If you are nursing and have developed cracked or bleeding nipples, here are some tips.

never leave your nipples moist

Moisture on an open wound can lead to irritation or infection and prevent healing. When I had cracked and bleeding nipples, I would thoroughly dry the damp area off with a dry washcloth after every feeding. If I was out of the house, I would purposely use the freshly cleaned American Apparel scarf that I used as a nursing cover.

If for some reason I did not have access to a washcloth at home (baby sleeping on me, sick, middle of the night), I would let my nipples air dry instead of popping my breast back into my bra.

keep area clean

I know that breast milk has amazing healing properties, but if you are keeping your breasts dry and applying breast milk to affected area and it doesn’t seem to be working, use a mixture of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water.

When I needed to, I kept an airtight container of the mixture and a few cotton balls next to my nursing area. I would clean the affected area with a fresh cotton ball and mixture after every feeding, then dry.

managing pain

If pain wasn’t too severe, I would manage with witch-hazel. Witch-hazel not only is a powerful astringent but reduces pain and swelling. If the discomfort was unbearable, the use of bacitracin ointment with pain reliever become a necessity (the pain reliever is formulated with lidocaine). I would remove the substance with both apple cider vinegar and then apply witch-hazel which can be ingested safely before every feeding.

These tips are also necessary when dealing with thrush.

Check out American Apparel Nursing Cover article!


I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Ashley Karis November 28, 2015 at 7:35 am

    If you’re pumping and can afford to toss some milk. I also applied the ointment liberally to my nipples when I pumped and the pain was just too much. Afterwards, I just threw away the milk.

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