside the bra and always use a good breastfeeding bra, since the wrong number can hinder the production and withdrawal of milk;
- Whenever possible remove the bra and expose your breasts in the sun to keep the nipples always well dry, since moisture also favors the proliferation of fungi and bacteria.
The cracks are not caused by the time the baby takes to suck but by the dryness of the skin and the baby's "bad grip" on the halo and so this situation should be quickly corrected. Your doctor or nurse can help ease the baby's grip to improve the flow of milk and avoid the discomfort that cracks can cause.
What is the correct way to breastfeed?
In order for the baby to make the correct grip by extracting as much milk as possible with each suction and not causing the cracks in the mother's nipples, the baby should be positioned as follows:
- Having their tummy leaning against the mother's belly,
- Having their mouth wide open, also catching the areola and not just the nipple of the breast.
In addition, the mother should vary the position she breastfeeds at each feeding, but some babies need to stop to burp in the same feed, which is a great opportunity to change the baby's position.
If you continue to have doubts or are trying to breastfeed but it is being very difficult and uncomfortable you should seek help in the maternity where the baby was born, with doulas, nurses or midwives because they are the best professionals to indicate everything you have to do to get breastfeed for everything as long as you wish, without pain or suffering.