Help! I Think My Nipple Just Fell Off!
Welcome to our newest blog series…. Common Concerns While Breastfeeding. These aren’t the complicated, ‘come-to-my-house-immediately’ phone calls I receive. Rather, these are the questions that come from clients and friends in the middle of the night, by text or by email, that don’t necessarily warrant a lactation consultation. They can often be easily resolved with a few simple tricks. So, I would like to share those tricks with you!
Painful, sore nipples are the worst thing EVER when you are a breastfeeding mom! My youngest son is almost 5 years old and I can still remember crying every time he woke up to breastfeed that first week of his life. There are so many horror stories about painful nipples out there that some women are petrified of breastfeeding.
Well, sister, let me give you the low down about sore nipples and how to prevent and overcome them! With a few simple tips, and the support of your ‘breastfeeding village’, you should be able to avoid painful nipples, or at least know how to get your nipples back on track.
- One side of the spectrum is nipple tenderness. This is normal. When’s the last time you had hours of nipple stimulation in a 24 hour period? My guess is NEVER or NOT SINCE THE LAST BABY WAS BORN.
- Middle of the spectrum is painful feedings with maybe some cracking. This shouldn’t happen, but it could have been the result of a poor latch here and there. Have a lactation consultant or a support group leader take a look, just to make sure.
- The opposite side of the spectrum is bleeding and cracked nipples. RED FLAG!!! This is not supposed to happen. This is your body’s way of telling you that you could use some assistance from a lactation consultant to see what is causing this pain. Don’t wait!
- Nice wide latch – you don’t need your whole areola in your baby’s mouth, but the latch should be more than just on your nipple. Check out this YouTube video on latch.
- Your baby’s lips are flanged like a fish’s mouth
- Don’t push on the back of your baby’s head to bring him/her to the breast. Instead, try a laid-back feeding position. Bring your baby’s torso into yours. His/her head will follow.
- Express breast milk on your nipples after your baby has fed and then let the ‘girls’ hang out for a few minutes.
- Organic coconut oil – don’t use the lanolin stuff. It just covers your scent and tastes like vaseline in your baby’s mouth. Coconut oil is antifungal, light (not goopy), and has a minimal scent. Plus, you can also use it for diaper rash (BONUS!)
For those moms with cracked and bleeding nipples, you might need to try a few other options
- Hydrogels – wet wound management to place on your nipples in between breastfeeding
- All-purpose Nipple Ointment – can be prescribed by your physician to be made at a compounding pharmacy. This link, from breastfeeding expert, Jack Newman, includes the ingredients to give to your care giver.
- Call a lactation consultant! When a baby is latching correctly and his/her tongue is doing what it should, a mom’s nipples should not become cracked and bleeding. A lactation consultant should be able to figure out the cause of your pain and offer suggestions of how to fix the situation, ASAP!