Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most beautiful gifts of motherhood. However, many women suffer when they notice cracked and sore nipples. Do you know how you can treat cracked nipples?
Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tell you how and several of the best home remedies that accelerate the healing of the skin and won’t harm your baby.
Cracked nipples, a common problem in breastfeeding mothers
Women who breastfeed their children may suffer from certain injuries to the nipples (or breasts in general). These can cause discomfort or pain both during and after breastfeeding.
However, it’s not recommended to stop breastfeeding. Instead, you can take certain measures to reduce the discomfort that we will discuss here.
Overall, cracked nipples can be due to:
- Incorrect breastfeeding position.
- Failure of the baby to “latch on” properly.
- Poor drying of the breasts after feeding.
- Not changing breasts from time to time, but leaving the baby to feed only from one breast for a prolonged period.
In addition, cracked nipples can also be caused by:
- Dry skin
- Lack of (external) hydration in the area
- Candidiasis in the breasts or the baby’s mouth
- Incorrect use of breast pumps to empty the breasts
On the other hand, the presence of cracked nipples in women who don’t breastfeed is usually due to more severe conditions, some of which may require medical attention. In this sense, it’s necessary to consult a doctor as soon as possible, especially if the lesion does not heal after a few days.
Home remedies to treat cracked nipples
The main symptoms of this problem so common in mothers are pain, itching, swelling, and tenderness. Because the child needs to continue feeding, cracked nipples take too long to heal.
In addition, if we add to this the fact that we can’t use certain substances because they can poison a baby, the healing process is often prolonged. However, the good news is that there are different home remedies to reduce pain and irritation. Let’s take a look at them below.
1. Breast milk for cracked nipples
First of all, this is the simplest remedy of them all! You can use some of your breast milk itself, as it has healing and antibacterial properties.
- After breastfeeding, put some in a container and take it to the fridge to cool down.
- Apply it every time you finish feeding your baby.
- Repeat several times a day.
2. Egg membrane
When we open an egg, you may notice a kind of dense, transparent “cloth” attached to the inner side of the shell. This membrane has many healing properties, so it’s recommended to place it on the injured nipple to help heal it.
- When you do this, just let it dry well.
- Then, rinse off before the next feeding.
3. Warm water and air
Thirdly, this is a formula that other mothers and grandmothers often tell new mothers:
- After breastfeeding, wash your breasts well with warm water. If you like, use a little white soap.
- Then, dry with a soft towel.
- After, leave your nipples to “air dry” and let them dry completely.
- It’s not advisable to use a hairdryer, as the hot air can irritate your nipples even more.
4. Olive oil for cracked nipples
Olive oil is an excellent natural option. However, you can also choose sweet almond or coconut oil (or those your pediatrician indicates as suitable).
They will help to hydrate your skin and keep the area moisturized. At the same time, this oil reduces cracks and sores.
- Remember to keep it warm and repeat the procedure every time you finish breastfeeding your baby.
- Apply with gentle circular movements and do not rinse. It will be completely absorbed by the next feeding.
5. Chamomile infusion
Due to this plant’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties with tiny white flowers, we can’t leave it out of this list! In this case, it serves to treat cracked nipples naturally.
Multiple studies state that chamomile has been used in homeopathic medicine to treat mastitis and cracked nipples. Furthermore, no negative effects have been observed in mothers or children, except for allergic reactions in very few rare cases. In this sense, it’s necessary to be attentive to the appearance of an unwanted symptom in the baby.
- 2 tbsp. of dried chamomile flowers (20 g)
- 1 cup of water (250 ml)
- First, heat the water, and when it boils, add the chamomile.
- Then cook for 10 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Then, leave to cool for and filter it.
- Finally, when the infusion is at room temperature, soak a cotton ball and wipe the affected breast.
- Do not rinse or towel dry.
6. Calendula cream
It could be said that calendula is the best plant ally for pregnant women and mothers. This is because it has many properties for the skin and does not harm the baby. It’s recommended to prevent stretch marks and, of course, to cure cracked nipples.
The cream is available in most pharmacies. Or, if you prefer, you can prepare an infusion with this plant (with the same instructions as chamomile tea).
- You should apply at the end of each feeding and wash before the next feeding.
7. Aloe vera for cracked nipples
This is a plant with so many benefits that it’s worth having at home. In fact, according to several researchers, aloe vera has healing, antiseptic, and analgesic properties. It’s also non-toxic if it comes into contact with the baby’s mouth.
- Just cut a stalk or stalk of aloe vera horizontally to extract the gel from the inside.
- Then, apply to the nipple and let it dry (do not rinse).
- You can put the empty stalk in the fridge and place it on the inner side of the nipple.
- If you want, you can store aloe vera gel in the refrigerator to use several times a day.
Finally, we have strawberries as a curious remedy for cracked nipples. These delicious fruits are refreshing and packed with antioxidants.
- You can cut them into slices and apply them on your nipples or form a paste by crushing them.
- Let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
To increase the effectiveness, you can also combine with natural yogurt:
- 5 strawberries
- 3 tbsp. of natural yogurt (36 g)
- To begin, wash the strawberries well and cut them into slices.
- Then, place them in a bowl with the yogurt and mix until a paste is formed.
- Finally, apply to the cracked nipple and leave for a few minutes.
- Rinse with warm water and let it air dry.
More breast care tips
Medline Plus experts advise breastfeeding women to pay attention to breast care to prevent cracks and other discomforts. To do this properly, they say the best thing to do is to avoid products (soaps, gels, etc.) that dry out the skin, as well as dry the skin well once you get out of the shower or finish breastfeeding.
They also recommend rubbing a little breast milk on your nipples after breastfeeding and then gently drying them with a soft towel once it’s dry. This will help prevent cracking and infection.
Finally, they also say that if you have cracked nipples, you can also apply 100% pure lanolin after each feeding. There are also compresses with bioactive gels that help take care of your nipples without harming your baby’s health. All of these remedies are safe for the baby and can help make breastfeeding a pleasant and painless process.