Cracked Nipple, Hurts, Bleeding, Painful, Cut, Split, Breastfeeding, Remedies, Heal

Cracked nipple can be sore, itchy or very painful depending on how deep the cut is. Just like any other wound, it can also be infected thus putting the baby also at risk of getting oral infections. Breastfeeding should not be a painful or uncomfortable process. However, nipple problems like ,nipple fissure, cracked nipple, cut nipple, split nipple or bruised nipple can make this process very uncomfortable for breastfeeding mothers. Below are some ways on how to get rid treat and heal a crack on the nipple at home using home remedies.

Cracked nipple, infected, sore, cut, painful
Cracked nipple, infected, sore, cut, painful

Nipple fissure

A fissure is a crack that forms a long narrow opening. Nipple fissure is a narrow crack on the nipple of a woman. It affects first time breastfeeding mothers who do not know how to position their babies during breastfeeding.

Ideally on the first day of maternity, the mid-wife is supposed to guide newborn mothers on how to position a baby while breastfeeding in order to ensure proper grip of the nipple by the mouth. These fissures are very painful and may bleed lightly.

Breast milk is the best remedy for soothing and healing nipple fissure .Above all, high standards of hygiene should be observed by a breastfeeding mother.

Apart from bad position of the baby during breastfeeding, some of the causes of nipple include;

  • Eczema on the nipple
  • Damp nipples
  • Use of only one breast every time you breast feed

Split nipple

There are so many nipple deformities. Split nipple is one of naturally occurring or birth deformities on the nipples. Someone can be born with nipples that have split into half or two separate nipples on the same areola of a breast. The space between them makes them look like they have split. This kind of deformity can be corrected via a minor surgery.

Cut nipple

Cut nipples are common in mothers who do not latch their babies properly while breastfeeding. The baby can compress the nipples while its mouth. Babies who are teething may also bite the nipples by mistake. These cuts can form across the cease line, around nipple or between the nipple and areola. You may also experience a cut below the nipple.

According to NHS, “When your baby is effectively attached, your nipple rests comfortably against the soft palate at the back of their mouth. If your baby is poorly attached to the breast, the nipple is nearer the front of the mouth and can be pinched against the hard palate, causing pain

Bleeding nipple

Bloody discharge coming out of the nipple is very unusual. Some of the causes of bleeding nipple are not life threatening while others can be fatal especially if they are cancerous. Bleeding nipple is a symptom of the following;

  1. Mastitis – Infection in the breast tissue
  2. Intraductal papilloma- a growth in the breast milk ducts
  3. Nipple fissures caused by breastfeeding
  4. Nipple piercings
  5. Breast Cancer
  6. Trauma on the nipples like cutting it accidentally.

I cut my nipples and it won’t stop bleeding. This is a situation that baffles many people especially when it happens accidentally in the shower. You are supposed to apply pressure on the nipple until the bleeding stops then cover it with a bandage. If the bleeding does not stop then visit the nearest hospital and seek medical help.

In case the bleeding is caused by an underlying health issue; the doctors will be able to conduct a proper diagnosis.

Bruised nipple

Just like any other part of the skin, the nipple also gets bruised when traumatized. Baby’s often bruise and cut their mothers nipples during breastfeeding especially when the latching is done poorly .It is very difficult to breast feed with a sore nipple because it hurts. A cold compress can help in numbing the pain.

Other activities like nipple piercing can also bruise your nipple. Ice compress and salty water can be used as first aid for bruised nipple. However, you need to visit your doctor, if you have a bruised nipple that are not healing after a long time yet you are not even breastfeeding .It may be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer.

Cracked nipple breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be a tricky process for new moms. There is an ideal way of holding a baby in a comfortable position in order to avoid having cracked nipple while breastfeeding.

According to BabyCenter, “If you are nursing from your right breast, use your left hand and arm to hold your baby .Rotate his body so his chest and tummy are directly facing you. With your thumbs and finger behind his head and below his ears, guide his mouth to your breast.

Breastfeeding should be a smooth process. The nipples may feel tender and sore but if you notice cracks and slight bleeding on your nipples kindly visit a doctor. The blood may not be harmful to your baby but a cracked nipple is very painful and may prevent you from breastfeeding your baby.

Breastfeeding with a split, cut, cracked nipple
Breastfeeding with a split, cut, cracked nipple

Breast feeding with cracked nipples

Breastfeeding with a cracked nipple can be very painful. There are some precautions that have to be taken. The baby applies pressure on the nipples while sucking and if he or she is not latched properly the mother will have a rough time. The following are a few tips on breastfeeding with cracked nipples

  1. Do not wait for your baby to be hungry .Observe the babies feeding habits and feed him when he is not very hungry so that he does not exert do much pressure on your nipples
  2. If you are a new mother ensure you learn how to hold a baby while breast feeding to ensure proper latching
  3. Use a warm compress to massage your breast so that milk can flow out easily
  4. Lubricate your nipples with some breast milk before breastfeeding
  5. Let the baby begin feeding from the breast that is not sore then when he is almost full you can switch to the breast that has got a cracked nipple.
  6. Whenever you want to stop breastfeeding or switch breasts, insert your finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth and then release your breast.
  7. Apply breastmilk on your nipples after breastfeeding. You can also use other home remedies that have been recommended in this article.
  8. Keep your nipples clean and dry to prevent infection and hasten the healing process.
  9. Wear nipple protectors in order to prevent friction between the nipples and your cloth

If you are a new mom and struggling to get your baby to latch properly on the breast then you can observe the following until you master the art of breastfeeding;

  1. Sit comfortably on a chair or if you are lying down ensure you are comfortable
  2. Support the baby’s head, neck and back using your hand and a pillow. Ensure these body parts are aligned in a straight line.
  3. If you are seated, place the baby’s chest against your own chest while his or her mouth and nose are facing your nipple. Lift your breast slightly up so that the chin of the baby does not press against your breast.
  4. If you choose to lie down then ensure that the cheeks of the baby are resting against your breast.
  5. Let the baby’s chin come onto contact with the areola of your breast (The darker part of your breast that surrounds the nipple)
  6. Gently push your baby’s head towards your breast. Do not do the vice versa by pushing your breast towards the baby’s head.
  7. After the baby’s mouth comes into contact with the breast, ensure he or she takes in the entire nipple plus areola and some surrounding of the breast into his or her mouth. This will help in reducing the amount of pressure that this baby will apply on the nipple area.
  8. When you need to stop breast feeding then insert your finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth and then gently release your breast
  9. Feed the baby on the other nipple while following the same instructions

Causes of a cut, split, cracked on nipple

Nipples can cut, split or crack due to natural causes or some of them can be self-inflicted through trauma to the nipple.

1. Poor Latching

New mothers often find it hard to hold their baby properly and they end up not latching on the breast properly. The baby will exert pressure on the nipples and make them crack or even bleed. Mid-wives should train new mothers on how to hold the baby during breastfeeding.

2. Nipple piercing

Nipple piercing is very painful and may take several months to heal. Pierced nipples always bleed for the first week and get better with time as the cut heals. It is important to maintain high standard of hygiene around pierced nipples in order to avoid getting an infection.

3. Nipple deformity

Deformities on the nipple like split nipple or inverted nipples can occur naturally .Some other deformities are caused by cancer, trauma to the breast and nipple, underling health issues and sagging of breast.

4. Eczema

Eczema is caused by dry skin, chemicals found in lotions and creams that you apply on your breast or on detergents used to wash your bra. Eczema on the nipples will make them crack.

5. Breast pump

Incorrect usage of breast pump can crack your nipples or rupture blood capillaries around the breast and cause internal bleeding under the skin that covers the breast.

6. Friction

Nipples can crack due to friction between them and the cloth you are wearing or when rubbed vigorously to a point of irritation.

7. Thrush

If your baby has got oral thrush on their tongue then he or she can infect your nipples during breastfeeding and make them crack. Antifungal medication can be used to treat fungal infections.

Home Remedies for cracked infected nipples
Home Remedies for cracked infected nipples

How to heal cracked nipple using home remedies

It is quite tricky to breast feed while having a cracked nipple since the pain stings. Mothers should not have a hard time breastfeeding because new born babies fully depend on breastmilk .The good news is there are some home remedies that can be used to

1. Breast Milk

Did you know that your own breast milk has got medicinal properties? Cracked nipples can be caused by poor latching of the baby. In this case your own breastmilk will be ideal for healing the nipples. It fights bacteria and helps in the healing process

What you need

  1. Breast milk
  2. A cotton ball
  3. Clean water
  4. A clean piece of cloth

Procedure

  1. Ensure your nipples are washed clean and dried
  2. Soak the cotton ball with your own breast milk
  3. Apply the breast milk on the cracked nipple using the cotton ball
  4. Breast feed the baby
  5. After breastfeeding , apply some breast milk again on the cracked nipples using a cotton ball
  6. Expose your nipple to air so that it dries completely
  7. Repeat the procedure as often as possible during breastfeeding
  8. The breast milk will lubricate your nipples

2. Warm Compress

A warm compress will reduce the discomfort you get while breastfeeding with a cracked, split or cut nipple. It soothes the pain of sore nipples. It will also help in disinfecting the nipple. You should use a warm compress at least 10 minutes before you start breast feeding.

Requirements

  1. A face towel
  2. Warm water

What to do

  1. Soak a face towel in warm water
  2. Wring it
  3. Place it over your breast nipples for 5 minutes
  4. Let your nipples relax a bit then you can go ahead and breastfeed the baby.
  5. Repeat the above process often until your nipples feel better.
  6. Alternatively take a warm shower and let the warm water run over your breast for as long as you want.

3. Cold compress

A cold compress will numb the pain on cut or bruised nipples and temporarily relieve the discomfort. It is the best first aid for cut or bruised nipples.

Requirements

  1. Ice cubes
  2. A clean piece of cloth
  3. A spoon

What to do

  1. Before you start breast feeding
  2. Scoop one or two ice cubes using a spoon.
  3. Place them on a clean piece of cloth.
  4. Wrap them with the cloth and tie a knot so that they do not fall off.
  5. Press the ice cubes in the cloth against your nipples for a few minutes
  6. Keep doing this between breast feedings
  7. Your pain will be relieved

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is rich in vitamin E that helps in skin healing It is also soothes the nipples and gets rid of  the pain caused by sore nipples. It also acts as a moisturizer for the nipples and prevents them from being dry, scaly and itchy.

It is ideal for getting rid of eczema on nipples. However, if you are a breastfeeding mum; you need to completely wash off aloe vera from your nipples because it can be harmful to your baby.

What you need

  1. Aloe Vera leaves
  2. A sharp knife
  3. A blender
  4. A cup
  5. A clean piece of cloth
  6. Clean water

Instructions

  1. Take two pieces of aloe Vera leaves and cut them on both ends. Peel off the upper green layer from the leaf in order to expose the thick Aloe Vera gel in the leaves.
  2. In case you find any yellow liquid on the leaf, rinse it out with clean water.
  3. Peel off the green back of the leaf.
  4. The clear thick gel that is left is the aloe Vera gel.
  5. Cut the gel into small pieces and blend the gel into a liquid form.
  6. Collect the gel in a cup
  7. Apply the Aloe Vera gel directly on your nipples in a circular motion.
  8. Let it dry
  9. Wash off the Aloe Vera gel thoroughly using warm water and pat your nipples dry with a clean piece of cloth.
  10. Repeat the process 3times a day

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil will prevent any infection on cracked nipples. It has got antifungal and antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil can be harsh on the skin.

Requirements

  1. Tea tree oil
  2. A Cotton Ball
  3. Olive oil

Directions

  1. Wash your nipples or take a shower before you go to bed
  2. Mix tea tree oil with olive oil
  3. Soak a cotton ball with the mixture
  4. Apply the tee tree oil  on the cracked nipple using the cotton ball
  5. Let it settle and sink into the skin overnight
  6. Wash it off in the morning.

6. Basil Leaves

Basil leaves have got healing properties that are effective on dealing with the soreness that comes with bruised or cracked nipple.

Requirements

  1. Basil leaves
  2. A Pestle & a mortar
  3. A knife
  4. A clean piece of cloth

What to do

  1. Wash the basil leaves
  2. Cut them into big chunks with a knife
  3. Use a pestle and a mortar to pound the basil leaves into paste
  4. Use clean hands to smear the paste on the nipples
  5. Let it settle for 10 minutes
  6. Rinse it off with warm water
  7. Do this 5 times a day

7. Calendula

Calendula flowers have got antibacterial properties that can prevent an infection on the cracked or split nipples.

Requirements

  1. Calendula flowers
  2. A Pestle & a mortar
  3. A knife
  4. A clean piece of cloth

Directions

  1. Wash the calendula flowers to remove any dust on them
  2. Cut them into big chunks with
  3. Place them in the mortar and pound with a pestle to form a paste
  4. Apply the paste on your nipples and let it dry up
  5. Rinse it off with warm water
  6. Repeat this procedure 5 times a day

8. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is an anti-inflammatory agent and reduces any inflammation that can occur on bruised nipples.

Requirements

  1. Chamomile tea bags
  2. Warm Water
  3. A cup

What to do

  1. Pour hot water into a cup
  2. Add a tea bag of chamomile tea into the hot water
  3. Let it steep for 5 minutes
  4. Remove the tea bag from the hot water and squeeze out the excess water from it
  5. Rinse your nipples using the chamomile tea in the cup
  6. Let the nipples dry and wash off the chamomile tea after sometime especially if you need to breastfeed
  7. Apply petroleum jelly on the nipples
  8. Repeat the process 2 times a day

9. Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps in quick healing of damaged or bruised skin including the nipple tissues. It also boosts your immune system and prevents infection on open wounds. You are encouraged to include foods that are rich in vitamin C in your diet to get rid and heal and treat cracked nipple fast

What to eat

  1. Oranges
  2. Lemons,
  3. Red pepper
  4. Grapefruit
  5. Sweet Melon
  6. Kiwi fruit
  7. Sweet potatoes
  8. Tomatoes
  9. Mango
  10. Strawberries
  11. Guava
  12. Kales
  13. Green pepper
  14. Papaya
  15. Broccoli
  16. Pineapple
  17. Berries

You may also look at;

  1. White bumps on nipples
  2. Breast fungus infection
  3. Yeast infection under breast

Cracked nipple Treatment

Treatment of cracked nipples is not necessary unless they get infected by bacteria or fungi. Home remedies like salty water, cold compress and aloe vera among others are ideal ways of dealing with this problem and help you heal within few weeks.

Wounds on the nipples form a scab and will heal aster if you do not interfere with the scab.

A prescription antibiotic ointment like Bactroban is the best choice for breastfeeding mothers when it comes to fighting infections.  Over the counter ointments like All Purpose Nipple ointment (APNO) is also effective at killing bacteria and fungi. APNO has got antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-yeast combination .It protects you against any type of infection.

Always ensure you clean your breast properly before breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk. You do not want your baby feeding on these ointments.

If a nipple is cut off can it grow back?

Unfortunately when a nipple is cut off it does not grow back. A scar will form on the position of the nipple when you heal. The regular skin tissue is what grows back on that area instead of the unique nipple tissues.

References;

  1. http://www.mynursingcoach.com/treating-nipple-cracks/
  2. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/infections-and-contagious-diseases/bleeding-nipple–symptoms
  3. https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/common-concerns%E2%80%93mum/sore-cracked-nipples
  4. http://www.motherandchildhealth.com/breastfeeding/treating-sore-cracked-or-bleeding-nipples/

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