Sore Nipples – A Common Problem During Breast Feeding

July 31, 2017 - Comment

Most women experience sore nipples at some period during their breast-feeding course, especially during the first 2 weeks postpartum. How can this be avoided? Frequent, short nursing, repositioning the infant at the breast, applying cold packs or heat to breasts, avoiding irritating soaps or lotions on nipples, air drying nipples after nursing, exposing nipples to

Most women experience sore nipples at some period during their breast-feeding course, especially during the first 2 weeks postpartum. How can this be avoided?

Frequent, short nursing, repositioning the infant at the breast, applying cold packs or heat to breasts, avoiding irritating soaps or lotions on nipples, air drying nipples after nursing, exposing nipples to direct sunlight or 60 Watt bulb for 15-20 minutes there or four times per day, applying vitamin E squeezed from capsules or ointment such as vitamin A and D, pure lanolin or Massey cream to nipples, and avoiding the use of nipple shields may help ease the pain of sore nipples. Occasionally, sore nipples are caused by Candida albicans. The breasts may not appear to have a fungal infection, but cultures of nipple surfaces will be positive for Candida albicans. Women often report shooting pains at the end of nursing when sore nipples are caused by a fungal infection.

Prescription for sore nipples
Nipple soreness in the first few days of breast-feeding is more often caused by poor positioning. Review these relief measures and refer a new mother to a registered nurse and/or lactation consultant at a local maternity hospital if she needs further help. Many hospitals have ‘warm-lines’ or other 24 hour telephone services for new parents.
• Check for proper positioning. Baby should be latching onto at least of the areola, not just the nipple.
• Break suction at end of feeding by inserting a finger or pulling gently down on baby’s chin
• Offer least sore side first
• Alternate nursing positions
• Express some milk and let it dry on nipple
• Air dry nipples 10-20 minutes after each nursing;; mother can also apply warm, dry heat using an electric lamp or hair dryer on low setting
• Apply steeped, cooled regular teabags to nipples for 10 minutes after feedings.
• If breast are overfull, express enough milk to make areola soft before nursing
• Avoid plastic in breast pads; change pads frequently
• Treat baby and mother for thrush if this is causative factor (both may not have symptoms, but both need treatment).
• Avoid tight fitting bras and clothing
• Use soothing techniques other than nursing to calm infant.

Sore nipples is really not a ‘big deal’ and can be easily avoided or treated. Following the afore mentioned ways or principles require simple, ‘non time consuming’ and even direct procedures to ensure a sore-nipple free breast, be it preventive or cure.

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