While you are breastfeeding, you should get into a routine of taking special care of your breasts, especially the nipples, which will benefit you and your baby. Here are some tips to help you keep your breasts in good health:
• Check both nipples after each feeding — If your nipples are sore or cracking, you should treat them early so that they don’t get worse.
• Air dry nipples 20 to 30 minutes after each feeding — Air helps toughen the nipples.
• Apply lanolin after feedings.— Lansinoh for Breastfeeding Mothers is the purest and safest brand of lanolin. Other creams and ointments may need to be removed before your baby can nurse. If in doubt, check with your doctor.
• Use plain water to wash your breasts — Plain water is the best way to wash your breasts the entire time you are breastfeeding. Soaps, alcohol or any other harsh products can dry the skin, remove the skin’s natural oils, and promote cracking.
• Change nursing pads when they get wet or moist — Moist nipples liners promote growth of bacteria, and skin breaks down. Don’t use nursing pads with plastic liners, which keep your nipples moist when they leak.
• If you must use nipple shields, use them for a very short time — Shields can keep your baby’s mouth from touching your nipple. This contact is needed to keep up your milk production. If you have sore or cracking nipples, check with your doctor about using shields.
More about Breastfeeding for Beginners
• Overview of Breastfeeding
• When to Feed Your Baby
• How to Feed Your Baby
• Breast Care While Breastfeeding
• Breast and Nipple Problems While Breastfeeding
• Expressing and Storing Breast Milk
• Keeping up the Milk Supply
• Nutrition While Breastfeeding
• Breastfeeding in Special Situations
• Returning to Work While Breastfeeding
• Resources for Support While Breastfeeding