One of the least glamorous aspects of breastfeeding and new motherhood is sore, bleeding and blistering nipples (ouch), but – fear not – they will recover. Here are some top products to help them heal.
Breast shells and manuka honey combination
Manuka honey is incredible stuff, and as it is a natural option, it is a favourite of mine. The higher the level of activity, the better it works. After feeding, rince your nipples and apply Manuka honey generously to the nipple. To provent the nipple sticking to your breast pad, wear a breast shell inside your bra. Wash your nipple well before feeding as honey can give your baby severe diarrhoea, which is dangerous for babies younger than 12 months.
Citricidal is a grapefruit seed extract with powerful antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which make it a great thrush remedy for breastfeeding mums. You can get a Citricidal solution from your health-food store and dilute 10 drops with 30ml of water to create a soak. Pour this mixture into an egg cup or similar, immerse your nipple and let it soak for a minute or so. Rinse well as it is extremely bitter and your baby will protest.
Cellular silver spray
This is another great natural remedy for thrush. Speak to your local homeopath, who will tell you how often to use it based on the severity of your symptoms.
These are flat jelly-like discs that you wear against your skin, inside your bra and in combination with your breast pad. They cool and hydrate sore tender nipples and prevent unnecessary friction between your nipple and bra. They aren’t absorbent so you still need to wear a breast pad to prevent leakage. For maximum effectiveness, keep them in the fridge.
Hot, wet facecloth or flannel
To reduce bleeding, apply a hot, wet facecloth to the nipple prior to a feed to soften any dry skin or scabs, so that your baby doesn’t pull these off during the feed and cause bleeding. Soothing and practical.
Lanolin promotes cell regeneration and is great for moist wound healing. Only use a quarter of a small fingernail between both nipples and wipe your areola well before latching baby. When it is overused it lubricates the areola and causes baby’s lower lip to slip up to the base of the nipple. Stop using once your nipples have healed to prevent blocked pores, ducts and mastitis.
Multi-man relief compresses
This is a lanolin-free option which is derived from plants. These compresses really soothe and rehydrate sore nipples, especially if you they are kept in the fridge. Wear them inside your bra and breast pad between feeds until they dry out – usually 24 hours – then replace as necessary. Each box contains 12, so there are enough for both breasts for six days. Use in combination with salt-water soaks.
Some mums use nipple shields to protect sore nipples and this is okay but it is not solving your problem, just covering it up. If you decide to use nipple shields to heal nipples, get some help to get baby off the shields and back onto the breast in a couple of days time.
This might not sound great but it really works wonder. Add a couple fo pinches of salt to a small glass of comfortably warm water. Pop your nipple into the glass to test how strong the solution is. You want your nipple to tingle, not burn. Add salt until you have the desired effect. Soak your nipple in the mixture for a minute of two after feeds, then rinse off the excess salt. Use in combination with Multi-mam compresses or hydrogel discs.
Extracted from Geraldine’s new book Breastfeeding Made Easy, published by Vermilion.