Breastfeeding is the most common, nutritious, and simple way of feeding infants. However, this simple yet beautiful process is not always as its cracked up to be from the mum's perspective. Writer Inioluwa Fadairo explores several causes of sore and cracked nipples and soothing solutions to make for a happy mum and baby. Some causes of Sore and Cracked Nipples - Improper Latching and Positions: Since you and your baby are just figuring out how best to nurse, it might take a while to figure out the best way to latch on. Improper latching and positioning can put pressure on the nipple and in turn, make it irritated and sore. . Dry Skin: If you have dry skin generally, washing and cleaning your nipple during bathing and not applying the right moisturizing ointment can result in cracked skin around your nipples and further irritations. . Nipples Confusion: Using a baby bottle and pacifier in conjunction with breastfeeding can confuse your baby. The texture of your nipples differs from that of a babys bottle but your baby may have a hard time differentiating the two and then apply too much pressure on your nipple to achieve the same suction results as a babys bottle. Teething: Teething results in annoying discomfort in your babys gum and then causes the little bub it against your nipples for relief. How to treat sore or cracked nipples “Breastfeeding is a natural act, but it is also an art that is learned everyday. the reality is that almost all women can breastfeed, have enough milk for their babies and learn how to overcome problems of all magnitudes. It is nearly always practical knowledge and not a question of good luck” — La Leche League Find the right position during breastfeeding: While breastfeeding your baby, ensure that both of you are in the right position as advised by a lactation consultant. Position your baby in a way that their chin rests on your breast and their mouth should cover the entire nipple and part of your areola. - Apply breast milk: The most natural remedy to cracked and sore nipples is breast milk - go figure! After feeding your baby, apply a few drops of breast milk onto your nipples and let it air-dry for a few minutes before putting on your bra or clothes. Breast milk contains an antibacterial agent that helps to fight off bacterias and speed up healing. Dont apply breast milk if you have thrush, to prevent further infection. - Warm compression: A good way to soothe sore or cracked nipples is warm compression. All you have to do is to dip a piece of washcloth in warm water, wriggle out the liquid and gently place the warm washcloth on your nipples for a few minutes, then pat dry. - Regular change of nursing pads: Don’t leave your nursing pads against your nipple once they become damp as it might delay healing. Change it regularly. Also, go for cotton nursing pads rather than plastics. P.S: Never rule out the wisdom of your lactation consultant. If sore or cracked nipples persist for more than 2 weeks, consult your lactation consultant for medical advice because it might be an infection. “Mother’s milk is soul food for babies. The babies of the world need a lot more soul food” — Ina May Gaskin Follow these steps and you and your sweet little one should be on your way to happier breastfeeding moments! The Author: Inioluwa is a student of Communication and Language Arts and a creative writer who draws inspiration from life experiences and events. She is also a fashion enthusiast and the founder of Aniker Clothier (anike_clothier). She loves listening to music, watching movies and reading books. You can reach out to her by sending a mail to @email@example.com
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