Hooray! Nine months have gone so fast, you have conquered hours of painful labor and you have just given birth to your little bundle of joy. Giving birth might be a horrendous experience for you but now, you have to condition yourself and your body towards your fourth trimester: taking care of your newborn.
We all want our babies to thrive and we all know that exclusive breastfeeding is the easiest and healthiest way that we can nourish our little ones. We know it’s hard, but we also know how determined are you to continue with your breastfeeding journey. In this article, we will be providing you with ways to prevent sore nipples while breastfeeding.
Sore nipples are very common, especially to new moms. It is because our breasts are not used to this new kind of workout. Never be discouraged because this is totally normal and all the pain and discomfort is temporary and worth it as you see your little one thriving and growing so well. Let’s now tackle different ways to prevent sore nipples for breastfeeding mothers and get that milk flowing!
- 1. Ensure Proper Nipple Latching
- 2. Make you and your baby comfortable
- 3. Watch Out for Tongue Ties!
- 4. Never Forget to Moisturize
- 5. Nurse, Nurse, and Nurse Even More
- 6. Ice Ice Baby!
- 7. Check Your Nipples from Milk Blebs
- 8. Do Not Overdo Your Pumping
- 9. Teething Babies Should Have Teething Toys
- 10. Let the Baby Unlatch By Himself
1. Ensure Proper Nipple Latching
Babies develop their sucking reflex even when they are inside their mother’s womb. When your baby comes into this world, all he wanted to do is to suck and feed on your milk.
The first thing to prevent having sore nipples is to make sure that your baby is latching well. Breastfeeding should not be painful as it seems to be, but having the right latching which is your baby’s mouth should be covering all or most of your areola, not only your nipples would save you from painfully sore nipples.
2. Make you and your baby comfortable
There are many positions that you can experiment with when you are breastfeeding. One key is to make sure that you, amazing mama, are comfortable like how your baby enjoys your milk! Another tip is to use a nursing pillow. This is a very convenient tool for you and your baby as this supports your baby’s body in the right position as you breastfeed. Strained arms and crouched back are a no-no’s by using a nursing pillow. By making yourself comfortable, it makes breastfeeding more enjoyable and not feeling like you are merely feeding your baby as a necessity.
3. Watch Out for Tongue Ties!
Tongue ties are a condition where the frenulum or the thin skin at the bottom of the tongue which is connected to the mouth, is short. Pediatricians can easily detect this as soon as the baby is born.
Depending on the severity, this may cause difficulty in latching and eventually lead to dry, cracked and sore nipples because the baby cannot suck well. For moms who are expecting baby boys or have already given birth to a cute little boy, studies have shown that tongue ties occur more commonly in boys than girls.
Do not fret, this condition can be easily treated by releasing the tongue through snipping the frenulum with a quick and simple cut. This does not give any discomfort or pain to the baby even though a small amount of blood might be seen. After 24 to 48 hours, the cut is completely healed and you can see an immediate improvement on the latching of your baby.
4. Never Forget to Moisturize
Yes, your baby is hungry as a hippo and we know it! Newborns feed every 2 to 3 hours round the clock, resulting in dry and cracked nipples. With all the sleepless nights nurturing your little one, dry and sore nipples are a no-no’s! Grab yourself a handy-dandy moisturizer to keep your nipples away from discomfort.
There are a lot of different moisturizers that you can choose from but make sure to purchase a baby-safe one! There are even organic moisturizers that you can choose in which you do not even need to wipe off when you nurse your baby.
This is really important since sleep-less moms tend to forget that they have moisturizers applied on their nipples, then they nurse their babies at wee hours of the night without wiping off the moisturizers on them.
5. Nurse, Nurse, and Nurse Even More
As stated earlier, newborns are typically hungry every 2 to 3 hours and if you are a new mom, your breasts are not quite familiar with this kind of workout, leading to sore nipples. When you nurse more often, your nipples will be accustomed to this type of routine. This would also prevent having engorged breasts which are as painful as sore nipples.
When you let a baby feed for longer periods, the tendency is he will surely be hungrier and will suck more aggressively on your nipples. Breast engorgement also make it difficult for a baby to latch on, making you more prone to sore nipples.
So, just nurse as much as you can! It might seem like a tedious job to do but enjoy these moments when your baby is still this little and needy for you.
Related: Best Breastmilk Storage Bags
6. Ice Ice Baby!
Never underestimate the power of ice as you can transform these into cold compresses to soothe your breasts and nipples after each feeding. Not only does it numb the pain of the first days of breastfeeding but it also prevents swelling. You can use a piece of cloth and wrap it on something cold, an ice pack will do or some frozen goods (if no ice is available ☺) will also do good. Just make sure to never apply ice or ice packs directly onto your skin!
7. Check Your Nipples from Milk Blebs
Milk blebs happen when a thin layer of skin blocks a milk duct, causing milk to clog and get stuck. When this condition happens, sore nipples are waving hello at you. Milk blebs look like white or yellowish dots on your nipples. This can be treated instantly by your physician or lactation consultant. If you happen not to be bothered about it, this condition will heal on its own after a few weeks.
8. Do Not Overdo Your Pumping
All breastfeeding women probably wanted to build their milk freezer stashes but please new mommy, do not overdo your pumping. You might be so determined to stack on your milk supply but you are probably using the pump on its maximum level of suction or you are using it for longer periods of time. These causes sore nipples and breast trauma.
Be sure to consult your lactation consultant for more information on how to use your pumps properly. Also, check for correct flange sizes as this can also hurt your nipples and lessen the efficiency of your pumping making you pump less milk than your breasts can.
One quick tip for checking if your pump flanges fit you is that if you see all or most of your areola inside the breast pump shield while pumping, you are in need of a smaller-sized flange. On the other hand, if your nipples are scratching onto the sides of the shields, you need a bigger-sized flange. Check your pump manufacturer for the right fit and go get that freezer full of milk without soreness!
9. Teething Babies Should Have Teething Toys
You just saw those tiny cute teeth coming out of your baby’s gums and you suddenly felt like your nipples are sore. Your baby must be nibbling and playing around your nipples to soothe their teething gums. Offering teething toys or teething goodies between nursing is a must. There are also teething gels that you can purchase to help your babies soothe their itchy gums. In this way, your baby will know not to nibble on your nipples for unwanted soreness.
10. Let the Baby Unlatch By Himself
You might be so sleepy and you saw that your baby has also fallen asleep while feeding onto you and you just badly wanted to lie down and go to bed. If you pull the baby off of you for a couple of times without guiding him to unlatch himself or just patiently waiting for him to unlatch, this will result in sore nipples.
Babies create a strong seal when they latch onto their moms as they breastfeed. To help your little one unlatch properly without hurting you, you can place your finger on the side of your baby’s mouth to break the suction and protect your nipples as you guide your baby drift away from your breasts.
Preventing Sore Nipples while Breastfeeding your Baby
Preventing sore nipples may seem impossible as all women experience this as they breastfeed. Nevertheless, these tips may reduce the risk of having one or following these steps can help alleviate the pain.
Being a mom is indeed a tough thing to do because of all the pain and efforts that we need to experience just to provide our children with the utmost care but, it is all worth it as you watch them grow into amazing humans. Those sore nipples will come to pass, and you’ll eventually enjoy your breastfeeding journey with your little ball of sunshine! ☺