Fissures are tiny cracks in the nipple that are frequently bleeding and very painful, and they typically develop a few days after the beginning of nursing a child. They are produced by the sucking of the infant, which is typically the result of improper nursing technique.


Issues with the Fissures

When the fissures are present, each feeding becomes a terrible struggle, rather than a pleasant and relaxing time of mother-baby bonding. In the long term, this may lead to the mother discontinuing breastfeeding. In reality, the baby’s sucking has the effect of reopening the fissures and so delaying the healing process of the wounds. Reduced or delayed feedings, on the other hand, can result in milk stagnation and, as a result, breast engorgement. Furthermore, the temporary suspension of breastfeeding puts the continuation of breastfeeding at risk, because if the breast is not properly stimulated, it will tend to produce less milk.

In addition to the possibility of becoming infected and thus opening the door to more serious problems, such as mastitis, the fissures frequently cause an accident that can be frightening for mothers, but which is generally not dangerous, namely the presence of blood in the baby’s regurgitation: this is usually the blood from the fissure, rather than the blood from the child. Choosing the lansinoh nipple cream  is most essential there.

What measures may be taken to avoid breast fissures?

It may be beneficial to get guidance on proper nursing technique from a midwife, for example, in order to avoid complications later on.

The breastfeeding centres active in various ATS (Companies for Privacy Greet, ex-ASL) of lactation consultants with specific training (such as International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) of breastfeeding advocacy organizations).

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What can be done to repair fissures while still allowing a woman to breastfeed?

Breastfeeding should be done in a variety of positions and techniques. Additionally, the midwife can instruct the mother on how to vary both the breastfeeding position (classic, rugby, frontal) and the breastfeeding technique, in particular by changing the angle at which the baby latches on from breastfeed to breastfeed so that the same area of the nipple is not always stressed. 

To begin feeding, the breast must be offered by supporting it with the hand rather than holding the nipple between two fingers, and by ensuring that the baby’s head is turned towards the breast without bending the neck to one side, and that his mouth is well adherent to the entire areola rather than just to the nipple. Ending or stopping the feeding by removing the infant with a finger, or otherwise breaking the suction action, is very essential in order to prevent extremely severe damage to the nipple.

Pain should be relieved

The most difficult time is at the beginning of the feeding, when the baby is very hungry and has a tendency to grab the nipple with hunger and suck more aggressively than at any other time. As a result, it may be beneficial to “prime” the breast by rubbing it beforehand to guarantee that the milk comes quickly when the infant latches on and that the feeding begins on the less painful side. The application of a little amount of breast milk to the nipple, both before and after feeding, helps to soften it and make it less sensitive.