Injuries to the Nipple (Fissures and Cracks) Resulting Breastfeeding

Injuries to the Nipple (Fissures and Cracks) Resulting from Breastfeeding

It is not uncommon for a breastfeeding mother to experience nipple trauma caused by excessive suction and friction from the baby’s mouth. This can lead to cracks and fissures of the nipple, which can be quite painful and interfere with the breastfeeding process.

These injuries can range from mild to severe, and can be caused by any number of things. Poor latch, incorrect positioning, incorrect sucking technique, or a baby’s tight jaw muscles can all contribute to nipple trauma. In some cases, the trauma may occur immediately, while in other cases it may take days for the mother to realize that there is a problem.

Common signs and symptoms of nipple injuries caused by breastfeeding include:

  • Pain during or after nursing
  • Cracks, fissures or scabbing of the nipple
  • Bleeding
  • Tenderness and swelling
  • Itching
  • Increased sensitivity or reduced sensation
  • Formation of blisters on the areola

Nipple injuries can be treated by using a number of methods. It is important that the mother take time to nurse properly, making sure that the baby’s latch is correct and that the positioning is comfortable. Applying a cold compress, lanolin cream, or breast milk to the affected area can help to soothe the area and speed up the healing process.

In some cases, speaking to a lactation specialist can be helpful in trying to identify the cause of the injury, as well as suggesting alternative techniques for nursing. Altering the nursing frequency or using breast shields may also be necessary in order to help reduce the friction on the nipples.

It is important to remember that these types of injuries, while uncomfortable, do not last forever and can heal quickly with proper care and attention. If you experience any nipple trauma or suspect that it may be due to your baby’s latch, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.