6 Simple ways to prevent and cure sore and cracked nipples

Are sore nipples stopping you from enjoying your motherhood to the fullest? Then this article is just for you. You are not alone! 80 to 90% women-who have breastfed have gone through sore nipples. It is a very common and normal occurrence due to breastfeeding.Initially, while your body is adjusting to breastfeeding, this may occur. In such cases, the symptoms will disappear soon. An aggravated condition of sore nipples is cracked nipples, and not as common. If it is painful while breastfeeding, then consult the lactation consultant or Doctor. Do not stop breastfeeding due to this. Having sore nipples does not affect your baby directly. However, it is a sign that your child may not be feeding enough. Knowing more about this condition, and how it can be sorted will help you prevent it and take timely measures.

What causes the soreness?

  • The improper feeding technique is one of the major causes of cracked nipples. A shallow latch, wherein your child’s mouth covers only the nipples, and not the breast causes more strain on the tender skin of the nipples, hurting them in the process.
  • Nipple confusion – where in your baby has to adjust to different types of nipples – may result in improper feeding and hence soreness
  • You may have breast engorgement, causing a ‘pushing pain’ on your nipples with the milk in your breasts
  • If you are pregnant and in your first or third trimester, or if you are pregnant while breastfeeding, then your nipples will get very tender and may cause them to get sore or crack.
  • Clothing like bras and breast pads which are not the appropriate fit or quality can also cause this discomfort.
  • Possible thrush or yeast infection in your baby’s mouth can be passed onto your nipples, causing soreness
  • Even Improper usage of breast pumps can cause more harm than you can imagine. Ensure you get proper advice from a doctor for the right kind of breast pump and the appropriate suction level.
  • If you have eczema or a muscle condition like Raynaud’s, the pain will be intense. Consult a doctor immediately for any of these.
  • Your child may be ‘tongue-tied’, thus causing a latching problem.

How do you know that you have got sore nipples and what does it look like?

    • A throbbing, itching, paining, burning or simply soreness flags sore nipples.
    • You may notice cracks and in some cases , he nipples start to bleed too
    • Chapped skin on the nipples similar to that on your lips which are dry and chapped.
    • In extreme cases,  you will feel pain, especially while breastfeeding.
    • A deep purplish red skin on the nipple along with sharp pain is a sign that you have developed a sore nipple.

What should you do? Well, first of all, continue to breastfeed your child. Stopping breastfeeding may cause other problems related to breastfeeding. To tackle the issue here are some remedies.

Immediate relief and Precautions:

  1. Feed from the less painful side first. Babies tend to suck milk aggressively when hungry and ease down later. Thus a less aggressive suction will be a relief for the affected nipple.
  2. Feed your child more frequently, thus not allowing the baby to become more hungry.
  3. Ice-pat the injured nipple before breastfeeding to reduce the pain.
  4. Avoid shallow latching completely by trying out to breastfeed in different positions. If a specific feeding position is very painful then put the baby off suction immediately and then start again.

How to cure the soreness?

  1. Massage the breast area and apply some warmth to the breast prior to feeding, to soften and lubricate the alveolar with some milk
  2. Apply some expressed milk – it behaves like an antibacterial, thus preventing infection
  3. Always keep your nipples clean. Wash them gently with warm water after feeding your child and dry them completely with a clean cloth gently.
  4. Use a nipple ointment on the affected area. The market is full of such ointments but make sure that the ointment you are using is safe. The best way is to look for certified and dermatological tested. Try using the MamaEarth’s Nipple healing cream. The cream is Asia’s 1’st MadeSafe Certified Nipple Healing Cream. This product does not contain any harmful chemicals like alcohol, parables, phosphates, mineral oil, PEG & fragrances.
  5. Apply homemade saltless butter or pure ghee to the affected area every time after you have fed your child. Just clean the area with water and dry it gently with a clean cloth and massage the ingredients.
  6. Apply coconut oil to the affected area. This helps moisturize the nipples and help them heal from the dryness caused by the friction. Again, clean the area with water and dry it gently with clean cloth and gently massage with coconut oil.

Just do not apply any ingredient which you think you can put to heal a dry or chapped skin. Remember, you are feeding your child and any unsafe ingredient could cause some harm.Make sure that any product that you are using is safe for your baby too. Mama earth’s products have been tested dermatologically on the sensitive human skin for allergic reactions in highest standard lab QACS of Europe.  It has been certified as safe for sensitive skin (Hypoallergenic) by the lab basis testing.

Prevention is the best cure

  1. The best cure for a sore nipple is prevention. That is, one should avoid the occurrence of the issue itself by practising best latching positions
  2. Use a cream like Mama earth’s nipple cream from early on to prevent cracking
  3. Never let the nipples carry the residue milk on them.
  4. Always keep the nipples dry. Use milk pads if necessary and change when it is damp. A damp pad could do harm by not soaking the excess milk and keeping the nipples wet.
  5. Put on your bra after your nipples are dry.
  6. Avoid using deodorants, perfumed powders or even perfumes. This should anyways be avoided till the time you are breastfeeding.

Feeding your child gives a mother immense pleasure and creates a bond between the mother and the baby, apart from all benefits that breast milk has for your child. With a little patience and practice, you can make this experience one of the best ones in your life. Happy motherhood and all the best for an amazing journey!

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