Have you stopped breastfeeding your child as it hurts a lot? A painful condition like sore or cracked nipples can come in the way of feeding. Read on to know what causes it and how you can heal it.
By Dr Rinky Kapoor
New mother Neeta is struggling to breastfeed her six-month-old baby boy. The prime reason is that she has a cracked nipple due to feeding. To make matters worse, she has also developed fever and soreness of the breast is refusing to heal.
Neeta is not alone. New mothers often come across this problem of painful cracked nipples during breastfeeding. One of the most common reasons for young mothers to stop breastfeeding their infants is sore or cracked nipples.
Why does breastfeeding result in cracked nipples?
There could be several reasons behind cracked nipples. The main causes are:
What should you do to prevent it?
Generally, all maternity hospitals and doctors conduct awareness for new mothers on the techniques of correct breastfeeding. It is a must-attend for new mothers.
If the pain is more, should you stop feeding my baby?
The cracked nipple can be painful. However, you should not stop feeding the baby as the lubricants secreted by the glands on the nipple skin and, the breast milk, have healing properties.
If it is very painful, you can use a nipple shield to protect the skin of the nipples while the baby sucks on the breast.
In some cases, it becomes too painful for the mother to continue feeding, in such cases, one can express the milk and feed the same milk to the baby with a bottle, till the nipple heals. If the skin gets infected and there is tenderness in the breast and the mother develops fever, she must take a course of antibiotics and resume feeding as soon as she can. Abstaining from feeding for too long will lead to breast engorgement which will add to the discomfort
Can painkillers be used to treat the condition?
Anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed to you by your doctor depending on the severity of the cracking and pain. If you feel that the pain is not tolerable, and you need painkillers. However, do it in consultation with your doctor only and try to limit the number of days you are taking the medication as traces of these medications may travel to the baby in the breast milk.
Are there any other infections which can result in sore nipples?
Cracked nipples can also be due to:
How to treat cracked and bleeding nipples at home?
The author is a consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon.
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