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after delivery

Breast-feeding nipple & breast care

Caring for your breasts and nipples while breast-feeding

  • Wash your breasts with water, not soap. This prevents nipples from drying and cracking
  • Allow your nipples to air dry
  • There's no way to "toughen" nipples for breast-feeding
  • If you have cracked or sore nipples:
    • Put ice on your nipples just before baby starts to suck
    • Begin feeding on the breast that is the least sore. Babies tend to suck harder when they first start eating because this is when they are hungriest
    • Feed for only 10 minutes on each breast. Feeding for a shorter time and more often is easier on your nipples
    • Gently detach the baby's mouth by putting your little finger between the baby's lips to release the suction. This helps avoid trauma to the nipple
    • Let nipples air dry after each feeding. Leave them open to the air as much as possible
    • Sore or cracked nipples will heal themselves. Only use a medicine or lotion on them if your doctor has advised you to do so
    • Wear breast-feeding pads. Allow the nipple and areola to air dry thoroughly when changing or replacing pads
    • Change your breast-feeding position. This will allow the baby to pull on the nipple from a different direction and you'll get less sore
    • Begin nursing with the breast you ended with at the last feeding. You can remember which breast by putting a safety pin on that side of your bra
  • If you have any concerns about your nipple or breast health, talk to your doctor or lactation nurse.