side lying breastfeeding position with the silverette nursing cups

Breastfeeding tips to help you minimise nipple damage

Breastfeeding tips to help you minimise nipple damage

We've all heard about someone who experienced severe nipple damage during the beginning of their breastfeeding journey.  We're talking about painful, cracked or bleeding nipples.  The type of pain that makes you wince and your toes curl in empathy. Whilst some pain and sensitivity is to be expected in the early days of breastfeeding, severe damage isn't a rite of passage.  It's not normal and not something you need to just push through Mama.

Breastfeeding, although natural, is very much a learned skill for you and your baby.  It takes time to get to know your baby's feeding cues, how they prefer to breastfeed, how your breasts respond and how to get good positioning and attachment.

Rest assured Mama that there are a number of things you can do to ensure your breastfeeding is an enjoyable experience and one that can sustain you both for a long time to come.

Knowing your baby's early feeding cues

Being able to recognise your baby's early feeding cues is an important one as it allows you both to navigate your positioning and latch together in a calm environment.  We all know how distressing it feels when your baby is screaming in hunger.  It often leads to rushed positioning and attachment which in turn can lead to pushing through a breastfeed with poor attachment.  Over time this poor attachment can lead to the nipple damage described above. 

Early baby feeding cues can look like the following:

  • making sucking motions with their lips
  • opening and closing their mouth
  • sticking out their tongue
  • puckering of their lips
  • moving their head from side to side, as if looking for something
  • putting their hands in the mouth and sucking on them

How to get good positioning and attachment breastfeeding

Good positioning and attachment is key to prevention of many breastfeeding problems.  A well latched baby is unlikely to cause any nipple damage and can drain the breast well each feed.  This in turn helps to establish a good milk supply and helps to set you up for success in the long term.

  • Position yourself comfortably with good support so that you are not straining your back or placing any stress on your shoulders. It's important that you always bring baby to your breast, not the other way around.
  • Position your baby close to you, with their head in alignment to their core. (ie. no twisting of baby's neck to reach the breast). They should be facing you with their tummy pressed against yours. 
  • Have no pressure behind baby's head so that the suck swallow reflex isn't inhibited
  • You ideally want an asymmetrical latch, one that has more areola showing above baby's top lip.  The chin is deep in the breast tissue with a flanged lower lip.
  • Baby's nose should be free from the breast

Prevention is key when it comes to caring for your nipples.  Being confident to break your baby's latch is an important skill as you don't ever want to just push through a painful breastfeed. You can break the suction by gently inserting your cleaned, little finger into the corner of baby's mouth.

Naturally prevent & soothe nursing nipples using Silverette 925 silver nursing cups

The silverette nursing cups proudly stocked here at milk & cookies by Jewels are little 925 silver cups that serve to sit over your nipples and areolas.  You wear these tucked into your nursing bra between breastfeeds.

Silver is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial benefits that can provide relief from skin experiencing inflammation, soreness or swelling. Every time the silver comes in contact with your nipple and areola skin, the relief and repair happens.

As your breastfeeding journey establishes, you might find you can reduce the frequency of their use, with many women commenting they found them useful to use again when their baby started teething.

In summary, no one knows their baby or body better than you.  If you're told that your latch looks good from the outside but you're experiencing nipple pain or damage, trust your Mama instinct and seek out the professional support from a lactation consultant or IBCLC.

Click here to shop the silverette nursing cups

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