Sore Nipple Strategies

2019-08-17T22:50:34+00:00August 17th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , |

.Most of us had an idea in our head about how breastfeeding would go. You probably pictured the serene moments gazing into each other’s eyes, then your milk drunk baby slipping off to sleep in your arms.  The reality of the early days of breastfeeding can be surprising, as those of us that have lived them can attest. For 80-90% of moms, nipple and breast pain is part of their new mom life, at least in the short term since almost all nipple pain resolves in the first 2 weeks.

Nipple pain it’s not just for new moms, it can re-emerge with each baby. Issues like a shallow latch, slow let-down and tongue tie are unique to each baby. Although your breastfeeding experience will help you solve these problems much faster the second time around.

If you are suffering from nipple pain, here is a list of possible reasons and solutions:

-Shallow latch. You baby should have a wide open mouth before latching onto the nipple and surrounding areola, not just the nipple. Top and bottom lips should both be curled back and the chin firmly pressed on the breast. This position allows the nose to remain unobstructed with correct positioning.

– Pulling your baby off before breaking suction. When you are ready to take your baby off the breast, place a finger in the side of the mouth to release the suction first. Otherwise you stretch and strain tender nipple tissue.

-Slow milk flow. Your baby may be spending extra time on your breast or try to suck with greater force if your let-down reflex takes a while. To speed it up, self express a bit of milk before feeding to get milk flowing and soften up your breast before latching your baby. Once your baby is on the breast, use breast compression to keep milk flowing quickly without much suction from your baby.

-Using the same breastfeeding position every time. Depending on the angle, you baby’s mouth can apply pressure in different parts of your breast and nipple. If you have a tender spot when using the football hold, try lying on your side next time you feed.

-Dry, cracked nipple tissue. Your nipple has natural lubrication from the oils released by your Montgomery Glands, the little bumps that surround your areola. But the friction of your baby’s mouth can strip away your natural oils leaving your nipples red and cracked. There are several nipple creams available that can help your tender tissue heal. Check out our Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm  for an organic olive oil based cream that doesn’t need to be removed prior to putting your baby to breast.

Your nipple pain should taper off and go away entirely by day 14. If your nipple pain lasts longer or is accompanied by other breastfeeding problems like full breasts or a frequently fussy baby, see your lactation consultant.


A rough beginning but a happy ending – the conclusion

2014-12-17T20:37:36+00:00December 17th, 2014|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Lauren was born in August and the days were warm and still. I felt relatively well and especially grateful to not be pregnant anymore in this hot weather. Lauren was breastfeeding around the clock and my older boys were busy with outside activities.

The nipple pain started on day two. Lauren always had a shallow latch but I kept working with her to take more breast tissue, enough that her top and bottom lips would curl over. I tried the positioning technique I learned from Dr. Newman – pulling her belly button in close and keeping her head aligned with her little body. It seemed like a natural way to hold her; she seemed comfortable and swallowed easily. Her latch remained shallow although I tried everything – pumping before feeding, holding the breast to make it the size of her mouth and waiting for the wide open mouth before putting her to breast. Nothing helped.

The nipple pain continued and they were bloody and cracked by day 3. Each time I fed Lauren I tried to get more breast tissue into her mouth and deepen her latch, but she would always slip down, causing pain with each feeding. Making matters worse, Lauren was not emptying the breast well with her shallow latch and she would often become frustrated, crying inconsolably. Oh the early days with a newborn – it is a tough time mommies!

Near the middle of day 3 I tried breast compressions as Dr. Newman had taught in his seminar. The technique is simple and easy to master. Place the hand on the breast the baby is nursing on and gently squeeze or push down on the ducts which are located above the areola. More milk is pushed down into the baby’s mouth than by suckling alone. This helps baby get full and mom’s body gets the signal to produce more milk. A win-win situation.

Day 4 and 5 we turned a corner and things got easier. I was using breast compression at every feeding; Lauren was growing bigger and stronger. As her mouth grew she was able to take more breast tissue into her mouth and my nipple pain subsided. She was still fussy in the evening, but soon she outgrew that too.

My early days with Lauren reminded me that each baby is different. Although I had breastfed before, Lauren hadn’t. It took us almost a week to learn this new skill. I was grateful to have a toolbox of interventions to try, since nothing seemed to work in the beginning. I also had the experience of successfully breastfeeding my other kids; I believed I would eventually be successful with Lauren too. Sometimes things just get better with time and experience. When the photo at the top of this post was taken, Lauren was 7 weeks and already traveling with me to talk about Milkies. She is showing a hunger cue I got to know well – sucking on her fist.

I also give credit to Dr. Newman. He has worked with thousands of mom and baby pairs and gives practical, easy-to-follow advice that worked very well for Lauren and I and so many others.

Here is the link to his website again.

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