Cracked nipples are mainly caused by improper teat placement. If your nipple still hurts after the baby's initial sucking, take the baby from the breast and relatch.
In addition to a good latching technique, there are a few useful tips to prevent cracked nipples:
- Never allow your baby to pull on your nipple, but keep them close enough to reach the breast properly.
- Make sure the baby takes as much of the areola as possible into their mouth, not just the nipple.
- Regularly rub your nipple with a big drop of breast milk and allow it to dry thoroughly. It is the best and cheapest ointment available.
- If your breasts are very hard and engorged, apply heat (cherry stone pillow hot pack) 15 minutes prior to a feeding and gently massage the areola until a little milk comes out and the baby can latch onto the nipple more easily.
- Use a different position for each breastfeeding session. The midwife will assist you with this.