Hey there! If you have decided to make the choice to breast feed or pump, you will probably deal with sore nipples at some point. Now, not all moms get as sore as others. My mother had such cracked nipples that she would bleed through the feedings. Another mother I spoke to recently only had slightly pink nipples in the first week of breastfeeding. I had raw cracked nipples, but thankfully only bled once due to a poor latch. The solution is COCONUT OIL!!!! It was a while before I found this cure. Use it sooner then I did so you wont have to go through the journey I took to find it. Here’s my story.
Even before I had our little boy I knew I wanted to breastfeed. When I had him, he had to be rushed to the NICU for respiratory problems and later on was treated for an infection. Because he was so sick I could not hold him. This meant I had to pump! The hospital set me up with everything I needed. I dry pumped for 2 days before I had anything to give to him. By day 3 my nipples were very sore. I mean the kind of sore you don’t even want water touching them when you shower sore. I figured it was the pump. So I started to put lanolin on after every pumping session. (Little did I know then this was just the beginning and the pump was really being gentle with my nipples). By day 8 of being in the NICU, our little boy was stable enough that we could hold him. This meant I could finally breastfeed him!!!! :)
The first feeding was very rough. He did not want to latch on. The staff gave me a nipple shield, and after 15 minutes of trying to get him to latch he finally did. The next feedings were just as frustrating, but by day 10 he was a pro with the nipple shield. But boy oh boy did my nipples really turn red. I spoke with the lactation consultant at the hospital twice, she checked his latch and said everything looked great. She also said it is typical for first time moms to be very sore for the first 2 weeks. She said to continue using lanolin.
We got to bring our little guy home on late of day 10. I was still very sore, but kept on using the lanolin. By day 14 I went to see a lactation consultant closer to home. She checked his latch and said that everything still looked good, and that I could start to wean him off of the nipple shield. She said to start the feeding with it, then after a couple minutes take it off and finish the feeding. She also said to soothe my nipples put coconut oil on. I didn’t want to buy any so I kept on using the lanolin.
After a week of weeing him off of the shield I had cracks in my nipples. At one month, I developed a severely plugged duct and shortly after Mastitis. Along with this I got a milk blister on each nipple. I was treated for mastitis and did the usual treatment for a plugged duct, i.e.Warm compress, sleep, lots of fluids. Two weeks later I had a second round of mastitis. This time the lactation consultant told me to start taking a teaspoon of lecithin a day, and vitamin E to help with the pain. I still had red cracked sore nipples. She still recommended the coconut oil. I finally gave in and got some.
Oh boy did that make a difference! Within a week the redness when down, and now they are only slightly pink. The cracks disappeared! I did my homework and realized that coconut oil is naturally antibacterial (which if I used earlier might have prevented mastitis). What I liked most about it, is that it was very easy to put on. It melts at body temperature, so you don’t have to hurt yourself putting it on. The next best thing is that it is natural, so its safe for the baby to eat after you put it on. WARNING: If you are going about the house without a bra, wear a grungy t-shirt. The oil stains clothes.
I hope this prevents another poor soul from going through what I went through. Remember: It is normal to have slightly sore nipples in the first 10-14 days. Using coconut oil will soothe them, believe me!
Disclosure: I am not of a medical profession. This post is only through my own experience. Seek medical attention if you are not comfortable with your situation.