Five ways to prevent & treat sore nipples
Your nipples are one of the more sensitive parts of your body, so when you start breastfeeding, it pays to protect them. Here are five ways to prevent and treat sore nipples so you can breastfeed without pain.
1) Check your latch
Make sure that your baby is getting a good latch on to your breast, and that your position is comfortable. Your baby will suck extra hard on your breast if the milk flow is restricted because of a poor latch, and that's going to hurt! Read our tips on latching and breastfeeding techniques.
2) Love your lingerie
It's important to change your bra every 2-3 days, and to change your breastpads often during the day (or night). And when having a shower, wash your breasts with water only. Even mild soaps can remove the skin's natural oils.
3) Air your nipples
After feeding baby and after a shower, it's a good idea to let your nipples air dry rather than wrap them back into your bra. Just remember that your shirt is open before you answer the door!
4) Use your breastmilk
Breast milk and baby's saliva have healing properties which help with cracked and sore nipples. After feeding or washing, gently rub a drop of breastmilk on to the nipples and let it dry in the air.
5) Keep them moisturised
The best way to care for dry, cracked and possibly bleeding nipples is to keep them moisturised. A product that comes highly recommended by midwives, mums and OHbaby! is the lanolin-based Purelan by Medela, available from any pharmacy.
Do seek out help if you are in pain and it's not going away. Often the cause of sore nipples, if left untreated, can lead to another problem, and then perhaps another. For example, you may have started off with a poor latch, then developed thrush, and then get Raynaud’s syndrome triggered by the trauma to your nipple, which means you may have to work through each issue before feeding becomes pain-free.