I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately…a lot of thinking about nipples. So much thinking about nipples that I spent my afternoon googling and giggling over the various descriptions and explanations of different types.
Seeing as how my nips and boobs have been through it all I like to consider myself some what of a nipple healing expert and today I’m going to share my tips.
1. I can’t stress enough how important a good latch is. Not only does a solid latch save your nipples from unnecessary discomfort but its also the most efficient way for your baby to get what he/she needs. When your baby is eating effectively your nursing time gets cut down and gives your nipples and boobs a rest. If you’re having out of this world pain with latching on do yourself a favor and meet with a lactation consultant.
2. When showering avoid direct contact with the water and your precious nips as the water pressure can be too hard on your sensitive skin. If you are especially sensitive you can wear a bathing suit top while showering (thanks Jasmine!). Also avoid using any soaps or chemicals on your nippys.
3. Keep those babies lubed up. I wouldn’t have survived without the use of Lanolin Nipple Cream and Medela Hydrogel Pads. Ice packs can also come in handy as long as you keep a barrier between your nipples and the ice. Don’t have an ice pack handy? A friend passed along this great tip: Take a ziplock bag and fill it with dishwashing soap, place it in the freezer and you have yourself an impromptu and moldable ice pack (thanks Kendra!)
4. Air it out! Let your nipples breathe and get some sunshine on those babies while you’re at it.
5. After breastfeeding try to rinse your nipples off and let them air dry. By washing your breasts off you are washing away any bacteria from your babies mouth and cleaning the area to prevent any infection–this is incredibly important if you have any type of nipple cracks or tears.
*If you do find that you have a crack or tear don’t freak out like I did. You can continue nursing if you can stand it, pump or hand express if it is simply too painful. If you’re nipple is actually bleeding it is still ok to nurse (yeah it’s awful and I’ve been there far too many times).
That just about sums up the basics of nipple care. If you’re having some specific issues you can always shoot me an e-mail and I’ll do my best to troubleshoot with you and offer any suggestions that I can think of. Again, I highly HIGHLY recommend using a lactation consultant (more on this later) when breastfeeding for the first time or if things are a little rocky in the boob department.
Breastfeeding is hard work and can take its toll on you physically and emotionally. It’s important to remember to take a deep breath, call a time out and remember that this too shall pass. I didn’t think I would ever get to a point in my breastfeeding that I didn’t come to tears with each latch and am amazed that things did eventually get better and easier. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and we all have our own idea of what this experience should be…you can only do your best and what feels right for you!
Have some tips to share? Leave us a comment below!