Breastfeeding Nipple Pain Relief
My goodness mamas, I thought we had already went through enough during pregnancy and postpartum. Now we may have to deal with nipple pain. 🙁
Those first few days of breastfeeding may be painful. Whether its due to sensitive nipples, a bad latch, or engorged breasts, it may seem like a chore nursing your baby.
Nipple pain is also one of the main reasons moms call it quits when it comes to breastfeeding. And what stinks is that a large portion of women will experience it sometime throughout their breastfeeding journey. Although, the good part is, is that the pain is typically experienced in the first week or two, with the pain significantly reducing after that! So just keep on pushing on mama, it will get much better, and be oh so WORTH IT!
I want to provide you with the tools, so you can enjoy one of the most joyful experiences of motherhood, breastfeeding. So below you will find my favorite products and tips that will help provide nipple pain relief.
But before we get started, I want to talk about Postpartum Care Essentials. Because no matter the type of birth you have you will be tired, sore, and most likely uncomfortable. So I think this post is essential for all moms. Don't be unprepared like me, and find yourself running to the store all hours of the day, trying to find something to ease the postpartum pain.
Breastfeeding Nipple Pain Relief
1.Organic Lansinoh Nipple Cream
A MUST for sure! I have also tried the regular Lansinoh Nipple Cream and actually prefer the organic version! It is clear, odorless, made from organic ingredients, not oily or sticky like other nipple creams, applies smoothly, and tasteless so your little one won't even notice! Yes, you DO NOT have to wipe it off before feeding! A definite win!
I highly recommend this brand and even loved using it while pumping as well!
2. Nipple Shield
Something that will have you going from dreading breastfeeding, to enjoying it! They may literally even save you from giving up on breastfeeding!
I LOVE nipple shields as they can be used to solve a few different breastfeeding problems. Of course they help with nipple soreness as they create a barrier between your baby's mouth and your breast. They also help with inverted/flat nipples, latching difficulties, and overactive letdown!
3. Correct Latch
When it comes to breastfeeding, one of the main causes of nipple pain is due to an incorrect latch.
In order to get a good latch, encourage your baby to root for your breast. Rooting is when the baby opens it's mouth wide and moves it's head quickly from side to side searching for the nipple. In order to get your baby rooting, either rub your nipple on the baby's lower lip or on their nose. Once the baby's mouth is open wide, lift your breast with one hand and quickly pull the baby in close to you. The baby's mouth should be grasping a large portion of you areola and not just the tip of your nipple. The lips should also be flanged out!
In order to create an easier latch, support the weight of your breast with a "C Hold." This is when your thumb is above your breast and the fingers underneath. Supporting your breast will then allow you to guide the breast into the baby's mouth.
If you do not think your baby is latching on properly, take him/her off of the breast and try again! I know it may be frustrating at first, but just remember, it is a learning process for the both of you!
4. Air Them Out
This may be somewhat uncomfortable, but hang out topless as much as possible. Just exposing them to air may help with soreness. Along with no fabric rubbing against them, causing friction and irritation.
5. Breast Shells
One of my absolute FAVORITE breastfeeding products!
Use these breast shells for those times when you are not able to let your tata's hang out. Place them between your breast and bra in order to prevent any fabric rubbing on your nipples, creating irritation.
Although, I not only love these due to the reason just talked about! But they also help save your precious liquid gold from just soaking into a breast pad! They catch your letdown as you nurse, along with catching milk from your leaking breasts throughout the day!
Because something "cool" always makes pain/soreness feel better! These Soothie Gel Pads provide instant cooling relief from cracked, painful, or sore nipples. Store them in the fridge for enhanced cooling as well!
7. Check For Tongue-Tie
Tongue-tie is known to make breastfeeding difficult and painful. Due to the fact the baby ends up rooting on the nipple, instead of drawing the entire areola into their mouth. This then results in painful/sore nipples, along with problems latching.
Massage some ice onto the nipple before each feeding in order to slightly numb the affected area. Chilled wet tea bags also work wonders!
9. Switch Sides
When nursing, start with the less painful/sore side, as your baby will suck more aggressively on the first side compared to when you switch breasts.
10. Salt Water Soak
Mix a couple teaspoons of epsom salts to one cup hot water. Soak the nipple a few times a day to help aid with healing. Epsom salts is also known to help with clogged milk ducts.
11. Breast Milk
Yes, your own breast milk may even help your sore nipples! Once done feeding, express a few drops of breast milk and rub onto your nipples. Your breast milk contains antibacterial properties, so it will help speed up the healing process.
12. Changing Nursing Pads
If nursing pads are used (which I highly recommend so you aren't soaking through your shirt, if not using breast shells), make sure you are changing them often. This ensures that your nipples will stay as dry as possible along with keeping bacteria at bay.
13. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used to keep your nipples hydrated, while also helping to soothe and alleviate nipple pain. Better yet, no need to wipe off before feeding baby!
14. Check For Thrush
Thrush is a yeast like fungus that can be seen growing in your baby's mouth. It appears as white, slightly raised patches on the inside of your baby's cheeks, tongue, and throat. Thrush most likely makes your baby's mouth uncomfortable and painful, resulting in them being fussy and possibly not wanting to nurse.
When it comes to symptoms of thrush for moms it may include burning nipple pain, flaky or shiny skin around the nipple or areola, and stabbing pain located behind the areola.
15. Basil Leaves
Okay, I have personally never tried this one, but other moms have said it has helped with dry, sore, cracked, bleeding nipples. So I mean, it is always worth a shot. Wash a handful of basil leaves and grind into a paste like texture. Apply to the nipples and allow to dry.
16. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Gel can also be used to heal cracked and sore nipples. Although, it should be washed off before feeding as the taste might affect the infant wanting to nurse along with the possibility of causing diarrhea. Here is an article pertaining to a study done about breast milk, lanolin, and aloe vera gel used to heal nipple pain.
17. Skip The Soap
When bathing skip the soap, and just wash the breasts with water. As the soap can potentially dry out the nipples even more, resulting in additional cracking.
18. Break The Latch Correctly
When breaking the latch, do not just pull the baby off, as this will cause tugging on the nipple. Instead put your pinkie into the corner of their mouth and rub along their lips.
19. Try Different Positions
Alternating between the cradle hold, football hold, side-lying position, etc. can help in nipple soreness, as a different part of the nipple will be compressed. One position may also create a better latching environment, than another position as well!
I have personally not tried this one either, although several breastfeeding moms say this is their go to! Instead of having to apply lanolin all the time, try out some Jelonet gauze pads. Stick these gauze pads to your nipple for soothing relief all day long. These will be sure to keep your nipple moist and comfortable while you begin to heal! Although, make sure to wipe off before feeding!
21. Warm Compress
I cannot tell you how AMAZING a warm compress feels when it comes to soothing aching nipples. These warm compresses can also be used as cold compresses. A warm compress can also be just as simple as a clean, warm, and moist wash cloth.
22. Correct Pump Equipment
If you are pumping or going to be pumping do not set your setting too high, on your pump, creating overly vigorous suctioning. Also make sure your flange is the correct size. If the flange is the wrong size it can lead to added friction resulting in sore nipples. If you are not sure about sizing, here is a great article to make sure you get the correct size.
Pumping can also be used to take a break from nursing, if the latch and sucking of the baby is too dreadful. If pumping, practice moist healing as well in order to speed up the healing process. Pumping will also keep your milk supply up while not breastfeeding.
23. Nursing Bra
Make sure that your nursing bra is comfortable, supportive, and a soft material. If your bra is too tight it can enhance the pain as it puts additional pressure on the nipple. These nursing bras are a favorite of mine, they are so soft and comfortable! Seriously, you won't regret getting them!
Personally, my nipple pain was not due to a bad latch or complications such as mastitis or clogged milk ducts. My nipples were just not use to a baby that was constantly sucking.
I applied several of the remedies listed above such as the lanolin cream, hot/cold compresses, airing them out, breast milk, etc. These remedies made the soreness and pain much more sustainable, although I do not think they are what healed me. Instead, I believe it was time/patience.
After about 3 weeks, my nipples no longer hurt. They were much more accustomed to a nursing baby. And literally, from 3 weeks on out, I could hardly even feel my baby nursing.
25. Consult a Doctor/Lactation Consultant
If you have tried several of the remedies listed above, but your pain is not subsiding, it may be time to contact a lactation consultant or doctor. As you may have a more serious problem such as a clogged milk duct or mastitis. Mastitis typically comes with redness, heat, swelling, pain, and possible chills and fever, and will most likely need to be treated by a medical professional!
There you have it mamas! I sure hope some of the remedies listed above help your tatas to feel some relief quickly!
And just remember, that all of the pain and soreness may seem intolerable at the moment, but it too, shall get better! You will soon be breastfeeding pain free, and the discomfort will all be worth it in the end!
Mamas, if you have tried any of the above remedies, I would love to hear all about your results! Or if there is something that has worked wonders for you, but is not on the list, let us know in the comments, as it may just help another breastfeeding mama!
You can find all of my favorite motherhood/baby/toddler products here!
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