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Slits

Definition:  painful breaks in the skin of the nipple and areola.   

Nipple Tip/Shaft

Slits on the nipple tip or shaft are usually due to trauma from the way the baby is sucking.  Treatment for wounds in these areas are outlined in the Wound Healing article. 

Nipple-Areola Junction

Slits that arise in the area where the shaft of the nipple meets the areola may be due to a chronic yeast infection.   With a chronic yeast infection, the skin becomes inflamed and dry and may be prone to “splitting” open when the baby sucks.  These slits are more common in women who have been nursing for many weeks to months. 

Treatment

1.       Use an antibacterial ointment for faster healing; speak with your doctor about Bactroban ointment.  Use ˝ pea-size of ointment on the slit after each feeding or pumping (at least 4 times per day).

2.       If the wound doesn’t start to heal in 2-3 days, you may try using a breast shell between feeds.  This allows the wound not to be touched by pads / bras.

3.       Pumping to rest the wound may not help in this case because the pump may further “split” the skin.   

4.       **Both you and the baby should be evaluated for a yeast infection.  Speak with your doctor.  See Yeast article.