Breastfeeding moms — did you know that November is National Healthy Skin Month? We thought it would be the perfect time to solve some common skin problems that many moms deal with during and after breastfeeding.
Healthy skin and breastfeeding — what’s the connection?
If you are a breastfeeding mom, there are a ton of challenges you are faced with when trying to find the best routine to help you feed your baby. One of those challenges can include dealing with your skin health as it pertains to your breasts and the surrounding area. If you are breastfeeding for the first time, you may be looking for support so that you will know what is normal and what issues you should be looking out for. Learning how to deal with sore nipples is a common breastfeeding challenge that many new (and not so new) mothers experience.
Sore nipples & skin health
Sore nipples are a common problem that often occurs as a result of a poor latch. It is common to have some kind of nipple tenderness after delivery due to hormonal changes in the body. Nursing a newborn 8 to 10 times per day can lead to very sore nipples that are more than just a nuisance; this is a problem that can deter many women from continuing to breastfeed. Research shows that breastfeeding is the best nourishment a mother can offer her child. As a result, it is important to find ways to handle sore nipples as well as continue to nourish the skin around the nipples.
To heal sore nipples:
- A lactation consultant can help you improve the latch and offer keys to helping you maintain healthy skin around the breast.
- In the moments after nursing, rub breast milk on the breast and allow it to air dry.
- Change your breast pads after nursing so that you do not allow your breasts to remain wet.
- Wear a comfortable bra that allows the skin to breathe and ensures as much comfort as possible.
- Use a high-quality lanolin ointment to help protect the skin after feeding.
- Try nursing on the least sore side first while allowing the skin on the opposite side to rest and heal.
- Try using a hydrogel pad that can be placed inside the bra cup over the nipple.
- Vary your positions while breastfeeding so that your body does not tire of being in one position all the time.
Don't give up!
Many women become discouraged when sore nipples and cracked skin occur while breastfeeding. That is why it is important to find support early for your decision to breastfeed well before you think you may need it. Your doctor may be able to support you with suggestions for a lactation consultant. He or she may also help you to locate products that will support healthy skin around the breast and nipples. This can include a product like lanolin ointment to prevent dried, cracked skin.