How To Properly Care For Cracked Nipples

How To Properly Care For Cracked Nipples

5 Jan 2023 | 3 min Read

Manisha Pradhan

Author | 251 Articles

Cracked nipples affect most breastfeeding mums. Cracked nipples can be extremly painful and can even lead to other complications like mastitis, and engorgement. But knowing how to properly care for cracked nipples can provide you relief and prevent further complications.

Here’s all that you need to know about how to properly care for cracked nipples.

What Causes Cracked Nipples?

Cracked nipples even though it is temporary, can be incredibly painful. It can happen to either one or both breasts and causes the nipple to be sore, chaffed, red and dry. Some of the causes of cracked nipples are:

  • Bad Latch

This usually happens when your baby is learning to breastfeed, they might suck on your nipple instead of having the whole areola in their mouth and this can cause injury to your nipples. 

  • Breast Problems

Breast problems like swollen breasts, engorged breasts and inverted or flat nipples can make it difficult for your baby to latch properly. This can cause your nipples to bleed or crack.

  • Eczema

It’s common for pregnant women to develop eczema or dry skin. This can cause the nipples to crack and cause itchiness.

  • Thrush

Thrush causes the nipple to become painful, itchy and red. It can sometimes cause the nipples to crack.

  • Incorrect Use Of Breast Pumps

If you use the breast pump incorrectly then there are chances of your nipples getting hurt, bleeding and causing cracks. 

How To Properly Care For Cracked Nipples

Firstly, it’s important to maintain hygiene before and after breastfeeding to avoid any infections, as bacteria can enter cracked, skin. Wash your hands before and after touching your cracked nipples. Some easy ways to properly care for cracked nipples are:

  • Make sure your baby latches properly. It may take some practice but it’s not difficult. Try different nursing positions to find how what works best for your baby and you.  
  • Use a natural nipple butter that helps soothe sore and cracked nipples immediately. Make sure you choose one that is lanolin and fragrance-free so you don’t have to worry about safety even if you need to feed the baby after applying it.
  • Apply a cold pack, as it helps to dull the pain.
  • Pump the breastmilk before nursing if you have breast problems like engorgement, as it will help the baby latch better since your nipples can be inverted if your breasts are engorged.
  • Offer your baby the breast that is not injured first because when babies are hungry they tend to feed more aggressively and by the time you move them to the second breast they are less hungry and more gentle.
  • If both your nipples are cracked then pump your breastmilk and feed your baby the milk in a bottle.
  • Clean your cracked nipples gently after every feed with warm water and a natural mild wash. Pat them dry with a clean towel before you wear your nursing bra.

While cracked nipples are a common problem with breastfeeding mums, if it is accompanied by inflammation, pus, blister or fever, ask your doctor for advice.

Cover image source: freepik

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