Rashmi Hospital

Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery & Maternity

190, Double Road, Indiranagar Bangalore 38

Tel: 25253311, 25251573, 25251139, 25200447

For Maternity, Gynaecology & ENT: 9880108844/9980015424

Keyhole surgeries performed

E-Mail: info@rashmihospital.com

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All your pregnancy questions answered

Cracked nipples

This is one of the commonest faced by new mothers. Breastfeeding may make your nipples sore. But cracked and bleeding nipples are not a normal side effect of breastfeeding. Nursing should never be painful. In fact, pain is a warning sign that you have a problem that needs correcting.

What is the cause of cracked nipples?

This is almost always due to improper positioning of your baby and a poor latch. If the baby feeds only with the nipple in the mouth rather than the areola [the dark area around the nipple] then you are likely to have this problem. If your baby has thrush, you may get cracked nipples and shooting pains in the breast during or after a feeding. Thrush is a fungal infection that is sometimes seen in the baby especially if the mother had a vaginal fungal infection at the time of the delivery.  Your nipples could also crack or bleed because of severe dry skin.

What can you do to prevent or improve this condition?

  • Ensure proper position and latch on. Your baby needs to open wide to take in a good mouthful of both the nipple and the areola. Your nipple should be far back in your baby's mouth.

  • Feed frequently and for shorter periods of time

  • Change positions and use both breasts to feed

  • Do not use soap, or other cleansers on the nipple. Wash the area with only water

  • Rub a little milk on the nipple after the feed. Breast milk is a very soothing substance for cracked and sore nipples

  • You may take a mild painkiller

  • If it is very bad and there is severe pain or redness or if areas of the breast itself are swollen or red [indicating a breast infection], see your doctor

  • Do not worry if a little bleeding occurs from the nipples as this will not harm your baby and you may continue feeding as long as you comfortably can