The joyful bubble of giving birth to your precious one often breaks once breastfeeding begins and mothers start to find it difficult to breastfeed easily. Mothers are often told that its normal for breastfeeding to hurt, which in turn causes them to ignore any discomfort or pain that they may feel while breastfeeding. For most new mothers, it remains a challenge primarily due to the pain that they experience during breastfeeding. And nipple problems are rarely spoken about.
So, all new moms need to keep some key points in mind while beginning their breastfeeding journey and know how to troubleshoot lactation or nipple problems if they arise.
Sore nipples or painful nipples are caused by poor latch-on and can be easily rectified if mother can help the baby to latch. Click here to know the signs of a good breastfeeding latch.
Cracked nipples occur when soreness is not corrected. This leads to fissures in the nipple tissue and can also lead to bleeding from the nipples. Cracked nipples make breastfeeding extremely painful and can cause a lot of discomfort to the mother. Cracked nipples need immediate attention so the latch-on can be assessed and corrected. Breastmilk can be applied to the nipples post breastfeeding to help healing of the cracks as breast milk contains Vitamin E which aids in healing.
Nipple creams and nipple shields can be used under guidance of the lactation consultant.
Nipple blisters or blebs alco occur due to incorrect latch-on tech and look like small milk filled pimples on the mother’s nipples. The best way to deal with a nipple blister is to correct the latch-on technique and to apply warm coconut or olive oil on the nipples and rub at it with a coarse cloth. If the bleb/blister persists for more than 3-4 days, then the mother needs to seek the guidance of a lactation consultant or primary gyneacologist who can help rupture the blister using a sterile needle. Breastfeeding can continue in situations where a nipple blister is present.
This is also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon and is easy to understand as the nipples turns white post a breastfeeding session. The blood supply to the nipple during the process of breastfeeding is interrupted which leads to whitening or blanching of the nipple tissue. Apply warmth using a warm cloth or heat pad helps the blood flow to resume and makes the mother feels better.
It is important for new mothers to consult a lactation consultant for any nipple issues that occur post-delivery as they will be able to fix or avoid these issues only by correcting the latch. They can also consider consulting a lactation consultant during the antenatal period to rule out any nipple-related issues that may affect breastfeeding.
Use of nipple shields should be avoided as they can cause further nipple issues if not used correctly.
To summarize, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and the best gift that every mother can provide to her baby. However, breastfeeding is like learning to ride a bicycle and needs to be done with the correct technique to ensure comfort, and absolute joy with successful breastfeeding.