Apart from perhaps the first 2 weeks, breastfeeding should not hurt. In the first weeks it is mainly uncomfortable, but that first 'start pain' disappears during feeding. However, do you suffer from your nipples during the entire diet and do you see cracks or wounds? Then you may have nipple gaps. Very painful and very unpleasant. Read here how you treat nipple gaps can and how you can prevent them.
What are nipple gaps?
Nipple grooves are wounds on or around your nipple. These wounds can look like rough spots, cracks or real wounds. Nipple cleaves can bleed and can also be very painful. Especially during the diet, the pain can be so great that you can not relax yourself and sometimes women decide to stop breastfeeding. This is absolutely no sign of failure and you do not have to pay for it yourself. One is more sensitive to it than the other. Fortunately, there are ways how you can treat nipple gaps and can prevent them.
Nipple cleavage symptoms
If you notice the symptoms below, you have nipples and you can treat them right away:
- Your nipples keep the entire diet painful.
- The pain worsens and does not decrease.
- You look up to the next breastfeeding because of the pain.
- You see damage, wounds and tears around your nipple.
- The fissures can bleed (it is not bad if your baby gets it, your baby probably spits this out again).
How do nipple gaps look like?
To recognize nipple grooves is not always easy, they do not look like chaps, but more like tears or (bleeding) wounds at the nipple. During the entire diet your nipples remain painful, the pain can even worsen.
If you do not have any wounds but have a painful nipple, then you may suffer from sensitive nipples. With nipple sensitivity, your nipples are painful at the beginning of the diet. This pain disappears as soon as you have a respite reflex and your baby starts drinking.
In the first week, this pain is called 'start pain' during feeding. Almost every woman who starts breastfeeding has this start pain. Your nipples are sensitive and are not used to breastfeeding. After a week or two weeks, this must be completely over.
It is of course better to avoid nipple gaps, below a number of tips:
- Provide a good installation technique (more about this later).
- Use nipple ointment that is 100% lanolin (eg Purelan or Cold Cream from Ardo).
- Do not wash your breasts with soap.
- Replace your nursing pads regularly so that your nipples are not moist all the time.
- Use cotton sucking pads that are skin-friendly.
- Do not wear bra or shirts of synthetic fabrics (which rubs)
- Do not wear a bra with a seam running over your nipple.
- Sleep without a bra. In case of leaks, you can simply put a towel in your bed.
- Try to avoid stowage.
Perfect your installation technique
The biggest cause of nipple gaps is a wrong construction technique. This means your baby can not 'catch on' properly. Sometimes only improving the installation technique can make a lot of pain. Read more about this in our blog about breastfeeding. Also let yourself be well informed by the midwife, maternity assistant or lactation consultant. The intention is that the nipple is far in the mouth of your little one. To achieve this, your baby needs to take a big bite. If you notice that this has not been done during construction, you can try the following:
- Pull your baby a little closer to you by gently pushing behind the buttocks or between the shoulder leaves with your flat hand.
- Lift your baby one inch higher or lower him or her an inch lower.
- Push the little chin down slightly so your baby can make a larger bite.
- Is this not possible? Then re-apply.
Have you got nipple gaps anyway? With the tips below you can take care of your nipple gaps:
- Is your nipple in one place the most painful? Then change attitude during feeding.
- It can help to give your baby the least painful breast and later the most painful. By the time you give that breast your baby is already less hungry and the suction is less strong.
- Introduce your child temporarily more often and shorten the times between the feeds. So your baby is less hungry and therefore less big suction.
- Are you unable to breastfeed, but do you want to give breast milk? Then go fry. Flasks by hand are the least painful.
- Cool and anesthetize your nipple for feeding with ice cubes in a towel.
- Do not use teat caps.
- Always turn to a lactation consultant!
Treating and preventing nipples with Aman balm
Treating nipples with dry wound healing
There are several ways to treat the nipple gaps: dry wound healing or wet wound healing. Both are possible although some experts swear by wet wound healing, but dry wound healing seems to be better if your baby has thrush. Dry wound healing:
- Let your nipples air dry after feeding (not with a towel or immediately put on your bra). Put a small drop of breast milk on your nipple, this contains good antibodies (do not do if your baby has thrush).
- Use breast shells, breast cups or nipple protectors and wear them under your clothes. They ensure that good air circulation takes place at your nipples and can absorb leaks.
Treating nipples with wet wound healing
Some experts say that wet wound healing is faster and more beautiful. You can do the following: