The mantra of new mothers that we often hear is “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt”. But many find that truth far different in the earliest days.
For beginners, while being pregnant most women’s nipples are more sensitive and larger. When the new baby starts feeding on their mother, he or she creates pressure and suction nothing like anything they have ever experienced before (well, at least for the first-time moms).
Breastfeeding takes time, sometimes about an hour and your baby needs to be fed up to 13 every day. All this new pressure, sucking and saliva can trigger aching nipples.
Consider the lips that get cracked or sore from the sun or wind. The more it is wet by licking, the more it gets dry and damaged and so, you need to moisturize them to ease and protect and to help heal. The same goes for your nipples.
But pain should not take too long as you and your baby must be used to breastfeeding in the first several weeks. And so, if you have cracked nipples breastfeeding, start bleeding nipples breastfeeding newborn, or are unbearably painful, talk to a breastfeeding specialist or lactation consultant.
But prevention is better than medication, so continue reading this article to know tips for preparing nipples for breastfeeding.
Check your newborn’s latch
The secret to pain-free nursing is a good latch. When your newborn is latching on, put your nipple on the top of his mouth. This helps him latch on to the nipple and some of the areolae under it. Having some breast tissue and nipple into your baby’s mouth like this will help him feed well.
You should get your baby’s latch examined by a breastfeeding specialist or lactation consultant in the first few days. They can give you recommendations on conquering any problems and may advise alternative positions when breastfeeding to help you breastfeed your baby as painless as possible.
Check for tongue-tie
Tongue-tie affects 4-11% of infants. It means that the strip of skin that connects the tongue below the mouth, described the lingual frenulum is too little. A tongue-tied infant may not be able to fully open his mouth to take in your whole breast when he feeds, and his tongue cannot conceal his lower gum while he drinks. This results in your nipple getting swollen and frustration for him.
Breast hygiene during breastfeeding
- Wash your breast with water only when you shower or bath. The little bumps on your areola secrete oil that moisturizes and cares about your nipples. Shower gels and soaps can remove natural oil, causing irritation and dryness.
- You must air dry your nipples or just dab gently with a towel. Women are used to being taught to rub their nipples because this is how to toughen up nipples for nursing, but this isn’t recommended anymore.
- Cleaning the nipples or breasts before breastfeeding is no longer needed. Essentially, bacteria from the side of your breast can boost your newborn’s gut microbiome.
- Fresh breast milk help heal cracked nipples, so fiddling a few drops into them before and after he feeds can help in preparing nipples for breastfeeding. Always change nursing pads is they are damp to lessen the possibility of fungal or bacterial infections, such as thrush.
- Don’t increase the gap between breastfeeds to “relax” your nipples. The baby needs to feed constantly to help him or she stay strong and grow well. Always keep in mind that frequent feeding creates and supports your supply, so you must keep feeding through any pain.
When to ask medical help
When the baby and your nipples are accustomed to breastfeeding, indeed, it should not hurt. It’s worth recapping that the main reason for sore nipples is poor latching. Therefore, breast care after breastfeeding is very important. If a breastfeeding specialist couldn’t solve your nipple soreness, check with another professional and another if needed.
If your nipple discomfort continues or you see strange signs, go see a breastfeeding specialist or lactation consultant. Flakiness or white spots on your nipples could be thrush, bluish or whitish nipples could be because of circulatory problems such as Raynaud’s disease and hot redness or pus are symptoms of infection.
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