Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to nourish your infant. With a few precautions, you can nurse your baby without ending up with painful nipples.Here are several ideas for preparing your nipples for breast feeding.
- Rub moisturizer on your nipples. An organic moisturizer such as lanolin can keep your nipples supple without harming your feeding infant. Or simply leave on the natural oils produced by the breasts. Avoid washing your nipples with soap, which can dry out the skin, remove the oils and aggravate its sensitivity. Avoid using alcohol or petroleum jelly as well, as these will lead to cracking.
- Train your nipples to point outwards. Flat or inverted nipples can hinder your child's ability to latch on. You can coax your problem nipples to poke outwards by pressing them between your thumb and forefinger several times a day during pregnancy. You can also wear breast shells for the entire day, only to remove them at night.
- Perform the Hoffman technique. Developed by Dr. J. Brooks Hoffman, this procedure is supposed to train your inverted or flat nipples to come out. Gently squeeze both sides of the nipple with thumb and forefinger repeatedly five times a day. After a couple of weeks, your nipples will tend to come out of the breast.
- Do not wear a bra a home. Simply wear a silk camisole or a button-down blouse made with soft fabric. By letting your nipples rub against your top, they will gently be desensitized. You can also try moving a face towel repeatedly on your nipples to toughen them up. Finally, expose your nipples to fresh air a few minutes a day.
- Try teaching your infant to properly latch on your nipples to avoid soreness. Pain and soreness are usually signs that improper latching has occurred. Gently brush the nipple on the baby’s lips until his mouth opens. By waiting until the mouth is wide, you can reduce soreness by preventing unnecessary rubbing of the nipples. Both the chin and nose of the infant must be touching the nursing breast. Avoid pulling the baby off while suction is still present as this will result in sore nipples. You can break off suction by insert your pinky finger between his lips and your breast. Properly positioning the child will also alleviate breast pains.
- Avoid rubbing your nipples with a nail brush. This will only injure them, not toughen them up. Consult a doctor if you ever injure yourself with excessive scraping.
- Massage your breasts. Stroking your own breasts will stimulate the blood vessels within as well as train them for the eventual breastfeeding. Start by using one hand to cup the underside of one breast while using the other hand to massage the entirety of the gland. Perform this task every day, preferably under a warm shower.
Take note that nipple stimulation during pregnancy can lead to labor. Your body may take it as a signal to begin uterine contraction. Leave your nipple alone when you are experiencing anything resembling contractions or body changes.