How to Heal Cracked Nipples Fast

Sore or cracked nipples are extremely common for new breastfeeding mothers. They can be a result of your baby not latching correctly or if you’re not using your breast pump correctly. Here are some of my favorite recommendations for helping to soothe those cracked and damaged nipples.

baby crying into mom's chest

Damaged nipples can make breastfeeding feel near impossible. I remember well the feeling over my toes literally curling and me holding back tears with some of my children. With the moms I work with as an IBCLC, the pain I see in their eyes when they have damaged nipples is hard to see.

Regardless of the issue, here are some of my favorite ways to help with the pain and healing process. Even after you fix a latching problem, fixing the damage may take some time – but these things should help!

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1. Fix Your Latch

If breastfeeding is painful or you are experiencing cracked or damaged nipples, it’s essential to figure out the root cause of the problem. All the pain and healing remedies won’t help if you don’t fix the problem.

The most common culprit behind damaged and painful nipples is a poor breastfeeding latch. Fixing a latch can be as simple as adjusting your positioning, though sometimes deeper issues are at play.

2. Warm Compress

A very common solution for most breastfeeding-related issues (how to get rid of clogged milk ducts) is to try applying a warm compress to your cracked nipple. Place a soft cloth in warm water, wring out the excess water, and gently press the cloth over your nipple and breast for a few minutes. After you finish with the compress, make sure to gently pat dry your nipple completely before getting redressed.

3. Use Freshly Expressed Milk

One of the most accessible things you have while breastfeeding might just be the thing that heals your cracked nipples- breast milk! With clean hands, apply a few drops of breast milk to your sore nipples and allow the milk to air dry completely before covering up.

4. Salt Water Rinse

Create a saline solution by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt with 1 cup (8 oz) of warm water. Soak your tender nipple in the solution for about 1 minute following your nursing sessions.

You can soak for a little bit longer, but I don’t recommend exceeding 5 minutes as it could over-hydrate your skin and lead to even more cracking and discomfort. After soaking the nipple, gently pat dry.

Here is a video with more information on this method.

5. Silverettes

These silver cups are designed to protect nipples and help heal cracked nipples. Silver is an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial material that can help prevent and heal cuts and wounds.

These are some of my favorite tools. They are an investment, but you can use them from pregnancy through weaning. I personally used these with my youngest son when I had some damage from his biting, and they helped clear up the damage right away.

You can put breast milk in them, but they should not be used with nipple cream. I recommend buying these directly from the Silverette website. You can use the code TBM10 for 10% off. There are some other brands on Amazon, but they don’t use the same grade of silver. They might still work, just not as well.

6. Medi-Honey

This is a medical-grade honey ointment that is designed for wound healing. It is fantastic for nipple pain when combined with fixing the problem. You apply after you’ve been nursing and remove before latching again.

It can also provide additional protection to the breast and decrease the likelihood of chafing. You can order this on Amazon. It has been filtered and sterilized, removing bacteria and spores and making it safe for breastfeeding. However, it should be removed before baby nurses.

7. Apply Nipple Cream

I typically avoid nipple cream for already damaged nipples. This is because when you go back and forth with dipping your finger into a cream into an open wound, there’s a lot more room for bacteria contamination.

However, some women find that nipple cream is really helpful, so you can certainly try this if you want. I usually recommend it before there is any open wound. I also suggest avoiding a lanolin-based cream as some women do have allergies to this. My preference is Earth Mama Naturals Nipple Cream.

I hope that one of these solutions helps you get the relief you deserve! Breastfeeding can be so challenging but you can get through this. Let us know down below if any of these solutions worked for you or if you have any other suggestions!

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