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Breast Feeding

Breast Feeding

04/14/2005

Question:

I am breast feeding my baby (a week old). I have got cracks on one of my nipples and is slightly bleeding. I am thus not able to feed the baby on that nipple.

Kindly advise, Regards

Answer:

When you are breastfeeding a baby and cracks occur this usually indicates that the baby is not positioned correctly at the nipple or is latched on incorrectly.

When positioning the baby at the breast be sure to bring the baby to the breast, and not the breast to the baby. If the baby is positioned in moms arms first and then the breast given to the baby this can result in undue stretching on nipple. When the baby is brought to the breast the there is less stretching on the nipple. The latch should show that the baby has flanged lips and with the nipple deep in the baby's mouth (most if not all of the areola {colored part of the breast containing the nipple} should be in the baby's mouth). If only the tip or nipple is in the mouth trauma to the nipple will occur.

Once you have discovered the cause of your problem, you can work to correct the problem and slowly the bleeding and cracks will heal. The blood the baby receives while nursing will not hurt your baby.

To minimize pain during feedings you can try some of the following:

Begin nursing on the less sore nipple, and once you milk has let down switch sides

Keep the nipples dry between feeding, do not use nursing pads that contain plastic

Keep the flap of your nursing bra open and much as possible

Express a few drops of milk at the end of the feeding and gently rub into the sore nipple, allow to dry (if you should thrush, do NOT do this.

If you can't determine the cause of your problem, or it continues to worsen seek the services of a lactation consultant in you area that will be able to evaluate a feeding. To find a lactation consultant in your area check with the hospital where you delivered your baby or the baby's health care provider or local phone book.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati