Ouch! Breastfeeding help! Cracked nipple, possible lip tie, did I mention OUCH?

posted 3 months ago in Babies
Post # 2
1076 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1995

Have you tried the football hold?  I think that one is supposed to help with tiny mouths and tongue ties.  

The only other thing I can think of is lanolin.  It was a life saver when I was nursing.  

Post # 4
1400 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Have you thought about taking baby to see an osteopath or chiropractor? I just wonder if Baby is tight on one side which is affecting her ability to latch. Generally speaking, a tongue tied baby is going to be painful on both sides even if s/he is better on one side.

I’d definitely get a second opinion on the tongue tie because your comfort is just as important as baby’s weight gain and untreated ties can cause problems further down the track. And when you do get that second opinion make sure that the Dr actually puts his or her fingers in baby’s mouth because ties can’t akways be visually assessed.

In the meantime I’d keep trying other positions (football hold, side-lying, laid back etc) to see if you can find one that’s more comfortable for you.

Post # 5
97 posts
Worker bee

My baby has a mild tongue tie, and the initial latch is toe curling. I embrace myself every time.

When he was newborn, it was so painful that I had to express to feed him. I had cracked nipples and the only way to feed off breast was using a nipple shield. His latch is much better now (6 weeks old) but initial latch is still painful (I curl my toes). 

You can try putting the nipple shield on for the initial latch, then maybe 5 minutes remove it and let her suck. I’ve found it less painful that way. Some days I will use nipple shield, other days I’ll bear the pain ( I get lazy washing it after every feed).

Other tip is to let her feed off the good breast, and pump the second breast at the same time. Then feed her the expressed milk.


Edit: I don’t have cracked nipples now, even without nipple shield. It’s just the initial latch that is painful. They suck harder at first.i think they get better at sucking when they get a bit older.

Post # 6
510 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I agree with others on both the lanolin and the nipple shield on the cracked side. I had some similar issues and it was the only thing that healed me (and fairly quickly). Also- my kiddos all had crappy latches- it took about 6/8 weeks for them to get big enough that is didn’t matter and they could open wide enough. Hang in there! 

Post # 7
138 posts
Blushing bee

qwerty2k1 :  My best advice is to be merciless with her readjusting. When she pops off and tries to latch shallower stick your finger in to pop her off and make her do it again properly, even if you have to shove your boob in twelve or twenty times each session. You might also find it helps to sort of roll your nipple a bit before starting to make it stick out more for her.

Does she feed on both sides each time or just one? I second the idea of trying to express on the sore side- maybe just a little manual pump for that side until it heals? 

I’d also suggest starting her on your less sore side as they suck hardest at the beginning. And tylenol/ibuprofen a half hour before you feed her, taken every four hours.

Good luck! Have my fingers crossed for you and your little one

Post # 8
59 posts
Worker bee

qwerty2k1 :  i would seriously consider having her lip tie revised and having her thoroughly checked for tongue tie as well by a knowledgeable provider. A lot of pediatricians don’t notice lip ties at all so if they are noticing your little ones, it is probably severe enough to be causing problems. If she is having a shallow latch and unable to maintain it, that can really hurt your supply eventually once you are out of that initial oversupply period because your body will regulate down to the amount of removal it is getting and as milk flows less easily her constant popping on and off will affect that. (This happened to me!) 

i would search for someone who does laser revisions and have it done ASAP. And I’d keep working with a qualified IBCLC – a great one will be your best asset. If the triple nipple cream isn’t a magic cure all there is definitely some physical trauma happening and from the clicking you are describing, latch is not going great. 


In the meantime can you try air drying your nipple after each feed with a bit of milk on it (i used the soft shells so it wouldn’t rub on my shirt) and get in with the ibclc and have revisions done ASAP?

last note – it’s rare to have a lip tie without a tongue tie too!

(daughter of a postpartum RN who is an amazing IBCLC, and i personally had like every breastfeeding issue ever so i sympathize!)

Post # 9
1824 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Could you nurse only on the good side and pump on the bad side until it heals more?  

Post # 10
374 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

pearlrose :  I second this. My cousin had a really bad cracked nipple on one side and her NP told her to exclusively pump on that side for 24h and apparently it was a magical fix. Just make sure you pump enough to not decrease your supply. A real pain, but worth it if your nipple can heal. 

qwerty2k1 :  

Post # 11
687 posts
Busy bee

qwerty2k1 :  I agree with PPs and try pumping the breast with the cracked nipple. I also prefer using milk on the nipple and letting it air dry instead of creams or lanolin as it works fastest and it’s always at your disposal. 

Also, I second the PP who said to unlatch completely when she comes off your breast and keep fixing the latch. I feel like breastfeeding was difficult in the beginning and the first 6 weeks were tough but I’m in my 7 month already and it is the most rewarding thing. I am keeping my FX that you can find your rhythm since this is something you really want as well.

Post # 12
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: City, State

This all sounds very familiar. My (now 9mo) son has a mild lip and tongue tie, and initially I had one badly cracked nipple but the other ok. We got there after 3-4 weeks-ish, and feeding became easy and painless. I was super strict on enforcing a good latch, i.e. taking him off if it was even slightly dodgy. I found breast milk better than any cream in healing my nipple. I’d hand express a little after I showered and just leave the milk on my nipple.

Good luck! It all seems like a distant memory for me now. I hope it all works out well for you too.

Post # 13
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Forgot to add:

FWIW I’m a speech pathologist and detected my son’s lip and tongue tie straight away. Latest research indicates that at least 60% of babies referred for tie revision don’t need it, and can breastfeed successfully with support from well trained clinicians. I knew my son’s ties were mild and I therefore wanted to try everything before I went down that route. I’ve seen many kiddos who have had ties revised and it made no difference at all. Not saying it would or wouldn’t work for your baby – I just think it’s worth being well informed!

Post # 14
2019 posts
Buzzing bee

I was going to suggest the pumping, chiropractor, lanolin and earth mama nipple butter. I don’t have an issue with cracked nips but I’ve heard from others that the earth mama butter is like a magic healer for nips. But also, you are doing AMAZING and hang in there!! You will get this figured out, it will get better and you can do it!! 

Post # 15
2543 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I had very similar issues and cracked nipples for weeks. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Honestly there was no ointment or cream that was helping so someone suggested moistening my nipples with some breast milk after nursing and letting it air dry. I did this every time and finally started healing. I don’t remember how long it took but I do remember wondering why i didn’t do that sooner.

Also, have you heard of the “flipple” technique for getting a good latch? You can watch videos on YouTube. So so so easy to do and so perfect for when they keep slipping off.

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