Breastfeeding is a complicated process during which a mother can face a lot of problems. One of them is sore nipples breastfeeding. At the same time, breastfeeding a baby has many advantages. Nature itself has taken care of ensuring that there are all necessary nutrients in breast milk that the tender digestive system of the baby is able to process and assimilate.
Breastfeeding plays an important physiological role in the body of a woman. But it’s clear that this process is not always simple and easy. Sucking a baby’s movements often causes skin damage. Therefore, nipples are often sore during the breastfeeding period.
Possible Causes of Painful Feelings in the Nipples
The skin of the nipples and the area around them is very gentle. It is easily traumatized by the rubbing produced by the lips, gums, and tongue of the baby when sucking. Pain, as a rule, is felt in the first few days after the beginning of breastfeeding. Then, with proper breast care, discomfort passes. The sensitivity of the skin decreases. After the end of breastfeeding, the natural condition of the skin restores.
Possible Reasons for Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding:
- baby’s incorrect attachment to the breast;
- individual features of the breasts (retracted or tight nipples);
- improper breast care during breastfeeding;
- the emotional state of the mother and her child;
- the physical well-being of the child.
How to Put the Baby to the Breast Correctly?
The child should capture not only the nipple but also the area that surrounds it. Then it takes less effort to squeeze out the milk. Also, it will not flow out of the mouth. This way the baby sucks the breast calmer, which means less pain. The painful sensations usually appear at the initial moment. After several sucking movements of the child, they pass.
Note: during breastfeeding, the mother can sit or lie down – whatever is more convenient for her. The child should be able to easily reach the nipple and be free to turn their head in order not to choke.
How to Take the Breast out of the Child’s Mouth Correctly?
Trauma often occurs due to the improper removal of the nipple from the baby’s mouth. If you take the breast away abruptly the child can grab the nipple and hold it with the gums. It is necessary either to wait until the baby eats enough and lets the breast off or to gently insert your little finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth. After the mouth opens, carefully pull the breast out.
Sore Nipples Breastfeeding is an easy way to get an Infection
If the inflammation of the nipples is not treated in time it can lead to cracks.
Cracks cause a sharp, burning pain during breastfeeding. Serosanguinous fluid comes from the cracks. As a result, nipples can bleed during breastfeeding. Such an injury to the breasts is dangerous because an open wound becomes the gateway to infection which can lead to mastitis. And therefore, if you have nipple cracks you should immediately take care of this problem.
The first thing you need to do is to visit a breastfeeding consultant. They will determine how often it is necessary to pump out and for how long you need to stop breastfeeding.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to solve this problem on the phone. It is necessary to examine the breast and determine how bad the situation is.
For the time of treatment, you’ll need to stop feeding the baby from a sore breast. Depending on the size and depth of the crack, this can take from 12 hours to 2-3 days. During this time, you should express milk from a sick breast 3-6 times a day.
Feed the baby from a healthy breast. If necessary you can supplement the child with the expressed milk using a spoon. Do not use a bottle with a pacifier for this purpose.
Cracks require special treatment. The consultant will advise gels for healing wounds. It is very important to use gels, not ointments. After all, we need the wound to be healed as quickly as possible. Ointments can only worsen the condition.
After the Treatment
After healing of cracks, you will have to once again learn how to apply the baby to the breast, take the child from the breast properly, and choose a comfortable position for breastfeeding. It is better to do this together with a consultant, so as not to get the same problems again.
By the way, during the treatment and after the resumption of breastfeeding, be sure to keep in touch with the breastfeeding consultant. If there is a deterioration, then it will take another one or two meetings in order to find out what’s wrong.
Of course, any disease is easier to prevent than cure. So, pay attention to the following.
Hygienic Breast Care to Prevent Sore Nipples Breastfeeding
Observance of hygiene during breastfeeding is of great importance.
- Do not wash your breast with soap. Dry skin cracks faster, and it is easier to get an injury.
- It is enough to rinse the breast with clean water.
- After feeding, it is recommended to use creams based on natural lanolin (wax). They are harmless, have no taste and smell, and promote the healing of small cracks.
- If your nipples hurt it is not recommended to use impermeable breast pads between feedings, as they create conditions for the multiplication of bacteria and the occurrence of inflammation.
- During the day, there is no need to spread nipples with anything.
Sore Nipples Breastfeeding: How to Relieve the Mother’s Condition?
- Do not use a breast pump if you have sore nipples. If there is a need, pump out only with your hands.
- Start feeding from the breast that hurts less or from the one without cracks. A hungry child sucks more actively and this intensifies the pain.
- Although it’s hard, try not to take too long breaks between feedings. Usually, the more often you feed the calmer the baby sucks which means fewer injuries to the breast and a faster healing process.
- Arrange air baths for your breasts as often as possible. If you can’t walk at home with a naked breast you can use special protective shells that are put in the bra and protect the breast from rubbing against clothing. They also create an air layer.
- If cracks on one breast are deep and painful you can give this breast a break, so that the cracks can heal. Feed the baby with the other breast. Express milk from the injured breast with your hands. You may feed the baby with this milk, preferably not from a bottle.
Importance of the Emotional and Physical State of the Child at the time of Feeding
It is recommended to calm the baby down before feeding. If necessary it is better to start feeding a little earlier, so that the child doesn’t cry because of hunger. Then the baby will be more careful with taking the breast. The breastfeeding mom should also be calm and focused. Always try to put the nipple in the baby’s mouth correctly.
Complications that can be caused by Sore Nipple Breastfeeding
Painful irritation of the skin of the nipples and the nearest area causes its inflammation and the appearance of cracks. The formation of breast milk stagnation (lactostasis) is possible. Milk from the sore breast should be gently expressed. Infection through cracks can lead to inflammation of the milk ducts (mastitis).
Warning: because of mastitis the pus can enter the milk. Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to breastfeed the child. When only one breast is affected, then you can feed the child from the second one.
If you use any gels for curing nipple cracks you must wash your breast before feeding the baby.
If there is a need for feeding the baby with formula or expressed milk, then it is better to do it with a spoon. After sucking milk from a bottle with a pacifier, the child, as a rule, refuses the breast. Feeding on the bottle is less comfortable than breastfeeding: you must observe the storage conditions, and warm the milk to the desired temperature. The kid needs physical contact with their mother. Therefore, it is very important to preserve the possibility of breastfeeding.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.