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Thread: Nipple Preparation for Breastfeeding

  1. #1

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    Default Nipple Preparation for Breastfeeding

    I was wondering if there is anything you can do to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding, to avoid cracking & bleeding?


  2. #2

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    I don't think you have to do anything in preparation (maybe I'm wrong). The best way to avoid cracking and bleeding is ensure bub is attached properly. Make sure you get help from a lactation specialist whilst you are still in hospital if you can. I didn't have any cracking or bleeding when I fed my DS and all his feeds were from the same side (due to non-pregnancy medical issue) so my poor boobie didn't get achance to rest between feeds!

    Breastfeeding doesn't hurt if you have your bub attached properly, so don't worry, it's a lovely experience.

  3. #3
    paradise lost Guest

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    No cracks here either and i also did nothing to prepare them, unless you count nipple stimulation to try to bring labour on! Getting a good attachment is key, with that your nipples won't be harmed. For me the best preparation for BFing was in my head, not my body - i read a lot, went to a BFing class and watched friends feeding, it all helped. In addition i fed DD as soon as she was interested and put her to the breast whenever she wanted so she was alert but not desperate, and if it hurt AT ALL past the first few sucks i'd take her off and try again rather than let her learn a bad technique. I have flattish nipples so there was always a little stretching pain at the very start of a feed, but beyond that i knew it shouldn't hurt. Some of the early feeds took a while, with me popping her off, drying my breast and her face and putting her back on again, but she learned fast and a little dry skin (which was gone within 4 days) was all i had there - it didn't hurt. I put lanisoh nipple cream on them after some feeds but i think they'd have been fine even if i hadn't, it just made me feel proactive. LOL.

    Bec

  4. #4

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    Definitely not. There is an olds wives tale that says you should brush them with a wire brush - ouch! But this is definitely a no-no. The best preparation is to do a bfing course, and it is often recommended that you "get to know your bbs" - ie feel them to know what they feel like empty so that you will be more in tune to them when they are "working", and feel more comfortable about touching them. Most women feel uncomfortable with this, but believe me once you've bfing for a while touching your bbs does not feel strange at all!

  5. #5
    paradise lost Guest

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    LOL Melanie! You've reminded of me, sleep-deprived, with a hungry 3 week old DD, walking down the street absent-mindedly squeezing my boobs to see which one was more full.

    Bx

  6. #6

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    Thanks very much ladies. I had no idea that it wasn't meant to hurt. I thought that cracked, bleeding nipples was normal initially until your BB's got use to it. I'm glad I posted this thread...

    Thanks heaps.

  7. #7

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    No, not the norm at all! As the others have said, good attachment is the key, so make sure you get plenty of help in the early days. And prepare yourself well

    That's not to say to BFing is not totally without pain in the first week or so......it can be uncomfortable for the first 30 seconds or so when bub latches on, but that should settle, and there should definitely NOT be any bleeding or cracked nipples. And your bbs will be sore when your milk comes in, but again, that will settle. And there's no way to prevent that, although there are things you can do to make it slightly more comfortable!

  8. #8

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    Hi,
    The best nipple preparation you can do during pregnancy is educate yourself about breastfeeding! If you think you get a lot of conflicting information while you pregnant - it's only just beginning! Gets much worse when you have the baby.
    When you join the Australian Breastfeeding Association you will get a free copy of their book, "Breastfeeding Naturally" and many groups run breastfeeding classes. This is one of the best investments a pregnant mother can make to ensure their breastfeeding experience goes smoothly
    Warm Regards
    Barb

  9. #9

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    I actually beg to differ a little bit. I have very sensitive nipples and breastfeeding did hurt me a lot. I got blisters and they did bleed before they toughened up. I think it's important for people to be realistic about how it CAN feel for some and that despite proper attachment it can hurt.
    If it hurts to feed your baby it may not be attached correctly but you may just be one of the ones who feel the pain.
    A few girls I know were told it wasn't going to hurt and were shocked and thought they were doing something wrong which led them to giving up and FF.
    It only took a couple of weeks for mine to stop hurting and now, 19 months later we are still BF and it is such a joy and well worth the initial pain!!

  10. #10
    nat Guest

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    (I'm not even pregnant yet, so this is not from experience)
    I heard that it was supposed to 'toughen' the nipple if you exposed them to the sun for a bit each day, for a couple of weeks before the birth. I would hope that they were using sunscreen because sunburnt boobs does not sound like fun!

  11. #11

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    My MIL told me to put bepanthen on my nipples during pregnancy up until birth, and I did and I never ever had any cracked nipples or problems. Don't use bepanthen when feeding as its not consumable for bubs but I dunno if it worked or not but I never had any problems

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by amber View Post
    I actually beg to differ a little bit. I have very sensitive nipples and breastfeeding did hurt me a lot. I got blisters and they did bleed before they toughened up. I think it's important for people to be realistic about how it CAN feel for some and that despite proper attachment it can hurt.
    If it hurts to feed your baby it may not be attached correctly but you may just be one of the ones who feel the pain.
    A few girls I know were told it wasn't going to hurt and were shocked and thought they were doing something wrong which led them to giving up and FF.
    It only took a couple of weeks for mine to stop hurting and now, 19 months later we are still BF and it is such a joy and well worth the initial pain!!
    I agree. I was attaching my son correctly ( mw said so) yet I was still sore for a couple week just that initial first suck.

    another thing I do is to express a little colustrum and rub that around the nipple area. just when I remember no set routine

  13. #13

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    You definitely don't need to 'toughen up' your nipples. If you think about it 'toughening up' leads to harder nipples not hardier nipples so they are more likely to crack and bleed than normal nipples that are soft and more flexible.
    I also agree with Amber. I had quite a bit of pain that only settled down after about 3 months despite good attachment (and yep I am positive the attachment was good). I am sure I did quite a bit of damage myself actually because when I was told by one midwife that if it was painful then the attachment wasn't good enough which led to me constantly detaching and re-attaching bub. Only to discover later that the attachment was just fine. So I guess as Barb said education is the key and try not to worry about all of the differing opinions that you are likely to get in hospital from each different midwife.

  14. #14

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    my preparation consists of having a tube of 'lansinoh' handy for the first few weeks. i find my nipples get very tender and sore to begin with as they are not used to all that extra attention, but that lansinoh cream works wonders (and if they get too sore I express for a few feeds).

  15. #15

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    my preparation consists of having a tube of 'lansinoh' handy for the first few weeks. i find my nipples get very tender and sore to begin with as they are not used to all that extra attention, but that lansinoh cream works wonders (and if they get too sore I express for a few feeds).
    My experience exactly - I literally just got back from buying a tube. I heard that creams are not promoted by the ABA but I loved using lansinoh last time and will do it again - I used it after and between every feed for at least the first 2 weeks and didn't get a single cracked nipple. Good attachment is probably 95% of the hurdle though, but lansinoh certainly gives you that extra protection.

  16. #16

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    I think the thing with creams is it keeps the nipple moist, creating a haven for bacteria.. but really they need to dry between feeds, which is why rubbing some breastmilk on them and letting them air dry is a good way to cure any soreness. I remember falling asleep 'airing' my boobs in hospital.. gosh I hope no-one walked in! LOL.

    Bec - It didn't take me long either to start squeezing my boobs in public to try and remember which side I was up to! LOL.

    I didn't do any preparation, and I felt the initial sensitivity at each feed for a while. Think one got bruised coz he sucked so hard when not attached properly! But once he got going (after 30sec or so) each feed was fine.

    Another thing is not to wash your nipples in the shower.. there are natural oils and things that your nipples have that are important for keeping them supple. Perhaps another reason why creams aren't recommended? Maybe they interfere with nature's little system

  17. #17

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    I agree with Amber, Aussienic and others - it doesn't have to be poor attachment to hurt.
    For most people, if you are attaching correctly (and get some good, thorough advice about this before you leave hospital) then the pain will be minimal.
    I had read books, been to classes etc and done all that...
    but unfortunately, I was one who had perfect attachment and VERY painful nipples (blisters, cracks, bleeding... I still have very deep scars to show for it!). I was seeing a lactation consultant regularly who assured me that attachment was fine and that it should get better soon. Well, it did get better... after about 3 or 4 months.
    If you DO end up with sore nipples - I highly recommend 'Nipple Paint' - you have to ask your pharmacist to mix some up for you. I *think* (can't quite remember) it's cod liver oil and ferrous balsalm in a certain ratio. I tried the colostrum, air-drying, sun exposure, lansinoh, paw-paw ointment, bepanthen, you name it. But the nipple paint was what worked for me.

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