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    Breastfeeding nightmare: Can your nipple fall off while feeding your child?

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 20, 2023

    As social media becomes saturated with beauty, fitness, and health claims, it’s essential not to blindly believe everything you read. Recently, two new moms made alarming claims that their nipples fell off while breastfeeding. One mother, Brooke, shared how her nipple turned black at the base and white at the tip before ultimately breaking off. Another mom, Jasmine Chiswell, revealed that the tip of her nipple was hanging off after nursing her child. Naturally, this begs the question – can nipples actually fall off while breastfeeding?

    To get some expert opinions on the matter, Health Shots consulted with Dr. Bhavna S Mehta, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician-gynecologist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Chennai, and Dr. Madhu Juneja, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician-gynecologist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Kalyani Nagar, Pune.

    Nipple Cracking and Peeling

    According to Dr. Mehta, nipples can indeed crack and eventually peel off. It’s crucial for mothers to identify changes in their nipples during the cracking stage to avoid experiencing excruciating pain. Continuing to breastfeed with a cracked nipple, leading to peeling, could indicate a sensory variation. Dr. Juneja adds that nipple fissures or cracks are common issues that women face during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Neglecting proper care for these cracks may result in pain, discomfort, and infection.

    Painful Feeding

    Feeling a mild sucking sensation during breastfeeding is normal. However, if it becomes hypersensitive or painful, it’s important to contact a doctor. There are several reasons why breastfeeding can cause pain:

    • First-time mothers may experience nipple sensitivity for the first five days.
    • Incorrect latching techniques can create friction on the nipples.
    • Thrush, a fungal infection, can lead to pain.
    • Babies with tongue-tie or lip-tie may cause nipple pain.
    • Sudden pulling and releasing of the breast by the baby can result in pain and cracks, especially if the mother has dry skin.

    Breastfeeding and Nipple Fissures

    Improper latching during breastfeeding can cause nipple fissures, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Dr. Juneja advises that soap can also dry out the skin, leading to nipple fissures. Hormonal changes during pregnancy make nipples sore and tender, rendering them extra sensitive. These changes make the nipples more susceptible to cracking.

    While home remedies may provide some relief, such as applying ghee or nipple moisturizers or using warm compresses to soothe the area, seeking professional help is crucial if the symptoms persist. Adjusting breastfeeding positions or using nipple shields can also help prevent irritation. New mothers can also improve their breastfeeding techniques by ensuring proper latch and switching positions. Additionally, keeping the nipples moisturized with cream, wearing well-fitting bras during pregnancy and lactation, and seeking treatment for any underlying skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can help prevent nipple cracks.

    While the idea of nipples falling off may sound alarming, it’s crucial to approach such claims with caution. By practicing good breastfeeding techniques, seeking professional guidance, and taking necessary precautions, new mothers can navigate breastfeeding challenges and ensure a positive experience for both themselves and their babies.

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