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How to effectively treat nipple soreness during lactation?

From coconut oil to petroleum jelly, your home is full of natural remedies that can cure your dry nipples! Read our tips to learn more about how to prevent and treat dry nipples caused by breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to cement the bond between mother and child. If you are new to breastfeeding, adjusting to it can be challenging and, in some cases, painful. New moms will usually experience sore nipples when they start breastfeeding their babies for the first time. This is usually temporary and will go away by the fifth day. However, if after the first week, you are still experiencing nipple soreness from breastfeeding, it is usually because of a bad latch or because your baby is not getting enough milk. A bad latch can be corrected by changing the position you hold your baby while breastfeeding.

Cracked and sore nipples can be very painful and can affect your breastfeeding schedules. Here are a few safe remedies you can use to get quick relief from nipple soreness.

1. A warm compress

One of the best ways to soothe nipple soreness after breastfeeding is by using a warm compress. It can give instant relief even though it does not have any antibacterial benefit. To make a warm compress, take a clean washcloth and dip it in warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot as that can be counterproductive. Rinse out the excess water and place the washcloth across your sore nipples. Once it cools down, repeat the process. Wipe dry before putting your nursing bra back on. Lactating mothers find that this is also beneficial to relieve the discomfort of engorged breasts.

2. Apply fresh breast milk

You don’t have to go far to find the perfect remedy for nipple soreness when breastfeeding. Breast milk contains natural skin softeners and also has antibacterial properties. Express a few drops of milk and apply it after breastfeeding or at any time you need relief. Let it air dry before covering up. Do remember that breast milk can quickly attract yeast so ensure you wipe your breasts clean before feeding your baby.

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3. Salt water rinse

Rinsing with salt water can hydrate and relieve nipple soreness from breastfeeding. To prepare your saline rinse, mix half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. This saline concentration mimics the composition of tears and is therefore very gentle. You can put the saline solution in a squirt bottle and generously spray the painful nipples. Alternately, you can fill 2 shot glasses with the saline solution and dip each nipple into the glass. Make sure you don’t do this for more than 5 minutes at a time or it may dry out the skin.

You can do a salt water application as many times as you want. Wipe it clean before putting on your bra and make sure there is no salt residue before feeding your baby. Make a fresh supply of saline solution before every application. If nipple soreness in breastfeeding is accompanied by bleeding, apply some lanolin ointment after the salt water rinse.

4. Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly, a medicine cabinet staple, can come to the rescue to treat any nipple soreness from breastfeeding. You probably already have some at home so it is a good way to give relief to painful aureoles. All you need to do is smear some jelly over your nipples and wipe it off before your baby feeds. This will hydrate and soften your skin and prevent it from cracking.

4. Coconut oil

In India, coconut oil has been used for centuries as a cure-all for skin conditions. If you are experiencing nipple soreness from breastfeeding, you can use this natural home remedy. Since it is edible, you don’t have to bother to wipe it off before breastfeeding.

To make this remedy even more potent, you can mix a little olive oil to the coconut oil and apply it to cracked and sore nipples. It gets absorbed easily so you will need to apply generous amounts frequently. Coconut oil can cure mild cases of nipple soreness when breastfeeding but if it is very severe you will need to use lanolin ointment.

5. Lanolin ointment

Nipple soreness in breastfeeding can even lead to bleeding if it is not treated early enough. To help in moist wound healing, apply lanolin ointment. Moist healing is when you want to prevent a wound from drying out and forming a scab. Not all lanolin ointments can effectively treat nipple soreness from breastfeeding. You must only use a specifically formulated ointment for cracked nipples. Slather it on and you will feel the difference within a few hours.

Apply the lanolin ointment to nipples after breastfeeding. This is because you need time for the lanolin to be absorbed into the skin. Lanolin cream is greasy and it can stain your clothes, so make sure you are wearing an old top when you use it. The best way to prevent staining is by using nipple pads in your bra. A few mothers might find that they are allergic to lanolin ointment. If you experience any negative side effects, you should discontinue it at once.

6. Correct your position

There are many myths surrounding breastfeeding that can make choosing the right position challenging. A bad position can be a major contributing factor in nipple soreness. If it is due to a bad position, then try to breastfeed baby this way – Sit up, and hold baby close to you, tummy to tummy. Put your supporting hand behind their shoulder and not their head. This way they can tilt their head back to take in your nipple correctly. Make sure your nipple is pointing to their nose so that they do this.

If there is no problem with the position then make sure that your baby is not tongue-tied. This can cause her to take in your nipple shallowly. This can cause extra stress and result in nipple soreness in breastfeeding.

If your nipples continue to be sore or bleed, then it is advisable to inform your doctor. Download the mfine app to book a consultation with top doctors from your city!

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