Cracked nipples: causes, treatment and prevention while breastfeeding.

Cracked nipples: causes, treatment and prevention while breastfeeding.

  • Post category:Child Health
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Welcome to motherhood!

After 9 months of pregnancy and having a safe delivery a new journey begins. A journey of nurturing the little human you just brought forth with food, love and tender care.
Early initiation of breastfeeding – within first hour – of life and then 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding have been shown to have positive impact on your new-born’s life.

Breastfeeding

Suckling is a reflex that most healthy full term babies’ will be born with and how one position their baby on the breast can be challenging at times. A good latch is a necessity for successful breastfeeding. Poor latch, poor positioning of the baby and using a breast pump that has a small flange risks one to develop cracked nipples. As you breastfeed, you will notice your nipple area becomes drier than normal and the skin becomes prone to cracking or at times the skin is constantly damp and is prone to develop fungal infection.
It is important to moisturises the breast skin including the nipple area to keep it supple and free from the wear and tear that comes from breastfeeding. We highly recommend use of 100% lanolin cream that is safe for the baby and mother and does not need wiping before breastfeeding.
Soaps, powders and tight fitting bras tend to dry and increase friction on the nipple area hence worsening the cracked nipple.

Cracked nipples prevention

Cracked nipples are most likely to develop in the first month after breastfeeding before the baby and mother have mastered the art of breastfeeding. During this time, it is advised to correctly learn how to latch and position the baby.

Breastfeeding is painless, therefore feeling any form of discomfort while breastfeeding may mean there is something wrong. If breastfeeding is painful you may need to detach and attach the baby. If you already have cracked nipples you may need to take a break from nursing on the nipple and express for a day or two.

To prevent cracked nipples, you may need to observe the following:
• Ensure proper latching
• Feed frequently on demand and express breastmilk for storage to ensure there is no breast engorgement
• Wash the breast with warm water only and avoid soaps
• Moisturise the breast skin well with 100% lanolin cream and apply the cream on the nipple area after every breastfeeding
• Wear breast pads and change them frequently to avoid dampness on the breast area.
• Wear well-fitting supportive bra from natural material

Conclusion

Good latch is critical for successful breastfeeding. Patience is key to achieve a good latch in the first few weeks. Taking good care of the breast will protect you from developing cracked nipples.