Breast feeding a new born infant is a beautiful time for a mother to bond with her baby. Most nursing mothers experience some sort of soreness in the breasts or nipples, more so in the first few weeks of breast feeding.
This pain is mostly due to cracks or infection in the nipples or excessive accumulation of milk in the breasts. Sometimes, soreness is accompanied by severe discomfort, hardness and pain. There are a few home remedies that mothers can use to alleviate the pain associated with breast feeding a baby.
Best Home Remedies For Breast Feeding Pain
Massage your breasts gently, prior to feeding your baby. This is an effective home remedy to increase circulation and allowing the milk to flow freely. Breast massage should be done gently when the breast hardens due to excessive milk accumulation. This provides instant relief from breast feeding pain.
Warmth can alleviate soreness of the breasts caused by breast feeding. Pour some hot water in a hot water bag. Place this bag on top of your breasts.
Air And Sunlight
Drying the nipples with a wet cloth after every feed, makes them prone to chapping and infection due to excess moisture. Chapping can cause undesirable pain when the baby breast feeds. Instead, leave the flaps of your nursing bra open for some time. This will air dry the nipples, reducing chapping. Exposing breasts to sunlight for some time every day, will also avoid breast feeding pain.
Ensure Proper Positioning Of The Baby
Breast feeding pain can also occur on account of nipple soreness due to improper positioning of your baby. Ensure that most of the areola is inside the baby’s mouth and not just the nipple.
You can also place a pillow on your lap to hold the baby closer to your breast, in level with the nipple. If the baby is held too low, he will tug at the nipple with his gums, downwards, increasing your pain.
Breast Switch Strategy
New mothers often allow their baby to feed on one breast till the baby stops feeding. This actually drains one breast while the other remains full. Now till the next feed, the breast which is full will turn sore and painful. To avoid this, after every five minutes of feeding, stop feeding, burp the baby and then switch breasts before you resume feeding. This ensures that both the breasts are drained well, avoiding any chances of breast feeding pain.
Breast Pumps To Ease Engorgement
In case your baby is ill or unable to feed frequently, the milk in your breasts will start building up, making your breasts hard, sore and painful. This can even block a milk duct. In such cases, use a breast pump to extract excess milk. This will provide relief from pain.
Wear supportive bras made of skin friendly, natural material like cotton which allows air flow and evaporation.
Goodness Of Breast Milk
In case your nipples have just started developing cracks, just express some breast z gently and apply on the cracks.After application, allow your nipples to air dry. Breast milk is known for its antibacterial and healing properties that keep cracks at bay, thereby avoiding breast feeding pain.
Cover an ice pack with a thin cloth and place it on your breasts between feedings. Ice packs provide relief from breast feeding pain.You can also place packs of frozen peas or carrots covered in cloth or chilled cabbage leaves inside your bra to get relief from pain.
Stop Baby Bites
If your breast feeding pain is mostly due to your baby using your nipples as a teether, it is high time you practice unlatching the baby’s mouth every time he or she bites. This happens in the case of babies who are teething or have developed a few teeth. Biting indicates they do not want to feed. To unlatch a baby from your nipple, insert your finger into his or her mouth, sliding it alongside your breast far inside till the baby leaves the nipple. Then quickly move the baby away from your breast and put a teether in his/her mouth.
In spite of following these home remedies if you see pus or blood in your nipples, accompanied by high fever, consult a gynecologist immediately.