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Cracks in the nipples during breastfeeding: causes, treatment


Breastfeeding is a very important, delicate process.This is not only a way to feed a child, but also an important act of uniting the mother with her baby.However, very often the joy of motherhood and natural feeding is overshadowed by the appearance of painful cracks on the halos of the nipples.

The appearance of breast cancers is very dangerous, some women are advised not to breast-feed at all in severe cases of this problem.Small cracks can become an entrance gate for various pathogenic microorganisms, provoke inflammatory, purulent processes in the tissues of the breast and the mammary gland itself.

Table of Contents: Why can nipples crack?How to determine a crack on the nipple?Should I stop breastfeeding?What can not be done if the nipples are cracked?How to treat cracks in the nipples?

Why can nipples crack?

Cracking nipples

Cracks in the nipples during breastfeeding are the most common reason for young moms to turn to a specialist doctor. Mammologists distinguish a number of the following negative factors provoking this pathology:

  1. Inability of the child to completely grasp the halo of the nipple.This happens when the baby is attached to the chest incorrectly, with the stomach up, not parallel to the body of the mother.Due to incorrectly distributed pressure on the nipple, thin skin can burst.More details about the rules of applying the baby to the chest and the choice of postures for feeding read here.4latch_small
  2. Attempts to pull the nipple out of the baby's mouth.This leads to the fact that the child squeezes his chest jaws, resisting, capricious, trying to hold the halo of the nipple and injuring him.
  3. Hypovitaminosis of the skin in the mother, lack of vitamins A and E - a building material for skin cells.
  4. Absence of necessary care for the upper layer of the skin on the chest and nipples.During breastfeeding, the skin more than ever needs constant moisturizing and the most delicate handling.Do not wash your breasts with a normal washcloth and shower gel, since aggressive soap components wash off the necessary protective grease from the nipple.As a result, the upper layer of the skin drains, cracks, becomes easily susceptible to any, even light pressure.
  5. Candidiasis of the oral cavity in a child.
  6. Incorrect application and use of the breast pump, too aggressive pumping.
  7. Formation of an allergic reaction of the body to the use of special creams, ointments or oils.
  8. Insufficient performance of the rules of hygiene of the breast during the feeding.Dried saliva of the child, leaking milk, a bra from an unsuitable fabric easily tramples the squashed skin on the chest, which leads to the formation of small wounds and cracks.
  9. Sometimes, cracks in the aureoles may appear due to mechanical trauma by the child's first teeth.

In order to determine the exact cause, it is necessary to consult a mammologian who, after carrying out the necessary tests and a detailed survey, will be able to help understand what caused the appearance of painful cracks in the nipples.

How to identify a crack on the nipple?

Cracked_nipples Small lesions that result from breastfeeding can be easily recognized by every mother.Most often, the crack in appearance looks like a slotted paper, which starts directly from the center of the nipple and can be stretched to the very edge of the halo. Such wounds can secrete a sap and even bleed.Attempts to carry out a new feeding session bring unbearable pain, giving itself to the center of the chest.In some cases, the temperature rises, there is weakness in the whole body.

Cracks can occur either singly or as multiple.If the mother did not stop trying to feed after the formation of cracks, then it can subsequently lead to the formation of abscesses, inflammation, ulcers.

Should I quit breastfeeding?

Important! Sometimes moms, frightened, completely stop breastfeeding for a while, until the nipples heal.This is fundamentally not true, since with too long regeneration of tissues, complete inhibition of lactation can occur, and the baby will remain without priceless mother's milk.

If the wound is relatively small, then you can continue lactation, using special nipple pads, which are easy to buy at any pharmacy .They consist of hypoallergenic materials, when applied, put the nipple of the nipple in a special vacuum and do not allow additional pressure on the nipple, while maintaining its nutritional function.The expert will help to choose the correct size of the lining on the chest.

If the wounds are deep, then you need to gently squeeze the milk into a teaspoon and give the baby so that milk production does not stop the breast and prevent the baby from weaning from the taste of natural breast milk.At the same gentle, damaged skin on the nipples must necessarily be subjected to intensive treatment.

Location-cut-out-on-overlay-for-nipple( 1)

In cases where intensive breastfeeding leads to the formation of inflammation, ulcers, abscesses, then to disinfect the child, lactation is completely stopped, actively treated by the mother and is not returning to breastfeeding.

What can not be done if the nipples are cracked?

Very often, the violation of the integrity of the nipple puts women in an awkward position, who begin a wrong and ineffective treatment, without consulting a doctor, sometimes leading to more serious and dangerous consequences for health.

In no event can the following procedures be carried out:

  1. Nipples Wash the chest with soap, especially those containing a large amount of alkali or odorous substances.The probability of not only additional inflammation of the tissues with soap substances is great, but also an allergic reaction.
  2. Use external medicines containing antiseptic substances, and take antibiotics inward, appointing them yourself.The high content of active antibiotic substances in pharmaceuticals will ensure their entry into breast milk and additional intoxication in the child.In addition, an improperly selected antibiotic can destroy a beneficial microflora and lead to the formation of a large number of negative side effects.
  3. Treat the nipples with alcohol solutions of iodine and brilliant greens.This will lead to coarsening of the skin on the nipples, cauterization of living cells and tissues and complete loss of nipple sensitivity.The same applies to any type of alcoholic antiseptic used, usually for the treatment of damaged skin and wounds.
  4. To create conditions under which pathogenic microorganisms will actively develop.The best way to get bacterial infection: to provoke the appearance of a moist environment around the nipple.

Treatment of cracks in the nipples should only occur on the advice of a specialist and under its strict control.

How to treat cracks in the nipples?


The cracked nipples are treated with a set of special measures aimed at the speedy regeneration and recovery of breast cells and tissues.

For , the following external agents are used to heal minor wounds on halos:

  1. Ointments and creams containing safe, hypoallergenic healing components: dexpanthenol( Bepanten, Panthenol-D), zinc oxide( zinc oxide solution, Sudocream),Softening ointments based on lanolin( Purelan).They soften the skin, restore the protective layer of the epidermis, quickly heal cracks and prevent small bacteria from entering.
  2. If cracks in the nipples were provoked by hypovitaminosis, then it is recommended to use a special milk and soft creams with a high content of vitamins A and E( retinoic ointment, Radevit).They not only nourish the cells with the necessary trace elements, but also restore the beauty and elasticity of the skin.
  3. Ointments based on natural plant extracts( Mustela, Wulnuzan) and mineral oils( Mama Donna, Mom Comfort).Their components contain a large number of substances that promote the rapid healing of the nipple's skin, restore the necessary functions and attractive appearance of the breast.
  4. Wound healing ointments and creams containing antibiotics.Used only as directed by a doctor.Before feeding the nipple is treated with a disinfectant( Veromistin, Miramistin) so that the components of the active substance of the ointment do not poison the child.

Please note: all the above creams and ointments except Purplean, it is necessary to wash off before feeding the baby.

For accelerated healing, you need to consume useful vegetables and fruits, nuts and grains containing a large number of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the body of the young mother .It will be best to select together with a specialist doctor a special vitamin-mineral complex compatible with lactation.

You will also need to pay a lot of attention to personal hygiene, often change the pads on the chest, closely monitor the condition of the nipples and mouth of the baby.

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