Nipple Trauma and Healing

Standard

One breastfeeding topic about which I can claim to be an expert, is nipple trauma. If you ask me, nursing a baby with a damaged nipple is like trying to climb a mountain with a compound fracture. It hurts like hell and makes the journey a nightmare.

(Note: I am not actually an expert, and this is not meant to be diagnostic or prescriptive, but merely to share my experience in the hope that maybe it will help another mom.)

There are different types of nipple issues the breast feeding mom encounters: soreness due to poor or shallow latch, a wound due to a bite, vasospasms caused by a circulatory disorder called Renaud’s Syndrome, and the pain caused by thrush (a yeast infection of the nipple and/or milk ducts) to name a few.

I have had all of these issues, plus I burned off half my areola with a breast pump.

Flange Burns and Tongue Ties

My first born, Jack, had a tongue tie that was not diagnosed until a couple weeks after his birth. Due to the tightness of his latch, my nipples cracked and bled. Thinking that pumping would be less painful, I dispatched my mom to the baby store to buy me a premium breast pump. Desperate to get the milk out of my jugs and into my baby boy, I strapped on the pump and enthusiastically started pumping.

After 15 minutes of frantic pumping, there was not a drop of milk in the little bottle. I still remember my horrified gasp, then screech of pain as I removed the flange from my breast along with an inch of pink flesh.

In hysterics, I called the maternity hospital’s “warm line” and described my situation. “Oh, you gave yourself a flange burn,” said the nonchalant nurse on the other end of the line. What?! I thought. A flange burn? This is a thing?

As it turns out, yes, there is such thing as a flange burn. It happens from the friction of the pump on the areola. The lesson learned: use the correct size flanges, do not put the suction on your pump too high, and use plenty of lanolin before pumping. (I’m pretty sure that this story is the female equivalent to a guy hearing about another guy getting kicked in the nuts.)

The underlying issue that needed to be fixed in order for us to nurse effectively and painlessly was Jack’s tongue tie. A tongue tie is when a baby’s frenulum (the membrane under the tongue) is too tight. Jack was not able to get his tongue out past his lower lip, and could not latch onto my breast and suckle well.

This condition causes pain for the mom and frustration for the newborn, who may not be able to stimulate proper milk production due to the poor latch. Left untreated, tongue ties can also cause speech impediments. From what I understand, tongue ties are fairly common. My daughter Emily had one too. Emily’s tongue tie actually made her tongue appear heart shaped at the tip.

Thankfully, with both children, I was seen by kind and competent lactation consultants who diagnosed the tongue ties, and referred us to an ENT to release the frenulum. The frenulectomy (snipping of the tongue tie) sounded like a scary ordeal, but really was nothing more than a second of the doctor clipping the membrane under the tongue with a little pair of surgical scissors. In most cases there is barely any bleeding. The baby comes to the breast straight after. Although it sounds like a scary thing to put your child through, I can’t recommend it enough, if you plan to continue breast feeding.

Bites and Wounds and Infections, OH MY!

With Jack, my nipple issues were resolved within two weeks of his birth, especially after the tongue tie was released. I went on to nurse him until he self weaned at 23 months. With Emily, my nipple trauma was much more complicated. I had both bacterial and fungal infections that made my breasts burn and buzz with pain like they were stuffed full of broken glass and bees.

Correcting her tongue tie did not seem to help with the pain. Her latch looked picture perfect, and yet nursing continued to be excruciating. I took medication for the infections, and still, discomfort. Our LC suggested that her latch would loosen up as she grew, and that she needed time to get used to her released tongue. (This did prove to be the case, but not for some weeks.)

Around three weeks, Emily bit me. Even though she didn’t have teeth, she still tore open my already fragile nipple. Every time she nursed, her suction opened the wound. It bled.

The good news is that if your nip is bleeding, the blood will not harm your little one. The bad news is, blood can upset baby’s stomach and cause a scary-looking, bloody spit-up.

You might be thinking that when you get to the point of gaping nip wound and bloody-spit-up that breast feeding is just a little too cray-cray for you. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think this as well, but the desire to feed my daughter from my own body, as I had when she was in the womb, was so great that, as the saying goes, I kept calm and latched on.

Vasospasms

It was recommended that I use cool gel pads for my sore nipples. You can buy these at Target or the baby store. Initially, these seemed soothing. But then my breasts started burning so intensely that I couldn’t sleep through the pain. I thought I was going insane at this point, because the cold compress was supposed to be healing.

Through some research and consultation with my lactation consultant, I learned that I had a circulatory condition called Renaud’s Syndrome that causes the nipple to blanch and then turn purple as it fills back up with blood. I am not qualified to get into all the science behind this condition, but I am over-qualified to tell you that it hurts like a bitch.

Using warm compresses and covering up my nipple as soon as I finished nursing helped to relieve some of the burning associated with the Renaud’s. I also swear by the palliative and healing properties of extra virgin coconut oil. You can buy this solidified, white oil in your health food store. It liquifies as it warms up, and smooths onto your skin much more gracefully than lanolin, which I personally find gloppy. Coconut oil has both antifungal and antibacterial properties too, so if you are gunning for an infection, it might help to stave it off.

Desperate Measures

While I got these other issues sorted out, nothing helped with the gaping gash on the side of my right nipple. Every time I nursed it opened, and pumping made it even worse. (I blame my nip trauma on the difficulties that my body has had responding to a breast pump.) My left nipple looked like a perfect little pearl, but the right looked so damaged that I became nauseated every time I looked at it. I was taking fistfulls of ibuprofin to help with the pain, and started to worry that my stomach would resemble my nipple before too long.

I finally took an extreme measure, in collaboration with my lactation consultant. After reading about women who are able to nurse exclusively with one breast, I decided to let my right breast dry up and use only my left. I was concerned that I would need to supplement with either formula or donor milk, but for my sanity, it had to be done.

The first day was painful. I used ice packs and cabbage leaves to help with the engorgement. I was able to hand express enough milk to relieve some of the pressure. And finally, I used a bowl of warm water that I leaned my breast into, which also helped to release enough milk to make me comfortable.

Happily, Emily seemed fine with just one breast. The true miracle was that my nipple healed in mere days. After about 10 weeks of nursing with excruciating pain, I felt comfortable again. The nipple trauma had made me physically, emotionally, and mentally miserable, but with its healing, I started to feel like myself again. Since it had been less than a week, I was able to ease Em back onto the damaged nipple and re-establish my supply without too much effort.

With both kids, the pain of nipple trauma left me feeling robbed of a part of my maternity leave. I had to give upt the fantasy of the perfect nursing relationship to deal with seemingly endless problems. But the other day, as my 15 month old Emily tucked in for her night time nursing session, I thought about how perfect it is now. We nurse in bliss, and she pats me and shows affection. She has infinite patience for those days around my cycle when my milk is a little slower, and there is never any pain. In the end, I did get a perfect nursing experience. It just came in a slightly different form.

For more information on ways to deal with nipple trauma, (from an actual professional) go to http://www.kellymom.com, or contact your local La Leche League. If you have any other questions for Charlotte, please feel free to comment, or email at cp.momasteblog@gmail.com.

Advertisements

63 responses »

  1. With my first I had latch issues that were resolved with a nipple shield. As much as this is discouraged by hardcore lactation consultants, and groups it was a saving grace. It was THE ONLY way to get my baby to latch at all. (I have very large breasts, and very short nipples).

    The best part of using a nipple shield which is never discussed is that it does create a barrier (the very reason why it is discouraged). But this barrier protects the nipple from wear and tear (literally). With all of the breast feeding that I did I never had one bit of cracking, soreness from over use, or any pain that was not alleviated with a bit of heat, or ice.

    I do recognize that I am super lucky to not have any medical issues (infections, or thrush, or duct problems).

    When a friend started nursing about a month in she started to have cracking and soreness…I suggested that she try a shield to just see if it would take the pressure off for long enough to heal. It worked like a charm. She was still able to heal, baby was able to feed, and she could start and stop using it as needed.

    So as I wait for the birth of my next child I have already packed 2 brand new nipple shield to go with me to the hospital. Who knows this baby could latch without an issue…but I will be sure to protect my nips if need be, and use the shield…because really who wants to be sore?

    My question really is why are shields so discouraged by hard core nursing groups? I did not feel like I bonded any less using a shield, and I reduced the pain and discomfort…. I also think that it was a good transition method to get my baby use to a bottle for my return to work.

    • Laura, GREAT question!! Thank you so much for commenting on how helpful nipple shields can be for mom’s with nipple issues. I actually could not speak to using nipple shields because they did not work for me due to my -er-anatomy? I didn’t want to be a negative nancy about anything in this post, or discourage anyone. . . So, to answer your question about why they are discouraged, I went to my professional IBCLC to get a real answer. So, my Patron Saint of Lactating Mothers had this to say: “The thing with shields is that MOST of the time everything works out fine, but sometimes they can impact supply if the baby is only latching into the tip of the shield and not getting the whole nipple in to stimulate hormonal production. Years ago shields were also much thicker which wasn’t helpful to supply. She just needs to be careful that she is using it correctly and that her supply is ok with it.” So, it doesn’t sound like it is an issue with bonding or anything purist, but more about supply. I would guess that the so called “hard core” nursing groups don’t want moms to feel like their baby isn’t getting enough milk, then have to supplement with formula, thereby risking the nursing relationship. (That said, I supplemented with both my kids and our nursing relationships were just fine in the long run…) I hope that is a helpful answer!!

  2. I am very lucky to never have had an issue with supply. I think having the right size shield is the most important thing. A friend using one was having issues, and discovered that she was using a shield that was too small. After a new size she is back up and running wonderfully.

    My plan for breast feeding this time around is based on what happened to me the last time I was breast feeding an infant. I started with my first being very adamant that she would only have breast milk for the first 5 months, no other fluids until 8 months. Then she came down with cancer…

    One of the first things that happened was she went off of all food for nearly a week. After IV feeds only she got back to breast feeding like a champ! It was at this point that a nutritionist became part of her team, and formula was discussed. My first reaction was NO FORMULA!! Or as little as possible. I was so worried about a disruption to my breast feeding her. As time passed I realized that chemo drugs are far worse than formula any day…and as long as my baby was breast feeding she needed the extra calories and formula was just going to be apart of our lives.

    She ended up on a super high calorie formula (32 cals/oz) breast milk being 6-8 cals/oz this is some fat formula. Not only did she tolerate it…but she needed it.

    Another thing that happened is my husband began feeding our daughter by a bottle. The first time I witnessed this and saw this look of pure bliss on his face I felt so guilty! I was hogging all of the feeding. I got to bond and feed whenever I wanted to, but he had to wait 4 months before he fed her. How is that fair?

    So….with all of this past history what did I learn?

    1. Formula is not evil. It is there for a reason, and as much as I love breast feeding, and I am super pro-breast milk I will not hesitate to allow formula if we need to use it.

    2. My husband will not have to wait 4 months to feed our child. I know people freak out about nipple confusion, and all kinds of things, but for me it is very important that he gets to bond with our child, and part of that is dinner time. Plus…total added bonus…during those days where a baby is eating ridiculously I can hand the baby off for a bottle and catch a nap.

    3. The most important thing is that a baby is fed…no matter how they are fed. Having to watch my daughter for days on end with out food was enough to bring me to the brink of insanity. It was the most physically and mentally distressing, and challenging.

    All this being said, I am super pro-breastfeeding/ breast milk….but also not opposed to other options if they are needed.

    • Wow. Wow. Wow. Seeing as I insisted on breast feeding with a huge gaping wound because I was so desperate to feed my child, I can not imagine the pain and distress you must have gone through watching your baby not be able to eat anything. Sigh. . . You are definitely right that a baby being fed is the most important thing, no matter how that happens. And in your case, you and the doctors were using formula in the way that it is medically intended (because it is after all a medical product) as a supplement. We had to do the same thing with both of our babies, but for much different reasons. If parenthood has taught me one thing, it is that we can all have the best laid plans (breast milk only, no binkies, only organic…) only to have them laid to waste! Thank you so much for sharing your unique nursing experience, which is pretty inspirational, if you ask me. I hope that there are many blissful nursing days ahead in your (very near) future! Momaste to you, Laura!

    • Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me of some very important lessons! I hope baby girl is doing well, she has a very brave and loving mom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I had vapospasms so badly that I would almost cry. I used a heating pad to help, but MAN the winter months were tough in breastfeeding land! Like the time our heater went out and I was dressed as a local hobo breastfeeding the kidlet. Fun times for my nipples. And now, thanks to breastfeeding for 16 months, they look like I’m always cold. Haha. But not that funny.

      • He’s 12 days shy of 16 months, and yeah, still happily nursing here! I need to find a good ‘padded’ bra to keep my students from noticing my nipples, it’s starting to get awkward for me! And I’m sure more awkward for them. ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Now we have to be bffs, because I’m like an H cup, too, and I’ve tried a gazillion ones from Linda’s Online pricey boutique, and have managed to squeeze myself back into some pre-nursing tops, but I’m going to ruin them by yanking my bewbehs out to feed Sir Potamus. Only problem is that they are just not lined (hello sexy pre-mama times!), but they sorta fit and I need something that’s not so big and lumpy and frumpy.

        I’m okay with headlights in class, but when they’re lopsided that’s when I feel REALLY awkward. I really should just keep using nursing pads until eternity…

      • Ugh. Nursing pads are so lumpy and bumpy and I’ve never been a leaker… I found a GREAT nursing bra by Anita with underwire. But it is like $80- hella expensive if you ask me. I love that you call your baby Sir Potamus. Too cute. And yes. We must be soul sisters. <3. Or at least bosom buddies.

  4. Pingback: Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Training (sort of) | momasteblog

  5. Pingback: If Google Brought You Here For Breastfeeding Info. . . | momasteblog

  6. Pingback: Thursday Truth– “Fix it with a hug!” | momasteblog

  7. Pingback: N.I.P. or Nursing In Public | momasteblog

  8. Pingback: A Love Letter To My Blog | momasteblog

  9. Pingback: Mama’s Here | momasteblog

  10. Pingback: Why I Love Nursing a Toddler and Why I Do NOT Think it is Weird or Gross | momasteblog

  11. Pingback: I’m Sorry I Made You Become A Big Brother: A Letter To My Son | momasteblog

  12. Im a newbie mom to a 4 week old. We were doing so well with breastfeeding until I noticed one morning what looks like a hole on one nipple. ( must of been poor latching when I was “zombie feeding” at 3 in the morning) I seen the lc and she said it was OK to continue to nurse as long as I don’t notice any pus coming from crack or that it doesnt hurt, checked my positioning and sent me on my way. Once again we were doing better but she started to hurt the other nipple so much that I thought this is the equivalent to a man being kicked in his junk! So I started pumping milk and bottle feeding since I’d be going back to work in a few short weeks I wanted to make sure she had the bottle feeding down before I left her with a sitter. I’m worried that I am not able to pump enough milk to make up enough bottles since she is still eating frequently. My lc said babies her age need 3.5-4 oz per feeding. Any tips advice on what I can do to make enough milk ( Or to just tell me I’m worrying for nothing) is greatly appreciated!!

    • First off, you are doing a great job!! I think that pumping exclusively must be really demanding and I think it is awesome that you are trying so hard to give your baby breast milk instead of rushing to formula. That said, I never pumped exclusively, so I’m not sure on the specifics of all that. Why are you concerned about your supply? How much are you pumping? How many hours are you away from your baby and how many ounces will you need per day? I would think that to keep up your supply, you will need to add some extra pumping sessions from time to time, especially when baby goes through growth spurts, which they do at 4 and 6 weeks to be sure. The more you can pump now the better off you will be because your body is still in the phase where it is regulating your milk supply and so you want to tell it that you need lots of milk (unless you are dealing with over supply, which is another issue entirely.) Kellymom.com might have some good suggestions for pumping exclusively. I know that when I returned to work, I did not leave as much milk at daycare and then my baby “reverse cycled,” meaning she did a lot of eating straight from the tap when she was with me at night. From what I understand, pumping at night is really helpful for supply because that is when your supply is lowest, but when your body gets cued to make more milk on demand, hence this is when babies usually cluster feed. Also, is there any possibility of getting your baby back on the breast now that your nips are healed? Your baby is way more efficient at taking the milk from your breast than a pump, but if you can’t don’t worry! There are tons of moms who pump exclusively. . . I just don’t happen to know a lot about it. I also have a post on practical pumping tips for the working mom that you can check out. Eating steel-cut oats is fantastic for upping supply– I lived on them when I returned to work and had to pump. There are also some herbal supplements you can take. But I will also say, relax!! Your body was MADE to nourish your baby! So, weather you are nursing or pumping, YOU CAN DO IT!! Keep up the great work, and thank you so much for visiting and commenting here at my little blog. Let me know how things go when you go back to work! Hugs!

  13. Pingback: Touched Out | momasteblog

  14. Pingback: What Will Become Of My Breasts Once I Am Done Breastfeeding? | momasteblog

  15. Wow. …fair play to you for not giving up. I was totally under the illusion that breastfeeding came naturally and would be a beautiful bonding experience with my daughter…..how wrong was I!
    From day one she wouldn’t latch properly and each feed time was met with a fussy baby who would take at least 20 mins to latch on.
    I carried on but began to experience sore nipples that gradually got worse over the course of 3 weeks. After getting a hole in my nipple, along with a blister and cracking I got in touch with a lactation consultant who diagnosed tongue and upper lip tie. I have an appointment on Saturday to get this rectified, but in the meantime I’m in agony with nipple damage and not sure how much more o can take.

    • Oh dear. I’m so sorry you are having such a painful and frustrating time of it! I hear you, when you wonder how much more you can take, but hopefully with some support from the lactation consult, and with getting the tongue tie cared for, things will get much, much better. Just remember that your baby has been used to how his/her tongue has been (tied etc) not only since he/she has been born and nursing, but in utero too. Sometimes it can take them a while to re-learn the art of nursing. With my daughter, it took her a few weeks to get the hang of things. Have you tried any ointment, soaks, pads, or anything on your sore nips? I swore by coconut oil. It is amazing stuff. If you can find a doc who will write you a script, and a nearby compounding pharmacy, you can also get the Jack Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) made for you. It has ingredients to help with nip trauma, including a numbing agent and something that helps with the inflamation (steroids?) but is totally safe for nursing. I went through many a tube of it, and it was worth every penny. If you go on the Jack Newman’s site, you can get some more information on it. The best “advice” I can give you (not that you asked ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) is to never quit nursing on a bad day. Be patient and kind to yourself. Feel free to write back if you need some extra support. And ifyou are on Facebook, the group called “Breastfeeding is Normal” is very good and helpful support group. It is a closed group, so it is private, but you can ask to be added and then post questions, rants, vent, etc. Good luck and hugs to you, Mama! Let me know how it goes!!

  16. Pingback: NPR Presents A Biased Story About Milk Sharing | momaste

  17. I stumbled across your blog last night (as a new mom, stumbling seems to be all I’m doing lately) and am in awe of your perseverance in the face of horrific breastfeeding pain. I’m 3 months in and still having major issues of my own. The whole situation makes me heartsick as I too dream of a lovely nursing relationship with my daughter, but I honestly think of quitting every day. Though I’m sorry you went through such a hard time it was a relief to read that I’m not the only one! If you can overcome your difficulties – then so can I… I hope ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s all us moms can do, isn’t it? Hope that our best is enough to give our children the love, attention and support they need. Momaste to you too!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to stumble over and leave such a special comment. The reason I share my experience is in hope it may help another mom, so it means everything to know my words resonated with you. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with nursing. Being a new mom sure is something, isn’t it? The best advice I could give you is never quit on a bad day. It takes a long time to cement a nursing relationship but once you do it is worth every pain and hassle. I highly recommend finding a new moms support group or local la leche group to go to. I also recommend the group Breastfeeding is Normal on Facebook. It really helps to be able to reach out to other moms! Don’t be shy, and feel free to come back and chat with me anytime. You are doing a great job and I will be sending happy nursing vibes out to you. Thanks again for writing your comment. It means so much to hear from moms like you!! Big hugs and love to you! Ps. I initially felt robbed of my beautiful nursing relationship, but as my baby got older I found that nursing an older baby/toddler has more than made up for it… Something to keep in mind as you make peace with this phase of your journey. Xo.

  18. My husband and I are seperated and we just went to court yesterday for a parenting arrangement,I have a 13 month old who still nurses 4 to 5 times a day, and a couple times in the night,but the judgeix is letting my husband take both my 4.5 year old as well as the baby overnight for 4 nights, when I brought up the nursing he said well she will just have to adjust to not nursing while in his care,but if the baby dies become distressed it is my husbands discretion to call me and bring her to me.my husband is very spiteful and is a good manipulator and liar,he put in quite a show and made it sound like he is such a devoted father,when he really has had very little to do with the raising of our children.how hard is it giving to be on my baby to be just cut off like that?

    • I’m so sorry to read this. Stories like yours break my heart. I would guess that this kind of separation will be very difficult for you and your nursling. Your older child will probably understand what’s going on but your little one might have a harder time. I pray your ex will be compassionate to her needs if she is missing you and the comfort and sustinence she finds at your breast. My heart goes out to you. Please know you will be in my thoughts and feel free to check back and let me know how it’s going. Hugs and big love to you, mama. Xox.

  19. Pingback: Guest Post- – A Review Of The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding | momaste

  20. That was so uplifting for me. You are truly a super mom. I have been having the horrible burning sensation with the shocking pain spasms in my left breast since my son chewed it up at 2 weeks and bit it at 3 weeks. Since then my left breast is drying up because I dread feeding him on that side. I started formula feeding and pumping the left side. I hardly get any milk on that side but I want it to heal so I can start again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and a huge applause for your huge accomplishment!!!

    • I also want to add that I nursed my two older boys for at least six months so I was going through some incredible guilt over it.

    • Thank you. I am so glad it was helpful. I wrote this a while ago. . . and now my daughter is 33 months (almost three years old, yikes!) and we still nurse twice a day. I hope you are able to continue in your nursing journey and find some good support, and some relief from the pain. Coconut oil was my godsend… and also the Jack Newman’s APNO (all purpose nipple ointment), if you can find a doc who will prescribe it and can find a pharmacy where they can make it. Good luck! xox.

      • Thank you for your response! I started taking pain killers without guilt. I went out and bought the coconut oil and my left breast was healing. I started again and slowly am getting more milk. None when I pump, but when the baby feeds, I see him swallowing. It’s so interesting. He does get fussy and starts turning and pulling my nipples. OUCH! I try to hold his head. So my baby is now 6 weeks old and my nipples still burn and I have a bruised feeling on my left breast. I want to keep going, but at times I want to quit, with a lot of sadness. But I am still trying! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a wimp compared to you. LOL!

      • You are no wimp!! And believe me I did my share of crying and complaining about it… Don’t feel guilty about the pain killers. I took ibuprofen by the fistful!! Is the bruised feeling in your breast? If so, you might have an infection. Have you been to a lactation consult? Maybe if you try hand expression for a minute before you latch your baby so the milk gets flowing and baby doesn’t have to work as hard? Also a warm compress will help with letdown. Remember your baby can get way more milk by nursing than a pump, so don’t go by pump output as an indication of your supply. You’re doing great! Nursing relationships can take a couple months to solidify. Keep up the great work!

      • Oh wow thank you again for this!! Awww I want to cry because I feel so loved. This helps me so much!! I have called 2 LC from the hospital and 1 at LLL but no response. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I also called my OB and I guess they are busy. This is why I’ve been frantically searching the internet. Then I found your post. It was a Godsend!!!

      • Oh, you poor dear. It is so hard being a new mom and the sleep deprivation makes it feel even more confusing, IMHO. Is there a support group through LLL near to you? I attended a great support group and that was what kept me going, really. There is no way I could have done it alone. There is also a really good group on Facebook called “Breastfeeding is Normal.” Some really good/encouraging people on there day and night. I would look into the LLL again, though. Has your baby been evaluated for a tongue tie?? Sometimes that causes the tearing b/c they can’t suckle and grip the nipple with their gums– ouch! I hope you keep me posted. I will be cheering for you!

      • hi momaste, just want to give you an update. I have slowly been healing from my pain. I pretty much prayed for healing and tried my best to feed the baby since you mentioned he would remove more milk than the pump. I also kept taking painkillers after reading your post and even though I am supplementing with formula, I am still nursing a lot of the time. I have a hard time drinking enough water because I end up in the bathroom so much, but I am still getting a lot of milk on my right side and a little on my left. My baby is now 8 weeks and is starting to pull, squirm and cry when I feel him. I don’t know what that means. Is it frustration because he doesn’t get milk as easy as the bottle? Thank you so much for being here for me. God bless you!!

  21. Hi Momaste, I am so glad to have found someone who’s gone through something that is similar to what I’m going through. I was wondering what else you did to help your nipple heal aside from not nursing on that side?

    My baby’s 4 months old and we’ve always had less-than-ideal latch. Six weeks ago I had a milk blister and clogged duct, which was resolved swiftly thankfully. Unfortunately the blister never healed due to improper latching and now the nipple pain has become hours of breast pain that keep me awake at night. I am so desperate to let it heal so we can continue to work on the latch. It’s so hard to work on latch right now because I have to unlatch him every 30 seconds to give my nipple some relief.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for reading and for commenting on the post. . . I’m so sorry to hear you are having a tough and uncomfortable time with nursing. It sounds very painful. . . One remedy that is incredibly helpful is the Jack Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO). I don’t know why I didn’t write about it in this post, because I went through like three tubes of it when I was nursing my daughter as a newborn! It is a mixture of anti fungal/antibiotic/pain relief and other good stuff and is totally safe for breastfeeding– in fact developed by breast feeding expert Jack Newman. The thing is, you have to find a doctor who knows about it to prescribe it, and then you have to find a pharmacy where they can make the stuff by scratch. I live in a small state, so for me this meant only traveling 40 minutes from my home. But I would call your doc and ask about that, or look it up on line and see if there is someplace nearby where you can get it in your area.

      I am assuming you have had bub’s latch evaluated by a lactation consultant? That is really important too… And has bub been evaluated for lip and tongue ties? Those can really complicate good latch. I also found the book “Breastfeeding Made Simple” by Nancy Morbacher to be a life saver. She talks a lot about breastfeeding in a “laid back” position, like reclining or lying down. This was essential to my comfort with my daughter.

      Other than that, I can’t recommend the coconut oil highly enough– it also has mild antibiotic and anti fungal properties and is just so soothing, especially for something like a milk blister or irritation. You could also warm up a little olive oil and swab that on for comfort after a feed– very soothing. Warm compresses can feel really nice. But really the coconut oil is miraculous, as is APNO if you can get it. Does it hurt to pump on that side also? If it is not as painful to pump, you could try pumping or hand expressing on the sore side until it heals a little more. I would basically just leave my daughter on the undamaged side all day to avoid nursing on the sore side at its sorest, and my daughter managed to satisfy herself on that one side, but you have to do something to relieve engorgement and keep up your production even minimally if you want to nurse again on that side.

      I would also hand express a little milk prior to nursing on the sore side to kind of get things going so baby didn’t have to suck so hard when she latched. This helped a bit for faster let down and less nursing time on the sore side– ouch! It hurts just remembering about it!

      Also, is your breast pain deep? If it feels really deep in your breast and feels like broken glass, it could be thrush (fungal infection) that has spread into your ducts. If that is the case, you definitely want to be seen by a doc to get meds… When I had burning that kept me up at night it was actually a circulation condition called vasospasms– does your nipple blanch or turn purple after feedings? I actually have it still to a minor degree (still nursing my daughter who is 3+ years now!) and it can be pretty dang uncomfortable.

      It sounds like you are doing great, and persevering through some tough stuff! Keep up the great work with your little fella’ and let me know how it goes. I hope this is helpful. If you have any nursing or new mom support groups, I highly recommend those as well… sometimes just being around others going through the same stuff is amazingly healing. I’m sending nipple healing vibes your way!! Feel free to check back in and let me know how it goes!

  22. Thanks so much for all of your advice and support. I’ve been hanging in there by my nails these past two weeks. Clogged ducts every 2-3 days, the left nipple is beginning to hurt, and the healing of my right nipple is incredibly slow (I’ve been mostly pumping my right, nursing only when there’s a clogged duct). I don’ know what can explain the slowness of the healing…maybe it’s infected? Why isn’t breastfeeding as natural as it’s supposed to be??

    • Breast feeding IS hard. . . some folks latch the infant on and get on with their life, but in my experience, the majority of us struggle a bit. Especially if we are used to being independent women and getting things right on the first try! It can take a few months for a nursing relationship to establish between mother and baby. Unfortunately for many of us that is right around the time we are returning to work. Sigh. Hang in there. You will get there. It is really worth it in the long run. But if you think you are getting an infection, please see a doctor! xoxo

  23. Pingback: Breastfeeding is Hard | momaste

  24. Pingback: About the Time I Tried To Sell My Newborn On the Internet, Or, Postpartum Depression | momaste

  25. I am recovering from bleeding nipples on both sides that began when baby was a week old, 3 LCs told me his latch was fine but he chewed me to bits. I’m hand expressing bc its the only way that allows healing, supplementing heavily with formula. I tried everything to avoid formula & cried more tears than were good for anyone over this. kudos to those that hang in, but I’ve decided that me crying & pumping all day with no progress on healing is worse for my baby & family than some formula. its so much better not to fear feedings, & i can accept that hand expressing will not keep up supply for 2 years as i had planned to nurse. we plan, G-d laughs. Don’t let your plans rob you of enjoying these fleeting newborn days mommas, you can never get back the ones spent in tears over things you didn’t choose

    • I hope by now you are feeling so much better (sorry, I’m a bit behind on responding to comments.) Nursing can be so hard and emotionally draining, especially in those first weeks. I’m glad you are finding what works and being present for your family. xoxoxo.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have cracked nipples and the left one is too painful to continue on. So I am going to pump and supplement with formula as needed for a few days. I feel so much better after reading your story thank you. :0)

  27. Pingback: When Breastfeeding IS All About Me | momaste

  28. I am on my fifth and final baby and came across your article while searching for some helpful info on nipple destruction by a biting baby. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I agree 100% with all you said about pain and healing. I am going to try the drying up advice. He is 16 months and we were going to wean him anyway.

  29. Pingback: “M” is for. . . | momaste

  30. Pingback: “M” is for. . . | momaste

  31. Iam a breast feeding mom bt now my breast wanted to be scrached and i do scraching all the time and now its sore even when a baby suck ,,is the something wrong? Can it affect my baby?

  32. I found your blog because I am doing my homework ahead of time. I love children, and I don’t have any yet, but I am so excited (and freakin’ scared!) to start.. so that’s why I am reading everything I can find. I really enjoy your no-nonsense-this-is-me-and-if-you-don’t-like-it-i-don’t-care attitude and your openness when you’re sharing your vulnerabilities with the whole wide world. I really appreciate your candid blog posts. They have been a great help and a wealth of information for me. Thank you.

  33. Pingback: My Boobs Are Sad | momaste

  34. Thank you for sharing your experience. I loved your humour in this article and whilst it didnt answer any questions about my traumatised nips it was very informative. Please let me know if you have any other mum related articles as I would love to have a read. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I’m so sorry that you have nip trauma and that my post wasn’t helpful, but thank you so much for your kind words!! Hugs and good luck to you on your nursing journey. Many of my other posts are parenting/mum related. Feel free to explore and thanks so much for visiting!! Xoxo

  35. Pingback: Hey, Remember That Time I Casually Mentioned Breastfeeding to My Spirit Animal? | momaste

  36. Any sacrifice is worth helping my little baby. But nursing has been very hard on me. Thank you for letting me know that when my nipple is bleeding, the blood will not harm my little one. I hope that I get better at nursing. After I am done nursing, I will be look into different cosmetic procedures to help me get the shape and look for my breasts that I had before I started nursing. http://www.drchristophernewman.com/breast-procedures-st-petersburg/augmentation/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s