By Carrie Lauth
Along with the benefits of breastfeeding such as exceptional nutrition for your baby and a close knit bond between mother and child, the mothers can often experience some sort of breast pain. It’s important to know what methods are a combination of effective, natural, and won’t harm baby or mom.
Cracked or Dry Nipples and/or Areola:
Cracked nipples can occur a number of ways. The most common is if the baby is not latched on correctly. Make sure your baby’s mouth is taking in the entire areola. If not, you will soon experience cracking of your nipples. Another way cracked or dry nipples can occur is by naturally just being used more than normal. Your body is still getting used to breastfeeding several times a day and the result can dry out the skin.
The most common way to help correct this is after each feeding, squeezing a small amount of milk onto your areolas and nipples. Allow to dry naturally, soaking in the breastmilk. If you continue to have cry and cracked nipples, especially ones that really hurt, proceed to using lanolin.
If you are vegan, lanolin is not the product for you since it is extracted from wool. However, it is an all natural product. If you purchase the Lansinoh brand of lanolin, you’ll find it is the purest form out there, without any additives. Take the lanolin and generously apply to your nipples and areola. You might want to cover your breasts with a light breast pad to keep your clothing from getting sticky. The good part is that lanolin is safe for baby (and for you), just be sure you’re not super gooey before feedings. But a thin layer is appropriate to remain on.
Your body will soak in the lanolin and within a day’s time you should start to see a major difference.
Hard or Tender Breasts:
If you go too long without feeding, your breasts can become very hard. They are filled with milk and can feel like rocks living inside. It can be quite painful to some, especially to the touch. What you’ll want to do is carve out a little “me” time to take care of the soreness. If you have warm heating pads, such as a dyi rice sock or gel pack, warm up and then place on each breast, paying special attention to the sorest parts of your breasts. You can even use a warm compress such as a washcloth soaked in warm water. Other ways are to take a warm bath or lightly massage the hard areas with olive oil. Depending on the severity of the problem, the above method can start to take effect within hours or even days.
If you sense this is normal itchiness due to irritation, there are some natural steps you can take on your own. If you’re worried it could be thrust or a bacterial infection, you should talk with your doctor on what she or he believes you should do to help cure it.
However, many moms often experience itchiness of the nipples early on. The skin can become irritated from constant use or from exposure to certain fabrics. First of all, you’ll want to start using a bra that is made from organic cotton. You can even look for a specially-made nursing bra that removes the cups for easy feedings. This should make a major impact on the itchiness.
During shower time you’ll want to avoid using any sort of soap on the breasts. Just use warm water and be careful to be tender when washing. This will help remove any bacteria and cleanse the area naturally, without irritants.
For more advice and tips from moms who have been there, visit Nursing Bras - because motherhood is too short to wear an ugly nursing bra!