Breastfeeding is an innate quality in humans similar to all other mammals. Medically it is encouraged to breastfeed the child immediately after birth without any delay. It important for the well-being of both the mother and the child. However it is quite but natural that breastfeeding also comes with its posse of problems and most common amongst them is sore nipples. Statistics say that at least over 80% of new mothers experience sore nipples while breastfeeding.
The good news is that it is an easily curable pain and the methods to alleviate the pain associated with it are available at your home itself.
What causes sore nipples?
Most commonly sore nipples are caused when the baby is not latching properly onto the mother’s breast while feeding. The ideal positioning would be when the baby’s chin rests on the mother’s breast and its nose points towards the breast when the mother is feeding the baby in a semi-reclined position.
Few other causes can be due to hormonal changes which the body experiences during pregnancy, using the wrong bra size, excessive dry skin which may cause cracks on the nipples, skin infections, breast cancer, presence of small benign tumours, heart ailments, post-menstrual syndrome or certain medicines which are being administered to the mother.
Common symptoms of sore nipples:
It is observed that mothers suffering from sore nipples will experience pain and discomfort in the breast area coupled with itching, swelling and a discharge from the nipples. Tenderness of breasts, cracks, slight bleeding, headache, lack of sleep, hot flashes etc., are also seen.
Some tips to prevent sore nipples:
1. Following the correct posture while breast-feeding as per advice given by medical personnel.
2. Providing additional support to the baby by placing your hand below the baby’s shoulders.
3. If latching is wrong, then unlatch the baby by inserting your finger in its mouth and then re-latch again.
4. Seek medical help without fail or further delay when nothing seems to work.
Five simple home remedies for sore nipples:
It is not surprising that breast-milk in itself is an antidote for this problem. Applying breast-milk to the nipples before and after feeding the baby and allowing it to air-dry works well. This can be done multiple times in a day. I must say this worked really well for me!
2. Hot pads:
Using a cloth which is dipped in warm water, like a pad on to the breasts after wringing out excess water provides the much needed relief. Can be repetitively done. By personal experience this is one of the best methods which can be followed easily other than the first one. This method works well for most mothers.
3. Ice cubes:
Tying up a few ice cubes in a thin towel and gently pressing it against the breasts repeatedly also works fine.
This commonly seen and easily available herb proves to be very helpful for this condition. Grinding a few tulsi leaves into a fine paste and applying it to the affected area and leaving it to dry there, daily for three to four times until about a week or until the pain subsides can be done. It is important to wash the breasts thoroughly before feeding the baby.
5. Aloe vera:
One more wonder herb which comes to the rescue! Just peel out the gel from an aloe vera leaf and gently massage it onto the breasts and allow it to dry there. Procedure is similar to tulsi paste application and the breasts need to be cleaned up without fail before feeding.
New mothers are an apprehensive lot especially when they are first timers. I was one of them too! It is important to air our situations and seek help from elders who are experienced and also from health-care providers if the need arises. Thanks to the internet era, there are several fora online which provide answers and support to each and every question that a mother may have these days. Timely intervention is important and holds the key to relief. As always enjoy this phase of motherhood and happy parenting!