A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Sore Nipples
I had a question the other day about sore nipples.
Breastfeeding, or lactation, is the natural way for a mother of a newborn to feed her child instead of relying on cow’s milk or artificial infant formulas.
A woman’s breasts are ideally suited for feeding a baby, and nursing gives many benefits to both mother and baby.
For example, mother’s milk is much easier to digest, prevents constipation, lowers the chance of food allergies, and protects the baby from many infectious diseases.
Nursing also promotes healthy oral development, satisfies suckling needs, and enhances bonding between mother and child.
Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother as it reduces the chance of hemorrhaging from the placental site, gives you a chance to rest, and encourages your uterus to contract, returning it to its pre-pregnant size.
Sore nipples are usually caused by improper nursing positions and nursing schedules, or incorrect sucking by your baby.
They can also be caused by infection, most commonly with the fungus Candida albicans.
To deal with sore nipples it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*Nurse on the least sore side first. But, if both breasts are sore, massage your breast until letdown occurs and milk is readily available to your baby.
*Make sure your baby’s jaws put pressure on the least tender spots. Don’t pull away when your baby is about to begin feeding. Learn to relax.
*Massage your breasts from base to tip to prevent engorgement. Do this during the final weeks of your pregnancy and continue through postpartum.
*If cracked nipples accompany soreness, apply aloe vera gel to your nipples to alleviate pain and promote healing. Also, aloe vera (fresh), calendula, marshmallow, and slippery elm are soothing when used in paste form as a poultice, or as wet tea bags, and applied to sore nipples.
Apply avocado oil, calendula ointment, lanolin, and olive oil (separately or in combination) to your breasts to help prevent soreness during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Wash thoroughly before allowing your baby to breastfeed.
*To prevent sore nipples, feed your baby frequently to avoid having a baby who’s overly hungry bite down roughly on your nipple. Be sure your baby’s mouth takes in as much of the areola (the dark area of your nipple) as possible. Your baby shouldn’t make slurping noises when feeding.
*Change nursing positions often to rotate the pressure of your baby’s mouth on your breast, and learn to break suction correctly. Between feedings, keep your nipples dry. Expose them to sunlight and air. Don’t wash them with soap, alcohol, or petroleum-based products, which can wash away their natural protection. Instead, you can apply a little colostrum on your nipple and let it air dry.
*If the pain is severe and persists despite these measures, it may be a sign of a candida infection. Consult your health care provider.
*Any of the following herbs can be beneficial while nursing: alfalfa, blessed thistle, dandelion, fennel, and raspberry.
*Nettle leaf has a tonic effect and contains iron, in addition to many other nutrients.
*The following herbs decrease milk supply, and should be avoided until you’re no longer nursing: black walnut, sage, and yarrow.
*Eat plenty of brewer’s yeast, eggs, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Raw foods should be plentiful in your diet.
*A mother’s milk is a nearly perfect food. However, it’s low in vitamins A, D, and C. You should eat a balanced diet, but you can also benefit from taking prenatal multivitamins and nutritional supplements like calcium, vitamin D, and fish oil.
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