After giving birth, you are looking forward to healing and living your life as a new mother. Breastfeeding is a crucial part of the growing connection between you and your baby but dry, cracked nipples are a common part of the breastfeeding process.
Causes of Sore/Cracked Nipples, Postpartum
Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex which can wreak havoc on nipples. If your baby is positioned improperly, sore nipples and even cracking can occur.
Important Facts About Sore/Cracked Nipples, Postpartum
Sore, cracking or bleeding nipples are a temporary result of having your baby suck on them every few hours. After the first few weeks, nipples tend to toughen up and the soreness is replaced with a feeling of comfort and connection with your baby. If your nipples appear to be leaking yellow, thick fluid or discharge, and has a funny smell, an infection could have set in and treatment with antibiotics may be needed so see you tending physician ASAP.
Treatment for Sore/Cracked Nipples, Postpartum
Improper latching can result in sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. Breastfeeding is a learned process and some mothers find help from a support groups such as La Leche League. Varying your baby's position on your nipple by moving his or her body can also switch pressure points from feeding to feeding.
Other tips for treating sore nipples after birth include applying a cool, soaked tea bag to nipples between feedings, and wearing breast shields under clothing to prevent scratching of the nipple surface. Some over the counter medications like acetaminophen, may be approved to use even if breastfeeding.