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HOW CAN YOU EASE YOUR BREAST OR NIPPLE PAIN

When dealing with sore breasts or nipples, here are some pointers for avoiding pain in the future as well as making yourself more comfortable while your breasts heal:

●Make sure your baby latches onto your breasts correctly every time.

●Ask your doctor or lactation consultant to recommend a cream to put on your nipples in between feedings to help sore nipples heal.

●At the end of a feeding, massage some breast milk on your nipples, and then allow them to air dry.

●Consider wearing breast shields in between feedings (not to be confused with nipple shields, which are used during breastfeeding) to protect sore nipples. Breast shields are dome-shaped covers that prevent nipples from rubbing against clothing and help them heal faster.

●Ask your health care provider if a nipple shield is a good idea to use while nursing. These shields are placed over the areola and nipple during a feeding to protect sore or cracked nipples. Nipple shields may interfere with a mother’s milk supply, so it’s important to only use them under the supervision of a doctor or lactation consultant.

●Some women find it helpful to nurse more often but for shorter periods of time, rather than nurse for extended periods.

●Try to nurse first on the side that’s less sore.

●Gently break suction when removing your baby from your breast. (Slip your finger in the side of your baby’s mouth, between the gums, and then turn your finger a quarter turn to break the suction.)

●Vary breastfeeding positions to help drain all areas of your breast.

●Use wet or dry heat on your breasts (a warm water bottle, heating pad, washcloth, or warm shower) right before feeding. (However, if you have a yeast infection in your breast, you’ll need to keep your nipples dry because the yeast thrives on moisture.)

●Put ice packs or cool compresses on engorged breasts after feedings.

●Gently massage the sore area before nursing.

●Get plenty of rest and fluids.

●Some mothers with cracked or sore nipples find that pumping for 2 to 3 days allows their nipples to heal.

If you find that you’re consistently unable to nurse your baby without pain, be sure to call your doctor or a lactation consultant.

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