This is the story of how I almost lost my nipple due to a breastfeeding incident and what I did to save it by using my hippie remedies. Ok, I didn’t really almost lose my nipple but this shit hurt like a mutha and was seriously (staph-like) infected.
I’d have pictures for you of the before and after but that might be slightly pornographic. Just trust my on this it wasn’t good. Google “staph infection” and you’ll see images similar but just think nipple on a lactating woman.
How It Happened
I’ve had my kiddos bite me before during breastfeeding and it’s always healed on it’s own just fine. This time around, I was bit several times in the same place. Between that, recent high stress levels due to a bone graft, traveling, and overall having 4 kids, this got out of control.
At first I dismissed the pain as something that would heal over time on it’s own. Well, it didn’t. In fact it got worse. I had a red line of infection tracked along my breast and red painful nipple oozing something gross. That pretty much scared the shit out of me.
First Line of Defense: Essential Oils and Diet
I was already eating pretty cleanly but I made a few adjustments (taking out ALL grains completely) and added juicing veggies more frequently during the days of infection. I used a blend of thieves plus oregano oil (the big guns) diluted. The oils were used to kill the bacteria.
I stuffed cool cabbage leaves in my bra for relief. I also used calendula to heal the wound.
The Set Backs
By this time I had already developed mastitis due to the infection but after the typical 24 hours I was able to heal the mastitis by the usual ways I’ve done before (nursing, compresses, rest, fluids, etc.).
With the mastitis healed I began aggressively treating the nipple infection/hole (homemade thieves blend, oregano, calendula, cabbage). I could tell the remedies were working and it was healing…except one thing. I could not get the hole to close because every 3-4 hours I was nursing and her mouth and suction ripped the forming scab off each time. Nothing was healing this hole I had on the underside of my nipple. This went on for about a week. I kept nursing because that’s what all the breastfeeding literature tells you to do when there’s a bite or abrasion or bleeding nipples. I used lanolin while nursing and still nothing.
The Aha Moment
After discussing my situation with, well, pretty much anyone who would listen and wouldn’t first suggest I go see a wester medical doctor and/or suggest I stop nursing I used my intuition plus the support of those around me to figure out a protocol that ended up working for me to finally heal and seal the open wound.
I ended up pumping on the infected side around the clock even setting my alarm overnight for a week. I was thoroughly exhausted but pumping on the infected side and feeding on the other side worked.
I used a lot of lanolin directly on the wound and lined the part of the pump attachment that the nipple might rub against while pumping with lanolin. I saw a huge improvement in 24 hours and it continued to heal over the next week.
I didn’t realize how bad it was until it really started to heal and I could see how deep the wound was.
With continual use of essential oils, lanolin, cabbage, cold packs, pumping, eating restorative and healing foods, and time, the huge nipple fiasco of 2013 ended well. Hands down I can say this was the most serious and painful issue I’ve had with breastfeeding in the 8 years I’ve been nursing my children.