5 effective ways to prevent and soothe sore nipples
Dr Savitha Shetty, consultant-gynecology and obstetrics, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Bangalore guides you through the proper techniques of breastfeeding to prevent sore nipples.
Motherhood is a major learning curve for any woman, which starts from learning how to hold your little one, feeding your baby on time, changing diapers to raising them and more.
One of the first things you do as a mother is to breastfeed your little one, so learning the right techniques of breastfeeding is essential, especially while you are pregnant. If not done the right way, it can lead to problems not only for your baby but also for you. Having sore nipples is one such problem that many breastfeeding mothers complain about.
According to Dr Savitha Shetty, Consultant-Gynecology and Obstetrics, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital in Bangalore, “Women generally experience sore nipples when the baby is not able to latch-on properly. This is more common in women after their first delivery, while they are still learning the methods to breastfeed. Learning right breastfeeding techniques is very important in the starting phase of lactation till the breast milk is formed.”
Sore nipples can be prevented if you breastfeed with proper guidance and techniques. During breastfeeding, you should make sure that the entire region including the nipple and the areola i.e. the dark part around the nipple goes inside your baby’s mouth. The pores on the nipples are connected to a duct which is radially around the tip of the nipple in the areola region. It helps the milk to travel from the areola to the nipples.
“When your baby sucks only the nipple, there won’t be any milk coming out. As a result, your baby will try to suck the nipple harder, which can lead to nipple cracks. Once the whole areola is inside your baby’s mouth, it will help to milk out the duct properly. As a result, it will reduce the formation of cracks in the nipple” added the doctor.
Dr. Savitha guides you through the proper techniques of breastfeeding which can help prevent sore nipples:
1. Let your baby self-latch: Before breastfeeding, apply a small amount of your own milk around the nipple. Cover the areola so that your baby can latch on well. Help your baby orient itself and move towards the breast to latch-on.
2. Use good positioning: While breastfeeding make sure your baby is tucked in close to you, so that your nipple is pointed towards the baby’s nose. This will help your baby to open the mouth fully and slide the nipple deeply, aimed at the roof of the baby’s mouth.
Continue reading on the next page to know how you can prevent sore nipples by using proper breastfeeding techniques.
3. Adjust without unlatching: Try to adjust to your baby’s position while your baby is nursing, so that the feeding is comfortable. This will help to regularize the flow of milk to your baby without any disturbance.
4. Watch for early hunger signs: Feed your baby as soon as you see any signs of hunger, such as puckering the mouth, making suckling motions and so on. This will make it easier for you to breastfeed and avoid your baby trying to grab at the nipple harshly.
5. Keep areola inside baby’s mouth: Make sure that the entire area surrounding the nipple, including the areola, is inside your baby’s mouth. This will ensure easy flow of milk you’re your baby will not have to suck hard for it.
Here are some tips shared by Dr Savitha that can help you treat sore nipples:
- Apply a few drops of breast milk before breastfeeding, as it is the best lubricant to prevent dryness.
- After breastfeeding, apply a few drops of expressed milk on your nipples again. Allow the nipples to dry naturally after applying breast milk.
- Dip a washed cloth in warm water and apply on the breast to reduce soreness.
- Massage your breasts with oil or a massage cream after taking a bath. Do this especially on the area surrounding the nipples to keep them soft.
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