Prepare yourself to learn some very personal details about me. This post shall go down in history as the first (maybe of many) of the 'too much information' variety. It will come as no big shock to those of you with children, you may have already tread this path. I have a cracked nipple. There I said it. But that's not the best part...
I saw a lactation counsellor at the fortnightly Australian Breastfeeding Association meetings I go to because it was still hurting to feed him, but strangely only on the left side. The side with the crack. A crack that had been there from when Tricky was only a few days old. I got some great advice and it became less painful but the crack still wasn't healing.
I'd been using all the suggested methods of healing cracks – putting breastmilk on the nipple and letting it air dry on there (I was very tempted to answer the door like this one time, but figured the constant stream of door-to-door salesmen didn't need encouraging), using pure lanolin cream and expressing from that side and not feeding just in case it was a problem with attachment – but it still wasn't healing.
So I went and saw a fully fledged Lactation Consultant through the hospital Tricky was born at. She was happy with Tricky's latch so the next possibility of a non healing nipple is infection - in particular a staphylococci infection. Yep, I have golden staph of the nipple. Bond had Goldfinger, I have Goldnipple. Can't quite see Shirley Bassey singing about that.
Of course I immediately went to my trusted friend, Google, to ask more questions. Just a tip: never to do an image search of 'infected nipple' on a full stomach. After looking it up I realise I've gotten off pretty lightly – I don't have all the yucky bits in the pictures, in fact you can't tell there is anything wrong unless you look closely and see the crack.
I'm half way through a course of antibiotics and the crack appears to be healing – hooray! The only issue I have now is that the antibiotics need to be taken on an empty stomach... for a breastfeeding woman that can be classed as cruel and unusual punishment!
Did you suffer with cracked nipples? How did you manage? Leave a comment with your story.