10 tips to relieve sore nipples while breastfeeding
Painful nipples are one of the most common reasons why mothers give up breastfeeding, often during the first week of breastfeeding. It’s pretty unfortunate, because nipple pain is almost always a short-term problem, and can usually be corrected in a few days.
Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, but the fact is that most mothers experience some degree of pain during the early stages of breastfeeding. The degree of pain varies greatly, with some mothers experiencing mild tenderness, and others bleeding, cracked nipples.
You can try these methods to soothe your sore nipples.
1) Fresh breast milk
Rubbing a little breast milk expressed on the nipple just after a feed is sometimes soothing. And the antimicrobial properties of milk can help the healing process.
2) Hot and moist compresses
A warm, moist washcloth, held on the nipple just after a feed, can provide immediate relief.
3) Saline solution
Add half a teaspoon of salt per liter of hot water, then apply on the nipple with a compress and leave in place for 10 minutes. This can be comforting and can heal.
4) Tea bags
Some women find that a warm, moist tea bag offers some comfort against sore nipples just after feeding.
But the tannins in tea are astringent and can cause additional drying and cracking. If you are trying tea bags, choose green tea rather than other varieties because it may contain compounds that help with healing.
5) Hair dryer
A hair dryer at a low temperature can be comforting after a feed, but it can cause too much drying and amplify the problem of cracked nipples.
Purified lanolin specially formulated for use by nursing mothers is an excellent product for healing wet wounds. The healing of wet wounds has been proven to accelerate recovery by up to 50%! If you are allergic to wool, the purification process removes impurities that cause a skin reaction. You can use this product without any adverse effects.
Honey is a natural antibiotic, but if you choose to use it for sore nipples, you should buy a brand specifically for medicinal purposes (Medihoney or Manuka Honey). Fresh honey, or honey that you use at home should not be used on your nipples because of the possibility of botulism contamination.
9) Hydrogel dressings
When a mother has cracked skin on her nipples, a gel pad of water or glycerine can be placed on the nipple. The idea comes from the general healing of wounds in other specialties, but several companies make these products specifically for breastfeeding mothers. They look a lot like a breast cushion, and fit inside your bra against your chest. They block the moisture in your skin to speed up the healing process. In the studies, mothers reported less pain when using the hydrogel dressing than when using lanolin.
10) All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO)
It is a combination of several ingredients that promote healing. It is easily absorbed by the mother’s body (if used sparingly, as indicated) and does not need to be wiped until the next feeding (which may cause further nipple trauma). You can find information about the APNO here and share it with your doctor.