The first few months of being a new mother can be incredibly stressful on the body.
After carrying your baby for what feels like forever, giving birth, and healing from that process, a new mother still must deal with the physical stress that comes with parenthood. For new mothers, one of the most uncomfortable and painful parts of motherhood is the irritation that comes with a breastfeeding child. The skin around your nipples can easily become rough and even damaged. Your baby is most likely not the nicest when it comes to mealtime. All of this can add up to a painful experience that could keep moms from breastfeeding their children. Here are some ways that you can care for your nipples to reduce discomfort and increase the likelihood that you will continue to breastfeed your baby.
Use a Baby-Safe Cream
The skin around your nipple and areola can quickly become irritated, dry, and cracked when you are breastfeeding. It is important to keep the skin in this area hydrated and protected from any irritants. Nipple cream can help keep your skin feeling comfortable and allow already damaged skin to heal properly. You want to be sure to use a cream that is safe for your baby and your milk supply. Most professionals suggest a purified lanolin cream. This will help protect your sensitive skin and allow it to heal in between feeding sessions. It is important that you do not use any scented creams or heavy lotions. These could clog your milk ducts and could even affect your baby’s ability to latch.
Use a Variety of Nipple Pads
There are a variety of nipple pads on the market that are designed to keep your sensitive skin protected from anything that may rub against your nipple. A simple reusable nipple pad is great for daily use. Not only will this protect the irritated skin from your shirt, but it will also prevent any embarrassing leakage from your breast.
Heated and cooling nipple pads are also a great addition to your breast care routine. When your nipples are particularly sore, a cooling pad can help soothe your irritated skin. These can reduce inflammation and pain and are great if you have a lot of surface-level pain. Heated nipple pads are good if your breasts are sore or engorged. The heat from the pad can soothe any discomfort or swelling and can even help clear your milk ducts from any blockages that may cause additional pain and discomfort.
Reevaluate your Child’s Latch
Your discomfort and pain could be caused by the way your baby is latching when they feed. A shallow latch can cause your baby to gum more aggressively at the sensitive parts of your nipple causing discomfort and pain. Making sure that your child gets a deep and correct latch each time can reduce the wear and tear on your skin and keep you feeling your best.
How your child detaches from your breast after feeding can also harm sensitive skin. If your child pulls on your nipple as they end their feeding, they can do damage to your skin. Make sure that your baby is no longer latched when you remove them from your breast. This will help you avoid any painful bites from your child.
Clean Often and Properly
The irritated skin around your nipples can often crack and break. This opens you up to the possibility of infection. With your child’s mouth, your breast milk, and everyday sweat and dirt, the open wound around your nipples needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Soap and warm water can be soothing to the skin, while also making sure that the area is free from any harmful bacteria. Washing often can also help hydrate the skin, which may also help in the healing process.