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By Planning Family

Breast Problems - Sore Nipples

Nipple soreness can produce a reluctant nursing mum; this problems sprouts in the early days of nursing. All the manipulation, tugging and pulling by the baby contributes to some amount of soreness in every new mother. Sore nipples can make breastfeeding a nightmare. If not corrected it can lead to worse problems and an aversion to the whole breast feeding routine

The Facts on Soreness..

• Painful nipples create an anxious mum. Once anxious, her letdown reflex becomes weak and feeding becomes a bit of a problem

• If the pattern continues, further problems like engorgement can set in

• It is certainly preventable. Treatment should be executed promptly if the problem is already there.

• No soaps, scented stuffs and any form of abrasion on the breast area

• There are 2 types of soreness: the mild and the more serious version

• In the mild form, the burning sensation happens at the beginning for a few minutes before the letdown reflex begins. Because there isn't enough milk, the baby will be tugging vigorously at the breast. The tugging eases once the ducts start to fill up with milk. Both the mother and baby start to feel better when this happens

• Soreness in the mild form is temporary and tends to wear off unless the nipple is already bruised. Otherwise the problem tends to disappear after a few days of routine and practice

• In the more serious situation the sensitive skin around the nipple is already injured with cracks, fissures or blisters. The whole feeding session hence becomes painful and uncomfortable. Fortunately they are fairly uncommon but they do require treatment

• The main argument is that sore nipples are caused by babies not latching on properly. When baby is properly latched on, the baby will be clamping on the tissue surrounding the nipple and not the nipple itself. If the nipple is not erect, the baby faces problem of putting the whole nipple and the areola into its mouth. The mother's position and engorgement further act as

Sore Nipples is Preventable

• The mother should vary her positions. She can try the 'football' position for instance instead of the standard sitting positions, now that she has nipple discomforts. Pillows can be used to prop the baby to a suitable height and angle so that baby can reach for the nipple without much effort

• Correct latching is very important. Basically it will prevent baby from sucking on the nipple alone, causing it to crack and become sore. Secondly a good milk flow is ensured.

• Don't pull the baby off after its feed; carefully break the suction by putting your finger in your baby's mouth

• Some babies need to suck on and on. Offer your little finger or your partner's finger between feeds (avoid the pacifier if you can)

• Nipple shields should be used only if nothing else seems to work. This is because these shields confuse the baby in much the same way as bottles do.

• Expose nipples to air and light between feeds. Rub some breast milk around the nipple, wait to dry and then put on the bra. Alternatively, you may use the shields between feeds to allow for ventilation

• Wash the breast and nipple areas with water only. Avoid scented soaps and body wash and perfumes for the time being. Washing agents only dry up the skin and make it more susceptible to cracks

• In the initial months avoid bottle feeding and pacifiers. This only creates confusion for your kid

Nipple Care

• Following a feed, wash the nipples gently with water and leave them to dry naturally for 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid the towel if you can

• Apply dry heat to nipples with the aid of a hairdryer or a light bulb. Be careful on the degree of heat utilized and the distance

• Apply lanolin or mild creams to protect nipples. There are special creams for nipple cracks in the market. Breast milk serve as emollients too

• Manual stimulation of nipple to make it erect before putting baby to breast helps

• Let baby start on the nipple that is less sore. Once the milk has let down, switch baby to the sore nipple

• Avoid feeding using only one breast. After about 5 minutes transfer baby to the second breast

• Get extra rest

• Seek help from your doctor or a lactation consultant

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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