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Sore, cracked or bleeding nipples

Sore, cracked or bleeding nipples are common problems for breastfeeding mothers.

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Nipple shields | Australian Breastfeeding Association

What is a nipple shield?A nipple shield is a thin flexible silicone cover which a mother places over her nipple prior to breastfeeding. A nipple shield is like a hat with a brim and a crown. Some nipple shields have cut-out sections around the brim that allows the baby’s nose and chin to be in contact with the mother’s skin rather than the nipple shield. 

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Nipple infections | Australian Breastfeeding Association

About 10% of breastfeeding mothers experience nipple/breast pain (not associated with breast redness or fever) that is often described as one or more of the following: ‘burning’, ‘stabbing’, ‘knife-like’, ‘shooting’, ’sharp’. It is possible that such pain is caused by a nipple infection, especially when baby is attaching well to the breast, it is beyond the first week and other causes of nipple pain/trauma have been ruled out (e.g. tongue tie). This article provides information about the causes and symptoms of nipple infection.

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

White spot on the nipple | Australian Breastfeeding Association

A white spot on the nipple may also be referred to as a blocked nipple pore, a bleb or a milk blister. It is usually about the size of a pin-head or a little larger.

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Inverted and flat nipples | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Nipples vary in shape, size and presentation from woman to woman and, for some women, left to right. Some nipples protrude from the level of the areola (see image below right). Flat nipples are level with the areola. Inverted nipples (see imagine below left) do not protrude from the level of the areola but are retracted inwards instead. Some severely-inverted nipples are fully stuck inwards while others can be drawn out with suction, such as with a breast pump or syringe.

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Breastfeeding and nipple piercing | Australian Breastfeeding Association

When a woman, who has had her nipple(s) pierced, has a baby, often the question arises about how this will affect breastfeeding.

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Sore/cracked nipples | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Mothers are often surprised to find breastfeeding feels more awkward, complicated or painful than they were prepared for. Breastfeeding is a learned skill for mothers. Like with learning any new skill, it can take some time to get the hang of breastfeeding.  Sometimes breastfeeding feels difficult because mothers have been given traditional advice to position their babies in a way that feels uncomfortable. Uncomfortable breastfeeding positions can cause your baby to squash the nipple as they feed.

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Vasospasm | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Vasospasm happens when blood vessels tighten and go into spasm, so that blood does not flow normally. Mothers with vasospasm of the nipple feel sharp pain, burning or stinging in the nipple. It is usually accompanied by sudden whitening of the nipple, followed by a colour change from red to blue.There are two main causes of nipple vasospasm.It can be a response of the nipple to trauma, if the baby is not attached to the breast well. In this case, it tends to occur following breastfeeds. Attention to how your baby attaches can help resolve this problem.

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Breasts: inside women's breasts - myDr.com.au

An internal view shows that the breast is made up of fat, nipple, glands and a network of ducts.

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How breastmilk is made | Australian Breastfeeding Association

How your breasts make and give milkThe onset of breastmilk production is triggered by delivery of the placenta which results in a sudden drop in progesterone levels.The skin covering the nipple contains many nerves that are triggered by the baby’s sucking.

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