Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 10:04:31 -0500
From: "M.A. MCClelland" <u9319320.MUSS.CIS.MCMASTER.CA>
Subject: Re: Sore Nipples
> I have a friend who had a baby 4 days ago and she is struggling with sore nipples - says she is in a lot of pain. Any recommendations?
Sore nipples are a very common complaint, and a major factor in women deciding not to breastfeed (or persevering but hating every painful minute of it). I've done some reading on this, and found that the highest recommendations are - breastmilk and air drying. Breastmilk has an antibacterial effect. This is a great idea, that you produce a healing substance yourself. Express a few drops and rub into nipples after each feeding, and let air dry. Hanging out wearing a loose shirt (pref cotton) and no bra is great for air circulation.
Lanolin and Bag Balm contain traces of pesticides (from sheep dip), not a great idea to be putting on yourself or your baby.
Calendula is a great skin healer, but hurts like blazes on sore nipples, and any trace on the nipples puts babies off. Must taste terrible.
Tea bags are an old remedy that we still use, but studies have shown no difference in soreness and healing. I had one client who swears this is why they started making round tea bags, so they would fit better on nipples!
Vitamin E far exceeds an infant's daily requirements and is not recommended for that reason - infant daily allowance is 5 IU daily, and most vit E is 400 IU. Using vit E on nipples significantly increases the baby's serum concentration of vit E, and no one knows if this is a bad thing or not.
I agree with ice to reduce discomfort, would remind your friend not to use anything other than water to wash her breasts and nipples, as she naturally produces skin oils that aid in skin integrity, but are removed by soap.
Most importantly, she should have someone who is skilled at it check her positioning. While I can describe it, one on one interactions are best. The baby should be positioned in such a way that its mouth is where her nipple naturally points, so that the tissue is not being dragged in any direction. Body alignment is very important for both mom and baby to get off to a good start (once you both have the hang of it, then you can nurse in a multitude of postures).
The mother needs to learn to check the baby's latch, and learn how to tell if the baby is sucking and swallowing.
A lactation consultant or La Leche leader would be a great help. Many hospitals and health centres now have breastfeeding clinics. She needs to find out what is available in her area. A midwife is a great resource, if you already have a relationship established. If she is already busy, she will likely not be crazy about assisting a stranger for any length of time, but likely would know about community resources. Don't page her in the middle of the night to say "you don't know me, but my nipples are unbearable" (hope I don't make midwives sound like miserable grumps here, but you would be amazed at the liberties people take).
Anyhow, best of luck to your friend and her wee one.
Maureen McClelland, McMaster Midwifery '96
From: Karen Rhoda <Itype.AOL.COM>
ICE! She should apply ice to the nipples before nursing. First it numbs them and secondly it makes them stand out so the baby can grab hold properly. Is she holding the baby in the right position and is the baby getting enough of the nipple and areola into it mouth? If her nipples are really sore and she notices blood in the baby's mouth or if the baby spits up a little after the feeding -- it is most likely from her and not the baby. After feedings she can put lanolin on the nipples to help heal them quickly, but be sure to wash it off thoroughly before the next feeding. Have her check the Yellow pages for the nearest La Leche Leader or Lactation Consultant for support.
Good luck. I hope your friend perseveres. The soreness is only temporary. I speak from much experience in this area.
From: "Paula B." <yogt.INTERSOURCE.COM>
She is tender and there are ointments that will help (midwife should know names). Plus, it will stop soon. Tell her not to pull the baby away but to break the suction between mouth and nipple with her finger to release. Gently of course. This makes a lot of difference. And "Congratulations!"
From: Michelle Butt <Shel26.AOL.COM>
>I have a friend who had a baby 4 days ago and she is struggling with sore nipples - says she is in a lot of pain. Any recommendations?
Here is what worked for me: Use regular black tea bags, dip them for a second or two into very hot water, then when cool enough to touch, put on breast pads and leave on (let bra hold them on so you can have hands free) for 10 minutes. Repeat after each time you nurse. Should notice results within 1-2 days. It's great!! And cheap!!
From: Maureen Jackson <TOOTMOM.AOL.COM>
> After feedings she can put lanolin on the nipples to help heal them quickly, but be sure to wash it off thoroughly before the next feeding.
Just FYI for everyone in the future, if you use La Leche League endorsed pure lanolin called Lansinoh (found in many drug stores) you do not need to wash it off. Actually washing it off would cause more pain and problems.
Also, the BEST healers are: the colostrum or milk expressed, gently rubbed in and then air dried and sunshine ~ just in bits & pieces however as many of these have never seen the sun before : )