BreastfeedingWhy do nipples crack during breastfeeding and how to care for them?

Why do nipples crack during breastfeeding and how to care for them?

Cracked nipples are a very annoying and painful common problem during breastfeeding. Find out how to relieve pain if they appear and how to prevent them.

If you are breastfeeding your baby and you have found annoying, uncomfortable and painful cracks in the nipple, you should know that it is an absolutely normal problem, but that they can be easily avoided if you know why they arise.

In fact, although breastfeeding is a wonderful stage of full union between the mother and her baby (and also essential if we take into account the main recommendations of the World Health Organization, which advises the maintenance of breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life), it is not without its drawbacks. One of them is the appearance of cracks on the nipples.

What are the causes of cracks in the nipple?

There are several causes that can influence the appearance of the annoying cracks in the nipple. However, the most common cause has to do with the baby’s sucking, which is not entirely adequate. And, whatever the cause, it is motivated by the friction of both the tongue and the gums of the baby with the nipple.

In turn, they can arise as a result of an improper positioning of the child’s mouth at the time of feeding, the position of the baby when sucking, if the nipple is abruptly withdrawn from the mouth, or even if the child falls asleep with the nipple in the mouth.

Or, also, they may be due to the presence of what is known as thrush (fungus in the baby’s mouth), which eventually end up favoring the appearance of nipple cracks.

What to do if cracks have appeared on the nipple?

If the cracks in the nipple have already appeared, it is essential to have the breast uncovered whenever possible, which will help prevent and relieve pain, and thereby promote healing. For this reason, the use of the bra should be reduced as much as possible.

On the other hand, an excellent natural solution is to take advantage of a little breast milk and, every time breastfeeding is over, give yourself a few drops around the nipple.

Do you know why it is so beneficial? Because breast milk has antibacterial properties, which will help reduce the risk of infection, and it will also become the best protection to avoid cracks.

Correct position of the baby during breastfeeding

And how can we prevent them?

Since the baby needs to suckle several times for the nipple to form, the key is to correct the baby’s position when nursing from the first moment pain is felt.

And how to correct the suction shape? Very simple: it is necessary, for it to be done correctly, that the baby has his mouth open and his lips outward, covering a large part of the areola with his mouth. The biggest mistake, in fact, is that the baby sucks only the nipple.

One way to ensure that the baby is sucking correctly is to observe whether, when the baby sucks, his cheeks swell, and when he swallows no sucking noises are heard. If this is the case and you also do not feel any discomfort, you will be sure that you are doing it correctly.

It is necessary that the child’s body is directed towards the mother’s body, to avoid that the mother has to bend over to breastfeed. That is, belly to belly.

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