Breastfeeding is a huge part of your journey as a new mom. Apart from keeping your little one healthy and nourished, breastfeeding is also important for the skin-to-skin contact between you and your little one, which is an important part of the lifelong mother and child bond.
Breastfeeding is a natural thing, but this doesn’t make it easy. Most new moms struggle to get their babies to feed properly, and eventually also complain of painful and sore breasts and nipples. But just because this pain is common, it doesn’t mean you should suffer. Try to manage the pain with some techniques that might give you the much-needed relief you deserve.
1. Use a warm compress
Don’t you love how warm water can make your aching feet feel better? Well, it can help you with the soreness too. It’s quite common to have tenderness and soreness in the breasts and nipples, along with dryness and cracked skin, when your little one is feeding from it regularly.
Dip a clean washcloth in warm water - avoid hot water as this can dry your skin further. Place the washcloth on your breasts for a minute or so. You can repeat this a few times every day and it will relieve the soreness you experience.
2. Use breastmilk as a balm
Your breast milk has certain antibacterial properties. It can also help with moisturising your skin, so once you are done nursing, use some of the expressed milk to massage your nipples and breasts. This is a safe, natural and toxin-free remedy for dry, cracked nipples.
3. Avoid soaps
You might worry about whether your breasts are clean enough for your baby to feed from them, but applying soaps or bath products on your breasts is strictly a NO during your nursing period. Your skin is already going through a lot of change, and soaps may only make this worse.
Washing your breasts with warm water during your bath is more than enough to keep them clean. Make sure you wash your hands well before you touch your breasts while nursing your baby.
4. Keep the products away
Products should never be used without consulting your doctor first. Creams, lotions and other breast care products might create allergic reactions in your baby in some cases. Though the products are usually made taking the baby into consideration, it is safest to ask your doctor first. Some of the hygiene products for the problem might only aggravate the problem further as they tend to dry your skin, or strip it of natural oils that keep it moisturized.
Coconut oil and olive oil are safe and natural products for your skin during this critical period. Right before your shower, you can use either of these oils and massage your nipples and breasts gently. This will moisturize the skin and avoid cracking of the nipple skin, which is already vulnerable to these things.
However, make sure to wash it off well during your bath with warm water. The method is only recommended because it is chemical-free.
6. Aloe vera
You should never use aloe vera right before breastfeeding as it can cause diarrhoea in babies. But aloe vera by itself is a safe, natural cure that can help soothe cracked skin and heal injuries on the skin surface. Use fresh aloe vera gel from the plant, and allow it to dry on its own. Dip a washcloth in lukewarm water and wipe it off gently but thoroughly. It is safe to use aloe vera on your skin, but make sure you wash it off thoroughly before breastfeeding and avoid your baby from ingesting it.
7. Clothing Counts
Clothing is a huge part of feeling comfortable. During the breastfeeding period, your nipples will be sore from the baby’s latching. It might hurt when they come in contact with other things like clothing, so it always helps to wear soft, airy clothing and a bra that provides support but is not too tight. Also avoid underwire bras as they might cause plugged ducts or infections.
8. Excess milk?
Breast engorgement may occur when you have excess milk in your breasts and this can lead to the breasts feeling tender. It helps to express the excess milk or use a breast pump to do so. This will ease some of that tension and soreness.
Breast pain could also be because of mastitis and yeast infections, as well as plugged ducts. It is a good idea to speak to your doctor about the pain, as they will be able to help you with latching positions for the baby as well as check whether something else is the matter. Sure, breast pain and soreness may be something every mom experiences, but that doesn’t mean you should suffer. These remedies may make a big difference. Let us know how it goes!