1. NO SOAP, PLEASE
When breastfeeding, don't wash your nipples with soap! Here’s why: your nipples have special nipple superpower ducts that secrete naturally lubricating, bacteria fighting oil. Don’t get us wrong: Hygiene is definitely important, especially since bacteria and fungus love dark, moist places (like behind a breast pad). But rinsing and air drying with your regular daily bath or shower should be plenty to keep your nipples in the pink.
2. BREASTFEEDING IS GOOD FOR YOU!
Obviously, yes — breastfeeding is good for your baby. But did you know it’s also good for your body? A research study has shown that the relative risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding in addition to a decrease of 7.0% for each birth. So, in conclusion, breastfeeding leads to healthier babies and healthier mamas. The end.
3. BE GENTLE
For the love of all nipples across the land, do not try to "toughen them up." There’s some age-old “advice” that says you’ve got to break in your nipples with a rough cloth or worse, a scrub brush. Nope. Just the thought of that makes us grab our breasts in pseudo-pain. Yes, like most skin, it takes a little bit of time for your nipples to get used to breastfeeding. In the meantime, keep your nipples soft with a soothing, safe-for-baby nipple cream. But please. No scrubbing, OK? Your baby will get them road-ready soon enough.
4. KEEP IT PURE
No toxic chemicals please! If you think about it, what’s going on your nipples is going straight into your sweet baby’s mouth. Allergic to wool? Well, here’s the thing about lanolin: it’s sebum or grease from sheep's wool and may contain allergens and even trace amounts of pesticides. We also don’t recommend nipple creams with comfrey, which has been shown to be a liver toxin.
Instead, try organic calendula, which is the best herbal option for sore, cracked nipples. That’s why so many mamas around the world love Earth Mama’s Organic Nipple Butter.
5. EVERY NIPPLE IS A GOOD NIPPLE
Just like babies, nipples come in all shapes and sizes. If they are inverted or flat, you can still breastfeed! And the more you do, the more they will "pop out.” If you’re having difficulties, seek help from your friendly lactation consultant or specialist. But trust us: you got this.
6. FREE THE NIPPLE! AND…THE RIGHT BRA IS EVERYTHING
Your breasts are hard at work making food for your baby. So, give them and their sweet nipple sidekicks a supportive, comfortable bra. Or, if your nipples are really sensitive, go bra-free as much as possible. Comfort is key.
Also, nipples like air. And when they’re sore, well…any sort of touch is going to hurt. Give them a breather every once in a while — they’ll heal faster.
7. BREASTMILK TO THE RESCUE
If you’re experiencing cracked, sore nipples, massage a few drops of expressed breast milk onto them. Along with a safe nipple cream, your own breastmilk can also be soothing.
8. THE CABBAGE LEAF THING REALLY WORKS
Cabbage leaves really can help with sore, engorged breasts. It’s true! Nobody really knows why, but evidence — and a lot of motherly wisdom — shows that cabbage leaves placed directly on your nipples and breasts can ease the unearthly pain of sore nipples. Snip some leaves for your nipples, and snack on some coleslaw with the leftovers! Another thing breastfeeding moms love: Booby Tubes® - used warm or cool, depending on what feels best.
9. LEARN THE LATCH
The proper latch will help sore nipples and make breastfeeding a whole lot easier. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but if it’s your first time, you, your newborn, and your nipples need a little support to get the hang of it. There are experts who are ready, willing and able to help, so find a trusted resource. It could be a nurse, lactation consultant, your mom, or your best friend — just reach out and get yourself some support.
10. BABY BACKWASH IS GOOD FOR YOU
When a baby is nursing, there’s a whole lotta slurping going on. And with slurping, especially from someone who’s just learning how to slurp, there will be backwash. Yep, your baby’s breast milk backwash goes back through your nipples and back into your system — and according to this article, that backwash triggers infection-fighting leukocytes that your breast milk naturally produces, and attunes it to your baby’s needs.
Need more breastfeeding support? Try Earth Mama’s products formulated specifically for nursing mamas.