While nursing, cracked nipples can be excrutiatinly painful. What does a mom do to help alleviate the pain while her nipples heal?
A simple neat trick is to use teething gel on the nipples when feeding, it numbs the nipples and will not harm the baby. This worked successfully for me.
Paw paw ointment is also great for healing cracked skin, it is non-toxic, but I would apply it after feeding, not before.
Avoid soap on the nipples, as this can dry the skin out. Pat dry, no hard rubbing after showering.
Carefully place some nursing breast pads in a comfortable maternity bra. Now is not the time to go braless, as the rubbing of nipple against clothing, can be painful. By securing the breasts, without being constrictive, the nipples are less likely to rub.
Another trick is to rub a bit of breast milk on the nipple and allow it to dry, I tried this, but honestly cannot say whether it is helpful, it certainly is not harmful.
Lanolin ointment can be soothing... we used the Lansinoh stuff, but lots of other options out there.
Something else to bear in mind is that a possible cause of cracking/pain is oral thrush in the baby.
This was the case with our daughter. That needs to be treated with medication, but the (safe) cream prescribed by the doc (Newmans http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&id=76:all-purpose-nipple-ointment-apno&Itemid=17) combined with Gentian Violet (http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&id=73:using-gentian-violet&Itemid=17) cleared it up in a few days.