One of the greatest misconceptions of all time is that breastfeeding – while natural – is easy.
For some mums, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While breastfeeding may come easily to many mums and babies, other experienced mums and even subsequent children face significant problems when trying to feed. A key area of concern? The nipple.
Below are some of the main issues that are related to your nipples, and how you can solve them, starting with:
1. The Latch Hurts!
It’s important for new mums to realize that, for the first few days after birth, the latch will likely hurt, regardless of how good the latch is. The nipples do, after all, need to adjust to this increase in pressure, but it should adjust fairly quickly.
If weeks go by and you still continue to feel pain, then your baby is not latching on correctly. This not only means an uncomfortable feed for you, but it also means that your baby is not getting as much food as possible with each feed.
Ideally, the baby should be able to fit your entire nipple into his or her mouth. Her chin should be pressed into your breast and her head should be tipped back so that her nose is away from the breast and not pressed into it. Depending on how your bub prefers to feed, a different hold may be useful.
When in doubt, consult your midwife or a lactation consultant for further guidance.
2. My Nipples Are Raw!
Pink, sore or raw nipples may be the result of two issues:
A poor latch; or
If your nipples are pink and hurt in between feedings, then it is likely that you have developed a yeast infection known as “thrush”. Your doctor will be able to confirm the existence of this issue through a quick observation. Many prescription, as well as over the counter and natural alternatives, are available to you. So speak to your baby health professional to find the best one for you and your bub.
3. My Nipples Are Cracked!
Cracked nipples are not a natural symptom of breastfeeding. Cracked nipples are, more than likely, due to an incorrect latch though it also may be an issue involving the anatomy of the baby’s mouth. However, it can be just that your nipples are not used to their new ‘job’.
Mums can treat cracked nipples by:
Ensuring a correct latch with every feed.
Wearing clothing that will promote comfort and airflow to the nipple, such as the nursing clothing from Peachymama which is designed specifically to keep mums feeling relaxed and stylish.
Clean your nipples after each feed. Gently rinse your breasts with water to reduce infection. If you have an open wound, treat it with an antibacterial ointment.
Consult your practitioner about using a medical-grade modified lanolin solution that is made specifically for breastfeeding mums to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy during each feed.