Breast care while breastfeeding: A few tips

Many mothers complain of painful, sore nipples while breastfeeding. Correct nipple care is particularly important in this case. Tips on breast care while breastfeeding are available here.

Breastfeeding is natural and meets all your baby’s nutritional needs in the best possible way. However, it can place a strain on your nipples at times, particularly when you first start. Some women stop breastfeeding early due to sore nipples. Therefore, it is beneficial to know several tips on nipple care and preventing sore nipples.

How can you care for your breasts while breastfeeding?

  • Make hand hygiene a priority (wash your hands with soap before breastfeeding)
  • During your daily showers, wash your breasts preferably only with water or an extremely mild, pH-neutral soap; do not use any perfumed body lotions. 
  • It is very important that your baby latches on to the breast correctly and you breastfeed in a good position, as this can help to prevent sore nipples. Advice from a midwife or breastfeeding consultant can be helpful in this case.
  • After breastfeeding, massage two drops of breast milk onto both nipples and let it dry
  • It is always advisable to air-dry your nipples well after breastfeeding
  • If you use nursing pads, change them regularly to prevent a moist environment and any infection (bacteria, fungus) from occurring
  • Apply black or sage tea compresses to your nipples
  • Hydrogel pads have a cooling effect and alleviate pain
  • Wear breathable, comfortable clothing and bras (e.g., made of cotton, no underwire in your bra)
  • Apply an ointment consisting of 100% lanolin to your nipples sparingly after breastfeeding. Tip: When you select a nipple care ointment, you should choose a hypo-allergenic product that does not contain any mineral paraffins or preservatives.

Where can you receive professional support?

If your nipples are bloody, cracked or painful, it may be helpful to seek professional support from a midwife or breastfeeding consultant. The specialist will observe how you breastfeed your baby and determine whether he has the nipple correctly placed in his mouth, i.e. has correctly latched on to the breast. The specialist can also demonstrate different mother and child breastfeeding positions and teach the mother a good latching technique. Incorrect latching on to the breast and an uncomfortable position during breastfeeding can cause nipple problems and pain. This can manifest as a nipple infection that requires professional treatment. It is important to recognise the causes of the problems and not only to treat the symptoms.

If you have sore nipples, midwives and breastfeeding consultants may consider measures such as laser treatment of the nipples. If you have serious problems, please consult a doctor. Sometimes the baby may have a tongue tie, which can prevent him from sucking correctly on the breast. This can be removed by a paediatrician.

Summary

  • Preventive breast care
  • Make sure that your baby latches on to your breast correctly and you breastfeed in an optimum position (the 7 most common breastfeeding positions)
  • Please seek specialist help if necessary
  • Keep calm and try to approach breastfeeding in a relaxed manner; do not put yourself under pressure

About the author

Anna-Tina Weber-Tramèr is a midwife at the Hirslanden Klinik im Park and can look back on many years of professional experience.