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How to Prevent Breastfeeding Sore Nipples

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A lot of mothers experience the awkward and painful problem of sore nipples during their breastfeeding days. This is an age-old problem, but luckily for mums, there are several solutions they can resort to in their time of need.

The most common causes of sore nipples could be connected to an awkward position during breastfeeding, an irregular feeding schedule, or having inverted or flat nipples.

How can this be prevented? The issue of sore nipples breastfeeding can cause is natural and common. Therefore women tend to freely and openly share their experiences.

The most useful information on the topic comes directly from mothers who have themselves gone through this process already.

Because the problems can vary, in some cases, you will need the help of your physician, in others, you might need a different type of bra, and sometimes all you’ll need is a simple home remedy.

To gain more insight into this important matter, check out the advice and solutions we have prepared for you in the text below.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures include correct positioning during nursing, proper latching, making nursing schedules, and air drying after feeding. These are critical points in avoiding sore nipples during breastfeeding.

Latching

Improper latching can lead to sore nipples during nursing. The baby will inevitably try to suck harder if the latch is incomplete. You can try to express some milk before your baby latches on, to make sure they don’t miss the mark.

Update - 2019.01.17Sometimes the baby may accidentally slip due to a sudden movement which can result in a painful pull on the nipple. Suction can be disrupted by simple actions like a sneeze, a yawn, a burp, a cough, or a hiccup from either the mum or the baby

These mishaps are unpredictable and can happen all the time. The best thing is to have a sling or a tight grip on the baby to keep them as close to your breast as possible. If they unlatch entirely, try slowly bringing them back into the previous secure position.

Body Positioning and Movement

A lot of women have their methods of nursing which make this bonding experience fun. However, experimental positions can lead to incorrect motions and painful results. Here are some of the more standard positions for feeding:

Lie down

This is the perfect solution for mothers with babies under six months. Arrange your feeding cue at a time where you can comfortably stay in bed and feed your baby easily. This is a face to face position making it a great bonding experience for both you and your child.

Cradling

This is a standard position most mothers can employ. Sit back, relax, and hold your baby with both arms. The baby should be tilted, so it faces the breast and is close to your chest. Remember not to hunch over but comfortably lean backward.

Football

Also known as the clutch, this position works well as the flow of the milk comes naturally. You will need to sit comfortably and place your baby under the arm of the side from which you will be feeding it. You need to support your baby’s head and set some pillows under the babies back for extra support.

Natural Obstacles

Some women experience trouble with latching because they have inverted or flat nipples. If this is the case, try massaging your breasts before feeding to increase circulation and hopefully make your nipple swell a bit. You can also pull the skin surrounding the nipple in hopes of prompting the nipple to protrude.

Extra Tip

Wearing the right bra can contribute to the skin on your nipples and get rid of soreness. Avoid buying tight bras, as well as, bras made of synthetic material. Opt for lose sports bras, nursing bras, and bras made of cotton.

Make sure to wash your bras regularly and with mild natural products which do not contain a lot of chemicals.

Feeding Schedule

It is crucial that you keep a strict feeding schedule and stick to your feeding cues. This ensures that your nipples do not become overused and cracked. A rigid schedule might not seem like a lot of fun, but it is beneficial for both you and your baby.

After Breastfeeding

There is one golden rule to avoid cracked skin on your nipples, and that is to let them air dry. Avoid covering wet nipples with your bra or shirt. Sometimes rubbing your breast milk can help soothe and sanitize your skin.

Breastfeeding Habits

You shouldn’t abstain from breastfeeding if soreness does occur. The best thing to do is offer your less sore nipple first. This way when you switch to the more painful one the baby will not be sucking as hard as it did on the first feeding.

If breastfeeding becomes too painful to bear, you can try to express milk manually or with a breast pump. Prepare the milk in advance and avoid breastfeeding altogether.

False Alarms

If you are a new mom experiencing painful breastfeeding routines, try giving it some time to see if anything changes. There are cases where the discomfort ceases after a week or so. You will be pleased to know that sometimes this problem goes away on its own.

Baby and mommy

Ointments

Store bought products can help you heal and relieve pain quickly and easily. The only trick is to find a product which contains the least amount of chemicals and scents. The best way to go about this is to consult your physician, nurse, or pharmacist.

Make sure you read the labels on creams and ointments carefully, so as not to miss any potential allergens or harmful ingredients. Better safe than sorry.

Whenever you rub any product on your nipples, be sure to rinse it off each time you are about to feed your baby. There might be ingredients in the product which can affect the taste of your milk.

Natural Remedies

A Warm Cloth

Use a warm cotton cloth or gauze to cover your breasts before and after feeding your baby. Run the cloth under some warm water and let the fabric cool down naturally. Once it is room temperature place it over your breasts.

Ice

Some women enjoy cooler temperatures on the sore spots, and this can be easily arranged at home. Take some ice cubes and wrap them in a cotton cloth or gauze. Place the bundle gently over your nipples for several minutes.

This method is beneficial because it can be redone a lot of times during the day. It is an excellent solution to relieve pain, and it is natural and harmless.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a natural remedy for skin irritation and pain. It is inexpensive and easy to use.

All you need to do is to open a leaf of the plant and extract the gel inside it. Put the gooey goodness on your sore spots and rest assured that your pain will be gone in no time.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is very potent so be sure to mix it with warm water beforehand. Dab a cotton cloth into the liquid and gently dab it on your nipples. Let it air dry and repeat this action several times in a row.

Don’t forget to rinse off the olive oil from your breasts as it can leave a nasty taste your baby will not be too happy about.

woman-holding-her-breasts-because-of-nipple-pain

It is well-known that chamomile tea is a natural remedy for a lot of bacterial infections and skin irritation. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a chamomile tea bag can help alleviate your soreness.

Dip the two tea bags into hot water and leave them for a few minutes. Take them out and cool them down to your preferred temperature. Put them over your nipples and leave them to soak for a while.

Remember to rinse your nipples after you’ve removed the tea bags.

Biting

When your baby’s teeth start growing, they tend to bite while feeding. This is an uncomfortable period for both the mom and the baby. An efficient way of preventing this is to give your baby a cooled down teething toy beforehand.

This way, the toy will soothe any prior discomfort and put them at ease. The nursing should be painless and carefree. Proceed to give them the teething toy after the feeding, as well.

Severe Cases

In some cases, there can be severe cracks on the surface of the nipple and even bleeding can occur. This has to be taken care of by a professional. Go to your physician as this is a more serious condition which cannot be aided with any homemade remedies.

Conclusion

The issue of painful breastfeeding requires you to address the problem on time. There are many healthy solutions and comfortable precautions to decrease irritation and prevent soreness efficiently.

We have sorted out some in-depth advice for you to try and apply to your everyday life as a mommy. Follow our tips on correct positioning during feeding, secure latching, organizing a schedule, and picking the right bra.

There are also safe measures you can apply with some simple homemade remedies which can help alleviate pain and soothe your skin. Whatever home remedy you do end up using, remember to wash it off before breastfeeding your little one. Keep in mind that natural home remedies are usually healthier than store-bought ointments or creams but their effect takes a longer time.

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