We're sure you have heard the horror stories about cracked and dry nipples from breastfeeding. In fact, in many cases, people seem to come out of the woodwork with terrible breastfeeding experiences once you have made the adult decision to do so yourself!
ANYWAY, there are a vast amount of products out there to help heal your cracked nipples due to breastfeeding. But what products should you be using?
If the time comes and you want to buy a nipple cream, we encourage you to make sure you read the label to see what is inside each cream-- because not all are created equal in regards to user safety.
First, before you go off to buy a cream--- if you feel like you are starting to have issues or want to prevent issues--- there is a very simple solution WITHOUT spending any money at all!
Did you know that the breastmilk you make has healing properties? Yup, breastmilk not only works as a moisturizer BUT a healing aid. No wonder its so good for your babies! That being said, once you are done with a breastfeeding session, just rub in the little milk left on your nipples and let is set-- it really works wonders.
If you want to go out and get a nipple cream, look out for 'Baby Friendly' labels and ingredients. Your baby may ingest some of the cream while breastfeeding so it's important to be careful when choosing a topical product. You want to specifically avoid fragrances, parabens, triethanolamine, peg-2 stearate (an environmental toxin), and topical steroids because it could mess with your baby's adrenal gland function as well as other bodily functions.
NOTE: It is not recommended to use vitamin E oils, coconut oils, olive oils, etc. They may be ingestible to you, BUT your baby cannot break down these types of lipids at such a young age. An overdose of Vitamin E could also lead to digestive issues for your infant.
Cream example: Lanolin has been around for a while and if you hang around breastfeeding mothers --its one of the most common types of creams. It was probably used by your mother and hers before you!
BUT what is it?
Its a mixture of alcohol esters and fatty acids that come from... SHEEP'S WOOL! If you're a vegan Mama, you may want to think twice about this product. But it is otherwise non-toxic to both mother and baby and you don't have to wipe off anything before breastfeeding. While it does not have the same recovery rates that breastmilk has for nipples-- it can be a great option.
It is recommended for any of these creams, to put it on at least 15 minutes before a breastfeeding session, because, while it is safe for your baby to consume, you put it on your nipples for a REASON. You want to make sure there is enough time for it to soak in and actually help your current issue.
If your nipples become cracked to the point of infection (a point that we sincerely hope no mother gets to) you may be but on antibiotic creams.
These antibiotics are safe to breastfeed with because your baby is constantly building their immune system and microbiome through breastfeeding!
One last thought for our mamas is that quite often, cracked and sore nipples are a cause of a poor latch. Because many moms do not get enough breastfeeding support both in the hospital after birth or after they have left, it is very common for infants to have troubles latching while they are still 'learning' to feed.
If not corrected at some point, this irregular positioning may cause you pain. This often leads to mothers deciding to give up breastfeeding because it is so painful.
THIS IS NOT HOW IT HAS TO BE!
If you are reading this, you are clearly already taking the crucial step in making sure you are as prepared as possible for breastfeeding. You are doing all your homework on breastfeeding, pumping, nutrition during pregnancy, what kinds of foods the baby should be eating, etc.
You are AWESOME Mama!
But when push comes to shove and life hits, how is that google search going to help you after you were up all night with your hungry baby while your nipples were screaming with pain? Or better yet, how will it help you from preventing that from happening in the first place?
This is why support during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not only 'nice to have', but is IMPERATIVE! No one is perfect and no amount of googling can help you implement and make changes in your life to better both you and your baby.
No one has ever become successful without help--- think of LITERALLY any 'successful person' you know.
So let US help you today...
Mamas Maternal Health not only has the knowledge on how to meet your nutrition and breastfeeding goals during and after your pregnancy, we also have the skills to help you meet and exceed them!
If you want to take the next step in meeting your goals and become the mom you are meant to be, check out our website and join us today!
Until next time!
Mikayla and Cassie
Mamas Maternal Health Registered Dietitians/Lactation Counselors
Reference: The Lactation Counselor Training Course Notebook (2018)., Healthy Children Project, Center for Breastfeeding
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