Sore and tender nipples are normal during the first few days of breastfeeding. Here are some tips to prevent and minimize nipple soreness:
- Ensure baby is latching on correctly and not pinching or chewing your nipple during feeding.
- A correct latch feels comfortable to you with minimal discomfort.
- Your baby’s lips should be wide open, turned outwards (resembling fish lips) and encompassing most of your areola (dark area around the nipple) rather than the nipple itself.
- When taking baby off the breast, be sure to break your baby’s seal first. Do this by inserting your finger in the corner of your baby's mouth and your breast to release the suction.
- Wear breast shells in your bra between feeds. This will help prevent your nipples from rubbing against your nursing bra. Use the breast shells that have the large opening (the small opening shells are to help draw out flat nipple).
- Hydrogel pads can be applied to nipples after feedings and aide in healing and soothe sore nipples.
- Do not use soap when cleaning your breast because this can cause dryness. Plain water is an effective cleanser.
- Apply breastmilk to your nipples and allow to air dry. Breastmilk has anti-infective properties that aide healing.
- Apply cream (such as Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter, Lansinoh, or Tender Care) to breast after nursing. Olive oil is another great option.
- Use cotton (organic if possible) re-usable nursing pads and change nursing pads frequently. Disposable nursing pads have a plastic lining that interferes with fresh air reaching the breasts. A warm, dark, moist environment is a breading ground for bacteria and yeast. If you do use a disposable nursing pad, be sure to change it frequently.
- Allow breast to air dry after breastfeeding.
- Consult a lactation consultant to ensure your baby is properly latched to the breast.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST