Ideally you won’t have any of the issues detailed below. A good or proper latch on a normally functioning breast shouldn’t usually result in any soreness. However, many moms (especially first-time ones) find breastfeeding difficult in the first couple weeks. Nobody is perfect, and a nipple or two are likely to get irritated along the way.
Here are the most common symptoms, what causes them, and what you can do about it:
Dry or cracked nipples
This is the nipple malady you’re most likely to face. Many moms experience dryness, flakey skin, or sore and irritated nipples that may crack and even bleed. This is most often caused by baby not latching properly. It can also be caused by your breast pump flange fit, baby’s thrush, or eczema typically brought on by stress.
No matter what’s causing your distress, your healthcare provider or lactation consultant is likely to suggest lanolin. It’s been used for many years to take care of nipples in need. The #1 recommended brand is Lansinoh HPA® Lanolin. Over thirty years ago, Lansinoh® launched their cornerstone product HPA® Lanolin. It’s 100% natural, contains only a single ingredient, is hypoallergenic, and safe for mom and baby.
One key to nipple health is keeping them dry. The easiest way is to let your breasts air dry between feedings and any time you’re home. For those moms who want to be out and about you may want to consider making nursing pads a regular part of your wardrobe. They’ll absorb any leakage to keep your skin dry and healthy.
Lansinoh® Disposable Nursing Pads have a honeycomb lining that absorbs moisture while still allowing air to flow. They’re also thin enough to be worn under your clothes so no one will ever know if you leak, which is pretty common for nursing moms.
Plugged ducts and infection
A plugged duct is caused by milk trapped in the breast. If left untreated, a plugged duct can become inflamed or infected, leading to mastitis. It is important to continue to nurse or pump even with a plugged duct as you want to try to dislodge the blockage.
The best way to avoid a plugged duct is by regularly draining your breasts, either through feeding or pumping. The more milk that you drain through nursing or pumping, the better. Your body will replenish the milk you drain, creating the supply needed to meet the demand of your baby. You shouldn’t try to “store” milk in your breasts, that’s what freezer bags are for!
As you begin to breastfeed, you’ll want to keep your breasts in good health. A fantastic tool for doing just that are Lansinoh’s Thera°Pearl® 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Packs. These specially designed hot and cold packs can be warmed to help relieve a plugged duct, or wrapped around your pump flanges to encourage let-down, making pumping more efficient. They can also be cooled to relieve any swelling or pain you may experience.
Some mothers have nipples that don’t protrude enough for comfortable feeding, or experience a temporary flattening of the nipples in the early days of pregnancy. For many moms, their nipples will evert (the opposite of invert) as their breasts swell during pregnancy, or in the first few days after labor as their body adjusts to producing the amount of milk baby needs for feeding.
To figure out if you have inverted nipples, or are just experiencing temporary flattening due to engorgement or swelling, you can perform a “pinch” test. To do this, hold your breast at the edge of the areola, between your thumb and pointer finger, and gently press your breast. If your nipple does not protrude or become erect you may have a truly flat or inverted nipple.
Lansinoh makes the LatchAssist® Nipple Everter which can be used to gently draw out inverted or temporarily flat nipples. This can help baby get a good latch and help prevent soreness.
If you’re worried about nipple soreness, especially if you’re new to breastfeeding, consider The Breastfeeding Starter Set from Lansinoh. It contains every Lansinoh product we’ve talked about so far, and is a great resource for early breastfeeding. If your nipples get sore, you’ll want to have the right tools on hand to soothe them so you can keep on breastfeeding, no matter what challenges you face.
Lansinoh is the #1 recommended nipple care company and their Breastfeeding Starter Set contains everything you’ll need to comfortably reach your breastfeeding goals. Tap the button below to order yours today.
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