Hey mama! Breastfeeding is such a beautiful activity to share with your baby. It may look easy, but there are real (and sometimes painful) struggles that often come with it—one of which are sore nipples. Though common in breastfeeding women, there are ways to manage sore nipples and reduce its symptoms so you and your baby can enjoy your quality feeding time together. We list down six preventive tips below.
Before anything else, find the most comfortable position for you to breastfeed your baby. The more you’re comfortable, the easier it is to maintain that position for the duration of your breastfeeding session. Also try the different breastfeeding positions and determine which one works best for you and your baby. Once you and your baby are comfortable, it will encourage a proper latch and minimize the tug-of-war between your baby and your breast.
When you’re breastfeeding your baby, your nipple should be deep inside your baby’s mouth, covering most of your areola. Soreness happens when your baby is latched on too shallow and all the pressure is focused on the nipple only.
Here are ways you can guide your baby to latch on correctly:
- Gently touch the chin of your baby and open his mouth slowly
- Tickling your baby’s lips using your nipple will help them open wide
- Hold your breast with your four fingers at the bottom and your thumb on top and slowly offer your breast to your baby once his mouth is opened wide
- Remove the latch and try again if the latch is painful and uncomfortable
Breastfeeding your baby regularly can help you avoid having sore nipples. Try to maintain a two to three hour interval between feeding so your baby won’t be too hungry. Why is this important? Because the hungrier your baby gets, the more aggressive his suck will be, causing your nipples to swell. You can also reduce the chances of engorgement and breast tenderness by regularly excreting milk from your breasts.
Most of the time, your baby will unlatch on his own after feeding. If your baby doesn’t let go, remember not to pull him off your breast as it will cause pain and damage to your nipples. To help him unlatch, put your finger between your breast and his gums to break the suction and slowly remove your breast inside his mouth. Practicing proper unlatching is as important as guiding your baby to latch at the beginning of your feeding session.
Make sure to dry your breasts every after a feeding session. Your nipples obviously get wet with milk when you nurse, which when left moist, can develop into thrush or a yeast infection of the nipples. To avoid this to happen, pat your nipple dry or wear breastfeeding pads to absorb any leakage. Whether you choose disposable pads or washable pads, the key is to regularly change the pads to make sure your breasts are always dry.
Another cause of sore nipples is chafing or friction burns. This happens when you’re not wearing the proper sized underwear. If your bra is too big or too small, it could rub against your skin and put excess pressure on your breasts. Shift to breathable underwear and look for nursing clothing that have more stretch.