Cracked nipples and mastitis

Have you recently given birth and are you breastfeeding? Do you have sore nipples or breasts? Then there is a good chance that you suffer from cracked nipples or a breast infection.

Cracked nipples

Cracked nipples are common in women who are nursing for the first time. They last several days and cause the most pain during nursing. Causes of cracked nipples are usually; the way the baby is positioned, dry, chapped skin, a bra that is too tight, dampness of the nipple and areola, hypersensitivity reactions to disinfectant creams and sprays.

What can you do about it?

  • Start by giving the least painful breast.
  • Give the painful breast when the milk has flowed.
  • Don’t delay feeding. Put the child on more often, but for a shorter period of time.
  • Try a different position; Place the baby a little higher on a pillow or place the baby with its head directly in front of the nipples.
  • If necessary, use a nipple shield.


Nipple care

  • Keep the nipples dry and clean; rinsing with water and then drying is sufficient.
  • Do not use disinfectant ointment, cream or spray.
  • Do not wear a bra that is too tight; this can make the problem worse.


Breast inflammation (mastitis)

With a breast infection there is often a painful, hard, red, sometimes warm spot on the breast or the entire breast is painful. The woman often also has a fever and feels ill. Treatment for this consists of an antibiotic. The inflammation is not in the milk ducts and breastfeeding is therefore not harmful to the baby.

Threatening mastitis

  • Continue breastfeeding; this promotes healing and is harmless to the child.
  • Give the painful breast first so that it is thoroughly emptied.
  • Place a cooled, wet sanitary towel in the freezer, which you can place on the painful area; this has a soothing effect.



Then there is also engorgement; these are painful and swollen breasts. There is nothing you can do about this, and you must try to accept it. You can wear a sturdy bra and cool the breasts. This usually goes away in a few days.

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