Bleeding Nipples

Sore bleeding nipples breast feeding

My nipple is bleeding!

Is it normal to have bleeding nipples during breastfeeding?

No, it is normal to have sensitive nipples when starting out with breastfeeding, but when your nipples become cracked or start bleeding, it is usually a sign that there is a breastfeeding problem.

During the first few days of breastfeeding, mom might find some blood coming out with the breast milk (breast bleeding internally) but this is normal and due to increased blood flow, this should go away on it’s own after a couple of days.

What are some of the causes of nipple bleeding?

- Improper positioning and latching at the breast. Learn more about proper latching on.

- Leaving baby until he is very hungry before you breastfeed can cause him to become very aggressive and this can cause nipple damage.

- Breast thrush can cause bleeding nipples and sharp shooting pains.

- Not keeping your skin supple with a breastfeeding cream can cause severe dry skin in that area, which could cause bleeding from the nipple. Use some of your own breast milk to moisturize your breast and nipples after breastfeeding.

- A breast pump can also cause bleeding. You need to be careful that you do not use excessive suction when expressing with a breast pump as this can break some capillaries in the breast and cause bleeding from ur nipples.

- Breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples can also make it a little more difficult for mom to breastfeed. This condition is sometimes associated with broken nipples but you can do a few things to prevent this. Read more on flat and inverted nipples.

Tips on how to solve bleeding breast and nipples

- Check that your baby is latched on correctly and positioned comfortably.

- Change your feeding position each time you breastfeed to ensure that baby sucks with his gums on a different spot each time.

- Avoid using harsh soaps when cleaning your breasts, fresh, clean water is all you need.

- Nurse more frequently but for shorter time periods to avoid baby from becoming too hungry. This will prevent him from sucking too vigorously.

- Apply your own breast milk to your breasts and nipples after breastfeeding. Breast milk will make the healing process go faster and will also prevent infection because of its anti-bacterial properties.

- Use a breast cream every time after breastfeeding. Read more about the best breast creams here.

- You can get your nipples ready for a breastfeeding session by first pumping a little to elongate the nipple, this will also prevent nipple damage and bleeding.

- Take a mild pain reliever about 30 minutes before breastfeeding to relieve some of the pain.

- Always offer the breast that is not injured first, this will ensure that baby breastfeeds less aggressively on the sore side because he won't be as hungry

- Try different breastfeeding positions until you find one that is most comfortable.

- To help for healing you can use a saline solution (salt and water) to rinse your breasts. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in one cup (8 oz) of warm water. Soak for 5 minutes and pat dry. Apply some breast milk or lanolin cream to the breast and nipple.

- Keep your nipples as dry as possible in-between nursing sessions. Replace nursing pads as often as you can to prevent infection and bleeding while breastfeeding.

- Ice packs can also help for pain relief of bleeding nipples during breast feeding.

Should I stop breastfeeding if I have bleeding nipples?

Blood in breast milk will not affect baby in any way. If it's only one nipple that is bleeding you can try giving that breast a break to heal and continue to breastfeed from the other breast, but you will need to watch out for engorgement by expressing the milk (use hand expression if pumping is too painful). Sometimes its best to just use a nipple shield on that side until your nipples have healed. Read more about using a nipple shield.

You may find some blood in baby’s spit up or poop, but this is nothing to worry about.

Top of bleeding breastfeeding nipple page

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with bleeding nipples

- Breast bleeding after surgery

- Blood in breast milk ~ Bleeding from breast

- Sucking problems

- Nipple pain

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