By: Kajan Doyle
The first few days of breastfeeding can be an emotional roller coaster. The miracle of sustaining a tiny human can make your heart swell. Then, there’s the physical discomfort. Here’s a few helpful tips and products that can make those first few days more Ahh and less Oww.
TIPS FOR SORE NIPPLES:
This. Happens. To. Everyone. It’s just a matter of degrees. There’s the “That’s a bit tender” to “Oh my god are you a baby vampire?” The good news is that if your baby is latching properly this will subside. In the meantime, here’s a few DIY solutions and helpful products to get you there:
APPLY A SALINE SOLUTION
To cleanse cracked or irritated nipples
LET YOUR NIPPLES AIR DRY
The circulating air will dry your nipples and the time off from clothing will be a relief
EXPRESS BREAST MILK
Apply your breast milk which has antibiotic properties around your entire nipple to help it heal
Silver Nipple Covers are a great product to have on hand if you’re especially sore. They give your nipples a breast milk bath extending the healing properties of breast milk, and have the added bonus of preventing friction with clothing.
TRY MAKING YOUR OWN SALINE SOLUTION with our STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
TIPS FOR ENGORGED BREASTS:
This buildup of milk can be painful. To keep your supply up and relieve your painful breasts you need to express it. Problem is once they’re already at maximum capacity some women find it even more difficult to get the baby to latch or the pump to work. A few things to try:
Using your thumb massage in a circular motion around your breast, or you can use anything that rolls, a travel size shampoo, your water bottle, a can of soda… press to breast firmly and roll at different angles around the breast toward the nipple
Try a heating pad or warm compress after the massage
Fill a mixing bowl full of warm saline water leaving room at the top. Dip your entire breast into the bowl for at least 2 minutes. Repeat on other side
Try the above techniques in the shower. The steam, water pressure and warmth of the water will help you and your breasts relax. After the saline bowl or hand massage in the shower try to hand express
FEED PUMP OR BOTH
The massage, heat and warm saline should help with letdown, now it's time to express. Having problems with the pump? Pump one breast while nursing on the other. It takes practice to get everything positioned; however a nursing baby can be a big help with milk letdown. Turn the pump on before you begin feeding and try using a milk storage bad, they’re lighter and more forgiving with placement.
Still need more help? Many Birth Focus doulas are lactation consultants and can help.