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Breastfeeding should not be a painful or uncomfortable experience. There might be a little bit of discomfort in the beginning, but once you are your baby fall into a rhythm, that should fade. If you are experiencing discomfort, here are some remedies that might help.
1. A proper latch
The best way to get long-term relief from painful nipples is to make sure your infant is latching correctly. Your child should have a good amount of your breast in his/her mouth; you’ll know your babe has latched successfully when you’re free of pain and your areola is not visible.
If you you’re struggling to achieve a good latch, consider meeting with a lactation consultant. Attaining a successful latch is the #1 way to prevent pain and nipple soreness.
2. Vinegar rinse
If you have itchy nipples, this might help (but keep in mind itchiness is a sign of thrush, so look for that first). This rinse can bring relief right away, but you probably still have to address the underlying problem.
Mix one tablespoon white vinegar with a cup of water. Lean over the cup and soak your nipples in the liquid for about a minute. Then stand over the sink and pour the solution over your nipples.
3. Express by hand (or by pump)
If your breasts are so engorged and hard that your baby can’t latch properly, and you’re experiencing pain, it’s alright to express your breastmilk by hand to make some room.
This is a double-sided sword, however. Your body will think that the baby is nursing, so it will produce more to replace what was spent, but if you’re overproducing, you don’t want that. If your breasts stay full for a while, your body will get the signal that enough is enough. So avoid expressing manually unless you’re in a lot of pain.
4. Heat and cold
Like any other part of your body, cold can numb your breasts and heat can soothe soreness. You’ll have decide which is right for you. If you can, use a nursing bra with pockets designed to hold a cold or warm pack in the bra so you can go about your day with some relief.
5. Treating mastitis
Mastitis is an infection of the breast that causes swelling, redness and pain. It’s almost always a sign of not getting enough rest and mothers with mastitis commonly experience flu-like symptoms. Mastitis can be a serious condition, so consider making an appointment with your doctor. If however, you’re desperate for some relief, consider all-natural remedies such as Echinacea root and soothing products from companies like Rachels’s Remedy and Mother Love Herb.
6. Olive oil (Sweet almond oil or comfrey ointment will work)
Massage your nipples and breasts with these natural salves during the later weeks of pregnancy and during breastfeeding to ensure your nipples are moisturized and supple. Giving your breasts some “TLC” prior to your little one’s arrival will make them less susceptible to cracking and chafing when you begin breastfeeding.
How did you ease discomfort when you were nursing?
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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