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Cracked Nipples

by Tammy Frederiksen, Matheson Island, Manitoba

My labour was routine, with my water breaking at noon and Rebekka making her entrance at 10 PM. When she was placed on me I felt overwhelming joy. I put her to my breast immediately, but she didnít do anything. So much for my romantic ideas that we would both be great at breastfeeding immediately.

After Rebekka and her dad came back from her being measured, I tried again. I was not prepared for the frustration I felt. Rebekka wasnít latching on properly. I was tense, and not positioning her right. My nipples became cracked and were bleeding.

I began to express a bit of colostrum and put it on Bekkaís lips. This caused her to open her mouth wide so she could latch on properly. The football hold also helped. Nursing was extremely painful with cracked nipples: every time she latched on I was in tears.

Two nurses helped me. One suggested I put teabags on my nipples to heal them, and there I was with my breasts hanging out, trying to balance dripping teabags. I donít recommend this remedy.

The other nurse, herself breastfeeding, suggested I express some colostrum on my nipples and rub it in. It worked. Of course it would, with all those antibodies and good things breastmilk is made of! After two days, no more cracks and no more bleeding. Bekka and I have never looked back. She is now nine months old and still nursing. Breastfeeding is a treasured gift my daughter and I have together. Stick with it.


It Hurt While I Nursed

by Nona Sheppard, New Germany, Nova Scotia

After a long labour, my beautiful daughter was born 10 seconds to midnight. My exhaustion turned to awe. She roomed in with me and I remember keeping my hand on the bassinet while I tried to rest.

She woke me every two hours for feedings; it hurt while I nursed but I assumed it was part of the adjustment in the beginning.

A day and a half later we were home, Holly wanted to nurse for long periods. She would suck for two or three hours at a time. My nipples hurt more and more. They both bled, became cracked and seemed bruised. My left nipple became half a gash, and was extremely painful. Yet, if Holly didnít nurse on that side it became engorged because I couldnít express well. This led to a plugged duct.

Why me? I ended up with mastitis and was within a millimeterís width of giving up.

I nursed her only on the right breast for a while, to give the injured one time to heal, and learned to express my milk to relieve fullness. I got total bed rest, and was able to avoid antibiotics. I rested and prevailed. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, and I made it! I nursed Holly for 18 months, until I became pregnant again.

My second daughter was the complete opposite: she nursed fast and short and I had not difficulties at all. I am grateful for both opportunities to bond and nurture through breastfeeding.





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