Breastfeeding mothers often complain of sore nipples. It is quite a common problem that women face once they start nursing. It can also be very painful and uncomfortable. But with some easy-to-follow tips, you can prevent this problem and enjoy your breastfeeding journey.
What to expect when you start breastfeeding?
Mummies, remember that it is normal for new mothers to face challenges with breastfeeding initially. However, with a little patience and help, you can easily get over these challenges and continue to breastfeed your little one.
To overcome any problem related to breastfeeding, knowing what to expect can help. This is especially true for first-time mothers.
The most common problems in the initial phase of breastfeeding include:
Delay in milk coming in
Tenderness in nipples
Not finding a comfortable position for nursing
Oversupply of milk resulting in leaking breasts
If you face any of the above problems, know that you are not alone. Ask for help by speaking to your doctor or a lactation consultant who will guide you.
How to prevent sore nipples?
Now, to the main question about preventing sore nipples. You can follow these tips to prevent and heal sore nipples when you start breastfeeding.
1. Work on a good latch with your baby
If the baby is not latching properly, you will feel uncomfortable when the baby suckles. When the baby does not latch properly, the baby will only have the nipple in her mouth and her gums will press firmly around the nipple. This can be uncomfortable and can result in pain or even bleeding in the nipples.
In a correct latch, your baby will have the nipple and the surrounding areola in her mouth. If you are not able to get the perfect latch, speak to your doctor or a lactation consultant. You can also take advice from fellow breastfeeding mummies. Experiment with different nursing positions to find one in which both you and the baby feel comfortable. You can also change breastfeeding positions so that only one area of your breast does not get all the pressure from the baby suckling.
2. Take care of your engorged breasts
In the initial phase of breastfeeding, until the milk supply is established, some mothers can have excess milk in their breasts. This can cause engorged breasts which basically means that your breasts become swollen and hard to touch. When the baby tries to latch on engorged breasts, she might only be able to suck on the nipple resulting in an improper latch.
If you have engorged breasts, remove some milk by squeezing it out with your hands. When the areola becomes soft, latch the baby so that she can take the areola in her mouth and nurse well. If you feed the baby every 2-3 hours, you are less likely to face the problem of engorged breasts.
3. Remove baby gently from your breasts
If your baby leaves the breast herself after feeding, that’s great. But several infants fall asleep while they are feeding, the nipple still in their mouth. Roughly pulling out the nipple from their mouth can cause chafing on the tender skin around the nipples leading to sore nipples.
Instead, gently remove your nipple from the baby’s mouth. You can slide your little finger inside the baby’s mouth to gently create enough space for your nipple to be removed without rubbing against the baby’s gums.
4. Keep the nipples and surrounding area clean and dry
Frequent breastfeeding sessions can leave your nipples and the area around them damp. This can cause infections and rashes ultimately leading to painful nipples. Thus, keeping the area clean is important.
Just washing your breasts with water and mild soap when you bathe is usually enough to keep them clean. Dry them well with the help of a soft towel. Between feeds, you can use a soft cotton napkin or wipes to keep the breasts clean and dry.
5. Choose good breastfeeding pads with the right nursing bra
Your bra also influences the health of your nipples and breasts. Wearing a comfortable, breathable nursing bra made from soft fabric can be very helpful in taking care of your breasts.
You can also opt for washable nursing breast pads. These soft pads are to be placed between the breasts and the bra so that they cover the nipples and the surrounding area. The soft fabric is gentle against the nipples and reduces any friction between the nipples and the bra. It also keeps the skin dry by absorbing milk that sometimes leaks out of the breasts.
Being washable, these breast pads can be reused multiple times. They offer a very hygienic and comfortable way to take care of your breasts and keep them away from rashes and infections.
6. Take care of your nipples if they are cracked and chapped
As mentioned above, clean your breasts with water and mild soap. Avoid harsh soaps since they can dry out the skin and cause skin irritation.
Sometimes, nipples get chapped and cracked due to the constant dampness. If this happens, contact your doctor to get the prescription for safe nipple cream.
Change the breast pads regularly. Also, change your nursing bra since the bra can also catch sweat and milk. Wash the nursing bra and reusable breast pads in mild detergent and dry them completely before storing or using them again.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful journey. With the above tips used by mothers, you can prevent problems related to sore nipples. Remember to be happy and ask for help from fellow breastfeeding mothers, your doctor, or a lactation consultant. You’ve got this, mummy!
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