I recently commiserated with a friend about cracked nipples. Our husbands winced and soon left the room as we discussed the piranha-like sucking habits of her newborn baby. No doubt, every mom is shocked when she has a small, helpless, seven-pound baby take a nibble of her flesh.
Despite what magazines and earth mamas declare, breastfeeding is usually painful the first week or two until your nipples get adjusted to their new job.
Assuming that your baby is latching correctly and you’re practicing good breastfeeding posture (if not, contact a lactation consultant through a nearby hospital for help), your soreness will soon pass. Here are three tips to get you through the initial “ouch” phase and into breastfeeding bliss:
1. Don’t stop nursing.
I know your instincts are to let your boo-boo heal by giving your sore breast a break. You MUST continue to nurse or pump on that breast, even though it hurts. Otherwise, you risk decreasing your milk production. With breastfeeding, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
2. Use your own milk.
Evidently, mother nature is pretty good at what she does because your own breast milk will help heal cracked and bleeding nipples. Just rub a few drops of it at the end of your nursing or pumping session on your nipple and let it air dry.
3. Nipple cream is your friend.
Apply a lanolin-based nipple cream religiously after each nursing or pumping session. I found the Lansinoh brand the easiest to smooth on and the most soothing.
Breastfeeding can have its challenges but there’s more than enough proof that the advantages make troubleshooting those problems worth it. For more about how to make breastfeeding a great experience, check out “Breastfeeding Essentials.”