In case you are dealing with sore nipples or discomfort and pain while you’re breastfeeding, it is crucial to ask an IBCLC (lactation consultant) or a breastfeeding consultant for advice. They can help you find the cause of this issue.
In case you are curling the toes whenever the baby latches and you keep the body very stiff while the breastfeeding lasts, you can’t expect to witness positive effects to your health. What is even worse is that this tension and pressure may be experienced by the baby too.
So, just inhale deeply and try to relax. In this article we will highlight a few tips that will help you have a comfortable breastfeeding experience and you will witness fast healing of your nipples.
To start with, you must have a breastfeeding activity focused on evaluation of positioning and latch. In many cases an adjustment can lead to instant improvement in the level of comfort you feel while the breastfeeding process lasts. So, provide short, but regular feedings to the baby beginning with the side that it is not so sore.
It is also a good idea to numb the nipples that are sore prior to breastfeeding (you can hold an ice cube on the area for 4-5 seconds) and maybe even pump the breast until you notice that the milk is starting to flow which means that the baby won’t have to suck so hard in the beginning. It is important to point out that you should never cut the length of the breastfeeding session because the baby must signalize when they had enough milk.
Make sure that you are ending the suction with the help of one of your fingers on the chin of the baby or one of the corners of their mouth when they are finished. Don’t put the bra on right away, wait for the nipples to dry naturally or even better be braless for a while if possible.
12 Tips To Soothe Sore Nipples
So, after you have done these things, you can try some of the following tips that have proven to be useful for women suffering from sore nipples.
1. Using Fresh, Raw Breast Milk
Massaging the nipples with breast milk immediately after breastfeeding is a smart move for those who want to soothe sore nipples. In addition, breast milk has strong antimicrobial effects that support the process of healing.
2. Wet and Warm Compresses
Take a washcloth and soak it in warm water. Use the wet and warm compress directly on the nipple after the breastfeeding is finished. In many women, this practice provided instant soothing.
3. Soak Based on Salt
Pouring half a teaspoon of table salt per quart of lukewarm water and using it directly on the nipple with the help of a compress for about ten minutes can also ease the pain and speed up healing.
4. Tea Bags
There are many women who have felt relief thanks to warm, wet tea bags. You must use them immediately after you finish the breastfeeding process. However, the tea contains tannins which are astringent. This means that they can experience extra cracking and drying. So, in case you use tea bags, opt for green tea instead of other teas.
5. Hair Dryers
Hair dryers that are positioned on low mode may bring comfort when they are used once the breastfeeding is done. However, they can lead to more dryness and they can worsen the situation with cracked nipples.
Lanolin in its purified form, specially designed for breastfeeding moms is an excellent product for wet healing of wounds and injuries. This technique has proven to accelerate the recovery process by more than 50%. In case you have allergic reactions to wool, the process of filtering and purification eliminates the impurities that lead to skin irritation. This means that it is very likely that you will be able to use the product without experience any side effects.
7. Organic Coconut Oil, Olive Oil or Grapefruit Seed Extract
There are some breastfeeding mums that find relief with the help of these oils as a replacement for lanolin. In case you are planning to use these oils, make sure that the oil is suitable for consumption and that it cannot cause allergic reactions. It is the best to look for organic, virgin and cold-pressed varieties. Stay away from vitamin E oil because it can lead to skin reactions for both the baby and the mother and in some cases it can lead to toxicity in infants. Organic coconut oil comes with strong antifungal properties. This means that it is great for the body both inside and outside. You should know that you can buy such oil on the Internet too.
8. Organic Honey
Honey is one of the strongest antibiotics that come from the nature. However, if you are planning to use honey on your nipples you must purchase a type that is used for such purposes. Honey used in the kitchen or fresh honey should be avoided because it can result in botulism contamination.
9. APNO or All-Purpose Nipple Ointment
This effective ointment that can be obtained only with prescription was created by Jack Newman, a famous Canadian pediatrician. It represents a combination of a few ingredients that support healing. APNO is absorbed by the body of the mother easily and users don’t have to clean it before the next breastfeeding session begins.
10. Hydrogel Dressings
In a situation in which some mother has cracked skin on the nipples, a gel based on water or glycerin can be used directly on the nipples. Such gels are used in healing many different types of wounds on different body parts, but a few companies create products that are focused exactly on breastfeeding mums. You can easily recognize them because they look very similar to breast pads and they can be used in the bra so they can gently press the breast. Hydrogel dressings keep the moisture in the skin and in this way they accelerate the process of healing. Several scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers experienced less pain when they used such dressing and many of them experienced much better results compared to lanoil use.
11. Nipple Protectors
Many women believe that using a nipple protector or shield can keep their sore nipples safe while they are recovering, but the fact is that they can result in additional problems. In other words they do more harm than good. For instance, they can lead to low milk supply. In case you are considering to stop with breastfeeding, you can probably use nipple shields in the process of healing so you can actually feel comfortable while breastfeeding.
12. Breast Shells
In case you didn’t know, breast shells are plastic products in the form of domes that are placed inside the bra. These products protect the nipples from the rubbing effect of fabric and promote better airflow around the nipples to speed up healing.
A Few Other Things You Should Know About Sore Nipples
In case you are using fresh breast milk or the special ointment, make sure to clean the hands in the beginning so you can avoid the exposure to germs. In addition, specialists advise protection from infection with the use of regular breast washing although the use of regular soap is not recommended.
In cases where the skin on the nipples is not cracked, use warm soapy water each day in order to reduce the risk of infections. Cracked skin boosts the chances of clogged ducts and mastitis, so make sure to inspect the breast on a regular basis. In case the nipples are sore as a result of a thrush, be very careful when you are washing your hands. Health
When the sore nipples are not recovering even after implementing some changes to the latch and positions, check whether the soreness doesn’t come as a result of tongue tie or some other anatomic problem in your baby. If you want to be sure about this, you should use the help of lactation consultant. In case none of these things is the direct cause of this problem, you must consult your healthcare provider and test yourself for candida infection or some other bacterial infections.