Friday, May 20, 2016

My Breastfeeding Experience-- Part 2: Nipple Care


This is the second of four posts about my breastfeeding journey with my second child plus information on products that have worked for me (and some that haven't).
Click on the following links to read about my experience with:

Milk Supply

Nipple Care
Support
Miscellaneous 



Nipple Care

Let me keep you abreast (get it!?) on the reality of the first days/weeks of breastfeeding... they can be VERY painful. In fact, so painful that many women give up altogether (even I considered giving up every day, during the first 2 weeks). I wasn't ready for cracked, bloody and sore nipples when I decided to take this route, and even typing this gives me a chill as I remember those painful days. But I dealt with it and now things are fine. The way I handled the pain was by first of all, reminding myself that it was worth it. I'd look at my child nurse and seeing him depend on me gave me the biggest motivation to keep trying. I did use a few things to help soothe though. Throughout these breastfeeding posts, you'll notice I've purchased stuff. Basically, we decided that since we're saving money on formula this time around, it was ok to buy a few items that would make my experience with breastfeeding, a little better. It is important to note that there will be light at the end of the tunnel... all the pain and cracking will go away!! Here's what I did to relieve my nipple pain and soreness:  




Lanolin 

In my opinion, this stuff is kinda icky. I know lanolin is the go-to remedy for breastfeeding mommies experiencing nipple discomfort but I cannot honestly say it helped me too, too much. Even though in the early days of trying (and crying) to make the pain go away, I would apply some and feel relief, I felt the relief was extremely short-lived (like 10 seconds). Lanolin is basically the grease found in sheep wool. It works for many moms and causes no harm to the baby. Though not my favorite, I keep a tube around at all times and wouldn't dissuade anyone from trying it. There are a number of brands that sell lanolin. This one is from Lansinoh, which was given to me at the hospital.




Coconut Oil

To be honest, after feeling a little disappointed by the lanolin, I tried coconut oil and felt much better. This was my nipple remedy of choice. And if you place it in the refrigerator, when you apply it, it will feel nice and cool. I would gently wipe it off before nursing, just because I didn't want Toby getting too much oil. Fortunately, before I knew it, I didn't need it anymore! 




Breast Wipes

I used a few "soothing" gel patches from the brand Medela (they came with my pump) and I hated them because although they provided immediate relief, separating them from the breast was ridiculously painful, worsening an already sore area. Instead, I bought breast wipes and gently patted the area every time I felt the need. They worked so well for me! The ones I use are the Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes. They also come in handy for wiping after a feeding when baby falls asleep and there's milk to clean up or when you remove your breast pads and there's a little bit of leakage. These have aloe vera and chamomile. They come in a nice bright yellow package that allows them to stand out from the baby wipes, make-up wipes and disinfecting wipes stored in my diaper bag...ha! 



Massage
Massaging your breasts in a hot shower IS. SO. HELPFUL! I can't stress this enough. Something about hot water falling on your suffering nipples makes everything better. I still remember the earlier days when I would take several quick showers just for the relief. 


Comfy Nursing Bras
Wearing a nursing bra is not enough. The bra must be wireless and made of soft fabric and very comfortable to avoid the awful little moment when you don't wear a nursing pad and the drops of milk at the tip of the breast dry up and basically stick to the bra... umm... Big ouch. The most comfortable nursing bra I own is by Gilligan & O'Malley (sold at Target)! These things can get pricey but are sooo worth it! 


Nursing pads
I received a box of nursing pads from my cousin Luana. They are by Target brand "Up & Up" and work perfectly. Believe it or not, during the first few weeks of breastfeeding, I would put a couple of nursing pads in a small plastic sandwich bag and place it in the freezer. The result was a very cold nursing pad that soothed and avoided leakage... So convenient! I've also read these are tremendously helpful when you wear a sports bra during a workout.

Do you have any other ideas for soothing sore nipples? Please share the knowledge!

Thanks for reading and click HERE to read Part III-- Breastfeeding Support



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