The Best Ways to Prevent and Treat Sore Nipples After Pregnancy
Nipples are the most sensitive parts of a woman’s breasts. We all know how erogenous these areas are and the important role they play in the foreplay for sexual intercourse. However, these nipples are provided by nature for breastfeeding. This happens shortly after the pregnancy when the nipples start to give off milk that is produced in the milk ducts in the breasts.
Babies have a natural talent to suck the mother’s nipples. They do it by pushing the nipples with the palate of their mouths. For some women, especially those who breastfeed their babies for the first time, this can be an excruciating process. Babies can sometimes squeeze the nipples very hard, with sores and cracks in the nipples.
Sore or Cracked Nipples Causes
Milk consumption is a natural phenomenon during breastfeeding. When the baby sucks on the nipples, the milk is sucked into the baby’s mouth. As a result, more milk flows to the teats of the milk channels in the breasts. This process is normal for most women. But if there is a problem with the process of lowering the milk, the baby will have to suck harder on the nipple to be able to pull the milk. This would cause pain in the nipples. Such a difficulty for the baby to draw milk may also occur if the woman has inverted nipples, that is, nipples pointing inwards.
Women who breastfeed for their first baby are generally not aware of the correct breastfeeding method. They may not hold the baby properly, causing the nipples to be pressed to reach them. Bad breastfeeding techniques are the main causes of painful and cracked nipples in women.
Poor breastfeeding techniques can be: not holding support under the baby (making the baby uncomfortable in his posture and wriggling a lot), sitting in a wrong posture while feeding the baby, he suddenly pulled him out of his nipple, etc.
Sometimes the mistake lies with the baby. There is a congenital disorder known as ankyloglossia, usually called the tongue link. Infants with this condition have a tight frenulum (the membrane that fixes the tongue at the base of the mouth). Such babies would find it difficult to suck because their tongue movements are minimal.
If you have sore and cracked nipples, you should stop breastfeeding for a while and consult your doctor urgently. If the baby continues to feed this breast, the pain continues and eventually causes bleeding in the baby. A nipple that bleeds can be very dangerous for the baby when fed.
Almost all painful and cracked nipples occur when the woman breastfeeds a baby. But if you have sore and cracked nipples, even if you are not breastfeeding, it could be a very serious problem. You have to rush to see your doctor.
Sore or Cracked Nipples Treatments
Painful nipples caused by poor breastfeeding techniques can be easily treated by simply learning more about the right way to breastfeed.
It is best to sit in bed with your legs crossed if you feel uncomfortable holding the baby during breastfeeding. You can use a pillow on your lap and let the baby rest on it. This way, the baby will feel comfortable. Do not encourage the baby to suckle the same breast for a long time. Take turns with both breasts.
If you are having problems with the milk to flow properly, do not let the baby suckle without first consulting a doctor. The doctor can give supplements to increase the amount of milk produced in the breasts. There are also counselors in all maternity clinics who can help you learn the right method for breastfeeding the baby so that he does not have to pull the nipples hard.
Women whose nipples are reversed should also consult the gynecologist/breastfeeding consultant before the birth of their child. There may be methods to correct this problem with the nipples, one of them is using a breast pump.
Some preparations for breastfeeding can be very useful in preventing painful nipples. If the breast is too clogged, try to get a part of the milk out with a pump or by merely pressing it manually. This will slightly reduce the pressure in the chest. Moreover, the removal of some milk for breastfeeding would allow the milk to flow naturally when the baby begins to suckle. The use of creams such as lanolin can reduce pain during lactation, but you should ask the doctor if it is safe for the baby.
Treatment of Sore or Cracked Nipples
As mentioned before, the most common cause of sore or cracked nipples is a poor breastfeeding method. In many cases, the baby only sucks on the nipple. The mother does not give up, and the baby sucks harder to get more milk. Mothers have to make sure that the baby opens his mouth full with his tongue pointing down before placing the baby on the chest.
This allows the baby to take the areola in his mouth. When the baby sucks his areola, he compresses the milk channels. This helps to bring the milk down. In times of feeding, when the mother’s arms become tired, the baby will start to slip and eventually suck up the nipple.
A crack is usually at the base of the nipple and is often very painful and can cause blood leaks and it can also be infected. If a mother suffers from a crack, she may have to keep the baby above the breasts for several days until the fissures heal.
Cracked nipples can be treated with 100% lanolin. Glycerin nipple pads can be chilled and placed over the nipples to help soothe and heal cracked or painful nipples. In case of cracked nipples that caused by thrush, medical treatment is needed (usually with nystatin). You need to consult your doctor.
Continue breastfeeding, even if the nipples are painful or cracked. Continuing to breastfeed will actually help the nipples heal.
First try to feed the baby with the least painful nipple, so that it does not hurt too much during feeding. When you’re done, the milk can flow to the other side, and the breasts become soft, allowing the baby to feed without sucking too hard. Express the milk from your breasts to reduce the tension and prevent the aggressive and painful sucking of the hungry baby. Remember that you can reduce pain and promote healing by paying attention to how you are breastfeeding. Make sure that the areola is in the baby’s mouth so that he cannot bite or chew on his nipples.
How to prevent Sore or Cracked Nipples
You must take the following precautionary measures into account to prevent cracked or painful nipples:
- Wash your breasts with clean water and keep the nipples dry between the supplies. If these are not kept dry, they tend to become care. So do not soak the nipples in the water.
- Do not clean the nipples with soap, which can dry the nipples.
- If you have a problem with a milk leak, use nursing pads.
- Always wear a clean bra.
- Clean your nipples after nursing.
- Expose the nipples in the air for a while daily.
- Use nipple creams that are appropriate for breastfeeding moms. Make sure you wash the cream or nipple before you breastfeed, if necessary.
- Apply cream or oil during pregnancy, so that the nipples remain flexible.