The first few weeks of breastfeeding aren't always easy. In fact, they were pretty excruciating for me. My Little Beauty ate like a champ and latched on "perfectly", according to my delivery nurse and the two lactation consultants that I worked with. But I still ended up with chapped, cracked, and even bleeding nipples. Every time I heard her hunger cries, I agonized. She would latch on and I would flinch and try not to scream. Often, I'd cry.
The pain actually made sense to me. After all, if you had a little baby sucking (hard, mind you) on any body part every two hours for thirty minute stretches, I'd venture to say that you'd be sore in that spot too! But the fact that so many other moms that I knew had experienced sore nipples and that it made perfect sense didn't provide any comfort when the time for latch-on approached.
To ease the pain, I used Lansinoh's lanolin cream (that stuff is amazing!) and also expressed milk on to my nipples after each feeding (these were both techniques that I learned from other moms and lactation consultants).
Time passed. My nipples healed and breastfeeding became a beautiful and bonding experience for both me and my baby. It actually was (and continues to be) quite magical.
For any of you out there who are currently in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding, don't give up! There's help to be found...
Gina Ciagne is the Director of Breastfeeding Relations and Outreach at Lansinoh Laboratories in Alexandria, VA. She is also a certified lactation counselor, a La Leche League-trained Peer Counselor, and (perhaps her most important credential) a mom to two breastfed children.
Gina kindly agreed to provide her expertise and knowledge for a four-part series about common breastfeeding concerns. Stay tuned in the upcoming week for more important information (and more giveaways) from Lansinoh, a company that aims to "provide support to breastfeeding mothers and their families"!
Q: My nipples are cracked and bleeding. Every time the baby latches on, I want to scream! What can I do to alleviate the pain and how long will it last?
GINA'S ANSWER: Breastfeeding itself should not be painful but in the early weeks of breastfeeding along with swelling and engorgement, nipples can become sensitive and sore. Nipple soreness and pain are often cited as major reasons why women stop breastfeeding. Proper positioning of mother and baby is important because it can prevent sore nipples and insufficient milk supply. If your nipples do become sore or cracked, Lansinoh HPA® Brand Lanolin can be applied to soothe, heal and protect nipple skin. And because Lansinoh is the world’s purest lanolin, it contains no preservatives or allergenic components and does not have to be wiped off prior to breastfeeding your baby. If pain persists, consult a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor to assess your positioning and latch-on to ensure that is not extending the soreness.
WIN IT! One winner will receive a box of Lansinoh HPA® Brand Lanolin, "the leading topical in its category." To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Wednesday, December 5th, 2007, at midnight. The winner will be announced and contacted via e-mail on Thursday, December 6. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
* UPDATED * The winner is #7 Sarah. Congratulations!