Cracked nipples is a common issue among breastfeeding mothers. It is typically due to poor latching which stems for incorrect positioning of the child at the breast.
Aside from breastfeeding, other possible causes of cracked nipples include the following:
- Sucking problems
- Nipple confusion
- Baby retracting or incorrect positioning of the tongue during nursing
It is vital to determine the root cause of sore, cracked nipples to avoid a recurrent issue.
Management of cracked nipples
Proper positioning is vital in preventing future damage to the nipples. Some of the commonly used remedies include:
- Apply freshly expressed breast milk
- Freshly expressed breast milk can be applied on cracked nipples to provide antibacterial protection. This can be done by nursing mothers.
- It is vital to wash hands before applying a few drops of breast milk on the nipples. Allow the milk to air-dry before covering up.
A warm compress can be used after breastfeeding to soothe a sore, cracked nipple. Although there are no antibacterial benefits, using a warm compress after breastfeeding can provide a soothing effect.
Salt water rinse
This can be prepared at home to hydrate the skin and promote healing of the cracked nipples.
Make sure that a fresh solution is applied daily to lower the risk for bacterial contamination. If the child does not like the taste of the dried solution, the nipples must be rinsed before feeding.
It is also recommended to apply a lanolin ointment specifically designed for breastfeeding mothers to promote moist wound healing.
Frequent changing of nursing pads
Once nursing pads become damp, they must be changed. Allowing the moisture to linger against the nipples can postpone healing. It is best to avoid pads that are made of plastic linings since they can obstruct the airflow. Choose those that are made of 100% cotton.