If you thought the pain of being a parent peaked during labor, then think again. Yep, while the thought of pushing a whole human out of your vagina sounds like the most nightmare-inducing pain you can imagine, let me introduce you to something equally as terrifying: having your nipple bitten off during breastfeeding.
This is exactly what happened to one new mom, who took to TikTok to share her experience. "Let me tell you how my nipple fell off," Jasmine Chiswell told her 16.4 million followers last week. "I've been breastfeeding my baby for almost a year," she went on, explaining that although her son has "tried to bite" her before, it wasn't "quite like this".
Jasmine recalled how she felt her baby bite down on her nipple and, although it hurt, she thought nothing of it. "When I woke up in the morning, my husband got a fright – my shirt was covered in blood," she said. Jasmine then revealed that her nipple was "hanging off."
"I instantly screamed," she continued. "I'd been warned that this could happen and that the nipple will just fall off." Jasmine said that "after freaking out", she got a bandage and an ice pack under advice that her nipple would "stick itself back together."
@jasminechiswell Replying to @scarecrowtails_2022 ? Made You Look - Meghan Trainor
With her followers left with plenty of unanswered questions about the nipple fiasco, Jasmine later gave an update on how she's healing. "Okay, so here's an update," she told her fans a few days later. "Basically I got told that it [her nipple] will stick itself back together," she went on. "I kid you not. They were not lying. It there bruising? Yes. Is it crusty? Yes. But, it's stuck together!"
@jasminechiswell Replying to @timmytimmytimmytimmy.t ? Say It (To My Face) - Meet Me @ The Altar
So, can your nipple actually fall off during breastfeeding?
"It’s almost physically impossible for babies to bite while they are sucking but they may bite when they are finished or when teething," experienced midwifery sister and podcaster, Midwife Pip, tells Cosmopolitan UK. "The biting may cause pain and nipple damage but your nipple will not fall off."
However, that's not to say that nipple damage doesn't happen at all. "A baby with teeth may cause more of an injury to the nipple but this is rare and should not be a concern for expectant or new moms when deciding whether to breastfeed," she adds.
Notably, Midwife Pip says: "Nipple damage is a common sign of an underlying issue such as latching or an oral restriction like a tongue tie. Nipple damage, especially in the early weeks should alert you to have a breastfeeding check with a health care professional."
How can you protect your nipples when breastfeeding?
"The best way to protect your nipples whilst breastfeeding is to take time and care over your latch, ensuring baby has a deep latch on the breast and is positioned well," the expert says. "This will mean they are feeding on the softest part of their mouth and will protect your nipple from damage."
Midwife Pip reminds new parents that: "Pain or nipple damage when breastfeeding are signs you should get a thorough breastfeeding assessment."
Can your nipple heal itself if injured during breastfeeding?
"With time and care nipple damage should self heal but it is important the underlying cause is addressed so it doesn’t reoccur," she adds, pointing out that you should speak to your OB-GYN if you're concerned about a possible infection after a nipple injury.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.