Boob Battle Wound

I am lucky in that pumping comes easy. With the Medela, I can get 6 ounces in about 7 minutes. The problem I’m realizing is the pump pulls on my nipple really hard. And it’s now cut into it somehow. It’s a little hard to explain, but I can’t post a picture on this. I used the word “severed” to Phil and he put his hands over his ears. I guess saying “my boob is severed” isn’t for the faint of heart.

I have been putting neosporin and the lanolin on it daily, but if I use the automatic pump, it pulls the wound open again. So I’m really trying to limit how much I pump.

I’ve been trying to find a different angle for the pump and also got a hand pump that seems a bit more gentle. But have any of you experienced this before? These wounds are nearly impossible to heal because it’s not like I can take a break from breastfeeding.

I also have to put Emmett on it in a certain way or else it feels like he’s biting down on the area. Not fun.

Anywho, any advice out there?


Picture of mom-baby via Shutterstock

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  1. by steph

    On March 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I used the Avent manual pump for travel and loved it. Maybe that would be gentler? Also, be careful with Neosporin just in case Em might be allergic. I am allergic to sulfa and had a bad reaction to it as a baby.

  2. by Jill Cordes

    On March 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Steph–that is great advice about the neosporin. I had no idea!

  3. by Mamma of 7

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Have you tried hand expressing? You should be able to do that without stressing the nipple and while you might not get as much milk on that side it will buy you some days of healing. I would nurse exclusively on the other side.

    Also, is there a chance that the lanolin, by keeping the wound moist, is actually stopping it from scabbing up and healing?

  4. by Jenny G

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm

  5. by Pam

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I agree to stop the lanolin. I never used it because a doctor friend of mine told me that it just kept the nipple supple and moist to break open again. Let it toughen up and you won’t get the wounds anymore. Best breast feeding advice I’ve ever gotten. Also, breast milk always healed my baby’s wounds quickly. Why not yours?

  6. by Olga

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Dear Jill,

    Which Medela are you using? I found the hospital grade Medela Symphony to be most gentle. It should be available for rent.

  7. by Ramona Jimena

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I had the same problem. Omgosh it hurt so bad. The lactation nurse told me the pump was too big for my nipples. They make inserts to make the part that goes around your areola (spelling) smaller. It made all the difference in the world. Also there is nipple butter (made by the pharmacist).

  8. by adrienne

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    It sounds like your flanges may be the wrong size (too small). The pump should not be cutting into you. Do you have a local lactation consultant that you can contact?

    A silicone nipple shield (Medela makes great ones) might help with the regular breastfeeding and allow you to heal, but they can restrict flow, so prolonged use can cause problems.

    “Severed” makes me really alarmed. As a mom who was hospitalized six days for mastitis, I can attest that infections in the skin are very dangerous. Also, you may be risking permanent nerve damage depending upon the cuts and how they heal.

    Your OB is a good first contact and will probably recommend a breast surgeon for consultation (yes, they do maintenance on regular equipment in addition to the enhancements the profession is known for).

  9. by Rachelle

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I agree with other posts about our breastshield being too small. Contact a lactation consultant ASAP, and medela has lactation consultants you can email as a first line
    of defense.

  10. by Jacquie

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm


    Try a different cup size maybe yours is too small. It shouldn’t be touching the nipple like that. The medela comes with a standard 24 mm cup but you can buy other sizes. Also just go heavy with the lanolin. You can also go to the webiste of an Internationally known lactation consultants website and read her information sheet and contact her if you’d like but she is the BEST and been a lifesaver to me. Her name is joan Fisher and the website is

    Good luck

  11. by adrienne

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Oy. I wrote this once before, and apparently it didn’t post.

    It sounds like your flanges are the wrong size (probably- though not certainly- too small). A lactation consultant can help sort this out. No pump should be cutting into flesh even at the highest setting.

    A silicone nipple shield can help you heal during regular breastfeeding (Medela makes great ones that are sold at places like Target). Lactation consultants caution against their prolonged use because they can restrict milk flow.

    The open cuts and use of the word “severed” are alarming.

    As someone who has had serious mastitis twice (once requiring surgery and once requiring a week’s hospitalization and a medical order to stop breastfeeding that infant entirely), this can get really serious very quickly. You could be looking at an abscess (surgery) or an infection of the tissue, milk ducts, or even your blood.

    Your OB can (and probably will) recommend an excellent breast surgeon (they do maintenance on standard issue parts, not just upgrades). The surgeon can help prevent surgery, hospitalization, and (don’t mention this to Phil) permanent nerve damage.

    Please don’t take this lightly. Some simple treatment now might help you meet long-term breastfeeding goals.

  12. by Lydia Beiler

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I feel your pain. My daughter had thrush (in her mouth) recently and I therefore got it too. I had some SERIOUS cracks and they were incredibly sore. In fact it hurt so bad I about screamed when I nursed her. ANYWAY…not really what you were wanting to hear!

    As far as clearing up the crack, my lactation consultant (supposedly the best in PA) told me to sleep on a towel at night and go bra-less. Allowing the crack to get air will help it heal. The other thing she suggested was to stop all Lanolin etc. (because the moisture prevents the crack from healing) and then before bed putting a warm washcloth on your breast for a bit, then blow dry the crack (using the cool setting of course!), holding it open as much as possible. The idea is to get it dried out so that it can heal from the inside out. Make sense? Those things made a HUGE difference with my healing.

    Hope you get things cleared up and feel better soon!

  13. by Patricia Diaz MD Pediatrician

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Hi there. Im a pediatrician and also a breastfeeding coach. These type of skin lesions are frequent with an inadequate breastfeeding technique where the baby just pulls from the moms nipple and not the areola (from where it should be pulling). Other reason its when you use the electrical pumps that are too vigorous. I recommend that you start pumping manually and on the nipple lesions start putting some of the same breast milk you are producing. Also and if its possible spend sometime without shirt and bra while you are at home, so those wounds heal faster. If you wish further advice write me at my email or webpage.

  14. by ParentsInk

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Ouch! I like Bag Balm. I’ve nursed 7 kids, and have had a variety of things happen over the course of these 20 years and the best thing I have found for boobie boo boo’s is Bag Balm.

    Put it on when you can go bra-less and wipe it off before you nurse or pump. It was created for the chapped teets of dairy cows and really does promote healing. You just don’t want to wear it all the time. When you don’t have it on, make sure you a very dry (no excess milk or anything). Hope that helps.

  15. by jessica

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    TAKE A BREAK FROM PUMPING UNTIL IT HEALS!! lol If you stop, your breat should heal within a few days. If you keep punping, it will only get worse.

    Best of luck!

  16. by Jill Cordes

    On March 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks Dr Diaz and all you moms who have given excellent advice. I am going to try letting air get to it, get some nipple shields, and try and use the electric pump as infrequently as possible. I will let you know how it goes. I’ll try bag balm and some of the other remedies if this doesn’t work. Oh, and I’ll get bigger flanges. Stay tuned! Ouch.

  17. by SS

    On March 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I got what seemed like rug burns from the ‘comfort fit’ flanges- the hard plastic ones caused far fewer issues for me. Also consider trying Motherlove Herbal Nipple Cream (1 oz) when you are getting ready to nurse- like lanolin it’s safe for the babies, but it was also easier on me- if you are allergic at all to wool you can react to lanolin… Good luck!