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Healing Sore Nipples
By Jane Squires, RN, IBCLC
Q. My son is nearly four weeks old and breastfeeding is getting better after a pretty rough start (he wasn't gaining, I was REALLY sore/cracked, etc.) He seems to be latching on better now and though I cringe a bit when he first attaches, it's no where near the amount of pain I was previously feeling. Unfortunately, during the difficult time, one of my nipples got really traumatized. It looks like it has a little crater in the middle of it. I keep using Lansinoh after every nursing session but since it's slightly aggravated every 2-3 hours when he nurses, it doesn't seem to be actually healing. It's not painful anymore, but I would like it to get better. Any suggestions?
A. I am glad you've hung in there, and I know how painful sore nipples are.
Several thoughts: The nipple heals from the inside out, so you may not see progress yet.
Secondly I would try to apply breastmilk to the nipple after feeding. Breastmilk is a living fluid, and has substances in it, that have in studies, and anecdotally, been proven to work.
Wear a nipple shell, available from your local Lactation consultant, or on the internet, to keep your bra flap from irritating the healing nipple.
There is a new product on the market that you have to get from a wound care specialist called hydrogel. It keeps the wound moist, and they have discovered that moist wound healing is preferable to dry wound healing. Also it is cool and soothing.
If you need to give that side a rest, you can rent or buy a pump (hospital grade) and pump on that side until you feel better.
Also start on the least sore side first, make sure baby is positioned properly. You may need to use a nursing pillow and stool. They make a great difference. Also try nursing in different postions each time, to give the nipple and areola a more well rounded experience.
Also someone should assess your baby's latch.
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