Breastfeeding brings a lot of changes in the body. If you just started breastfeeding, then you might have noticed breast size fluctuation, leakage, breast tenderness and several other changes. Additionally, some of you might face problems such as mastitis, nipple soreness, thrush, plugged milk ducts and engorgement. You may also experience having chapped skin around your nipples, and the skin may appear cracked or flaky.
Causes of Sore Nipples – What is Normal, What is Not
Nipple soreness during breastfeeding is caused due to a number of reasons and you should know that you’re not alone in this. Breast tenderness, changes in breast size, slight pain in the nipples and mild cracks are very normal. They can be taken care of by simply following breastfeeding guidelines, nursing techniques, and using the best nipple cream for breastfeeding, like creams and moisturisers. However, if you are experiencing severe nipple soreness, infections, clogged milk ducts and other such unbearable symptoms, it may not be normal. In such cases, it is best to see your doctor and resolve the issues in the starting stage.
When you experience nipple pain, here are some of the common causes to look for:
- Your baby’s vigorous sucking
- Improper latching or positioning of your baby’s mouth while feeding
- Extremely dry skin
- Tight or wrong kind of nursing bra
- Formation of thrush or yeast infection
- Clogged milk ducts
- Wrong size and improper use of pumping equipment
- Mastitis formation
- Your baby sucking for comfort and falling asleep without unlatching
- Feeding when the baby is overly hungry because the feeding time has passed, can lead to frustrated/angry sucking
Tips on At-home Care for Sore Nipples During Breastfeeding
Experts say that slight nipple sensitivity is quite normal during your early breastfeeding weeks. However, it becomes a matter of concern when sore nipples are a daily issue, making you dread the whole feeding experience. Therefore, it is essential to follow important nipple care tips during your breastfeeding period. Take a look at some breast care tips and treatment methods for sore nipples:
- Hygiene – Practice good hygiene and take extra care of your body. When taking a shower, make sure to wash your breasts with just warm water and not soap. This is because shower gels/soaps tend to wash off the natural oil produced by your Montgomery glands (on the areole), resulting in dryness, cracking and irritation.
- Pre-Feeding – Avoid cleaning the nipples or breast before breastfeeding because the bacteria on the surface of your breasts are helpful in developing your little one’s gut microbes.
- Nursing Pads – If you’re using nursing pads, make sure to change them frequently so as to keep the area dry and lower the risk of infections like thrush.
- Feeding Gap – See to it that the gap between feeding isn’t too long. Feeding on time and on demand (8 to 12 feedings per day) is not only important for your baby’s growth but also essential for maintaining healthy milk supply. In fact,it is advised to continue feeding even when you have sore, cracked nipples or mild bleeding in order to avoid clogging of milk ducts and other complications. Unless you feel unbearable soreness or severe damage in any of the breasts, avoid long feeding gaps.
- Nursing Bras – Go for those comfortable, cotton, non-elastic-strap nursing bras that are skin-friendly, help absorb dampness and protect your breasts from infections.
- Nipple Cream – Applying nipple creams can soften the skin and reduce cracking which often result in sore nipples. Nipple creams can help soothe tender areas and allow you to comfortably continue nursing.
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream: Safe for mummy, safe for baby
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream is the best nipple cream for breastfeeding, for dry and blistering nipples. It is made with natural ingredients and clinically tested, making it safe for all skin types.
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream is free of paraben, phthalate, alcohol and artificial fragrance. It is formulated with five simple and natural ingredients such as:
- Lanolin which helps soothe dry or dehydrated skin
- Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter) which helps retain moisture and reduces loss of water by forming a barrier on the surface of the skin
- Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil which provides deep hydration and improves skin elasticity to prevent premature aging and wrinkle formation
- Phoenix Dactylifera Fruit (Date) Extract which soothes and hydrates sore and cracked nipples and rich of Antioxidant
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E) provides moisturizing and healing effects and helps to strengthen skin barrier
Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream is also Halal-certified, making it even more accessible to all mums! And to add an extra grade of quality assurance, just like every Mama’s Choice products, Mama’s Choice Intensive Nipple Cream are tested right here in Singapore. What’s more, it is made with food-grade ingredients so there is no need to worry about your child ingesting it while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is the most important, fragile and emotional part of motherhood. I hope these preventive techniques and treatment methods help you sail through your breastfeeding journey, joyfully. While you have these tips handy, make sure to notice unusual changes like infections, pus formation, elevated pain in one area of the breast, high fever, increased redness, swollen glands in the armpit/neck, white/blue nipples, white spots and other severe symptoms. Immediately consult your doctor in such cases.