SORE NIPPLES AND NIPPLE INJURY

CONTENT

-INTRODUCTION

-SYMPTOMS

-CAUSES

-MANAGEMENT

-PREVENTION

 

INTRODUCTION

One of the commonest causes of breast pain, particularly involving the nipples is sore nipple and nippple injury. Usually as a result of poor latching and poor breast feeding technique, it is common among first time moms where it can be a very frustrating experience. If left untreated, it can impair breast feeding due to impair pain, which inturn can lead to breast engorgement and worsened cycle of pain and nipple injury. 

 

SYMPTOMS

1.  Nipple pain and difficulty in breast feeding

2.  Nipple redness and soreness

3.  Nipple bruise and wound

4.  Nipple bleeding

5.  May lead to or become associated with engorged breast

 

CAUSES

1.  POOR LATCHING

Most cases are caused by direct nipple injury folllowing excessive sucking on the nipples during breast feeding using a wrong technique or position, resulting in the poor lacthing of the baby onto the breast. This is most likely to occur if the baby is held such that the nipple is just inside the mouth and not at the back of the mouth, resulting in prolonged and direct sucking of the nipple instead of the whole areola. Occasionally, defects in the baby’s mouth may cause feeding difficulty and damage to the nipples.

2.  NIPPLE IRRITATION

Irritating products such as breast cleansing agents may directly damage the skin on the nipples. Also, skin reaction to allergic products or substances may cause injury to the nipples.

3.  TRAUMA

This can be due to the direct effect of biting on the nipple by an older infant or an adult.

 

MANAGEMENT

1.  Learn how to breast feed properly, see BREASTFEEDING: STEPS TO ACHIEVING A PROPER LATCH.

2.  Always start nursing with the breast that does not have the injury before nursing with the one that is sore. But whatever you do, do not stop breast feeding.

3.  Squeeze a little bit of breast milk and apply it onto the sore nipple leaving it to air dry or apply a nipple cream, especially those containing lanolin, in order to soothe and promote healing.

4.  Cover the nipple with a non stick pad, to prevent the sore nipple from sticking to your cloth, as this may cause pain when trying to remove the nipple from the cloth.

5.  With the above steps, the nipple will heal soon, but if breast feeding is impossible due to intense pain, try using a breast pump to empty the breast and feed your baby with the milk till the nipple heals.

6.  Paracetamol tablets may help to relieve the pain. You may however, be given a stronger analgesics by your doctor if this fails to give you any significant relief. Please consult your doctor before taking any drug while breastfeeding.

7.  If you notice or feel that your nipples have rashes or you suspect an infection please see your doctor to exclude nipple infection and obtain appropriate treatment.

 

PREVENTION

1.  Learn to breastfeed properly. See BREASTFEEDING: STEPS TO ACHIEVING A PROPER LATCH

2.  Keep your nipples dry and allow them to air-dry after feeding.

3.  Avoid the use of irritating soap or cleansers on your breasts.

4.  Seek appropriate treatment if your baby's mouth has any abnormalities and address them immediately to facilitate proper latching at breastfeeding.

5.  If your baby bites during feeding, position the baby so that his or her mouth is wide open during feeding thereby making it difficult for it to bite on the nipple.

6.  To break the baby’s suck during breast feeding, stick your finger between your nipple and the baby's mouth any time he or she bites you. Subsequently teach your child not to bite you by showing disapproval. Often time, a simple “no” will usually suffice.

For more information, please CHAT WITH OUR CONSULTANTS.

 

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