You often hear “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt”. Really it shouldn’t, however the pressure applied to the breast once you are nursing may make you pause.
Breastfeeding is that special bond between mother and child that supports physical and emotional growth, but are there specific ways to take care of your breasts during that time? Yes!
There isn’t any real magic to it really, just good hygiene and awareness. This can help you to combat some potentially harmful breastfeeding issues and sore nipples.
Your basic hygiene routine should include:
- A daily warm shower or bath. Some persons say to avoid soap on the breast area, as it may dry out the nipples and cause them to crack and become irritable. I was never sure about the no soap thing, instead I used natural body soaps, no harsh chemicals and made with oils to help re-hydrate the skin. Check out my Partner Jus Jovi Natural Body Care.
- Dab dry your nipples to avoid chaffing and irritation as well. Can you imagine that back in the day, older women told you to use a hard towel to dry your breast to toughen up the nipples? Ouch!
- Wear a supportive Bra, even at night. No underwire at all, as this may block milk ducts and cause infection. Make sure they are not too tight but allow for breathability, noting that there are many non wired supportive nursing bras on the market. Marks & Spencer has a great variety that I recommend for you to have a look.
- Change Nursing pads as soon as they become soiled or wet. This is to avoid any bacterial build-up to cause infection for you or the baby.
- Wipe your breast off with a clean damp cloth directly before feeding. This is to stay on the safer side to avoid passing on anything like sweat, during feeding.
Other things to consider are making sure your baby is latching on correctly. This can cause a whole lot of discomfort for you and baby. For you, your nipples can become more sore, engorged or mastitis. Make sure you nurse as often as baby needs, which is about every 2-3 hours in a 24 hour day.
If you are having some challenges with plugged ducts, there are few things you can do to ease your discomfort.
- Apply a warm cloth/towel to the breast before feeding to help relax the duct.
- Massage the hardened spot while feeding, using downward motions from chest wall toward the nipple.
- Apply a cold cloth/towel to breast after feeding to reduce swelling and pain.
If none of the above helps, seek the advice of your doctor.
Removing your baby correctly from the breast can help you avoid additional soreness. Place your finger gently in the corner of baby’s mouth to break the suction hold.
There is so much to learn while you have your bundle of joy, but none of it should be too hard to put into your daily routine. Baby’s good health is your first priority and I hope you have enough knowledge to kick-start your journey.