Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.
How can I treat cracked, sore nipples?
Wash your nipples no more than twice a day, without soap as it could dry and irritate the skin. Use marigold infusion for washing. Sage compresses also have a soothing effect. After each feeding rub a little breast milk on your nipples as it has antibacterial properties. Use nipple conditioning creams (e.g. Bepanthen, Purelan).
Before feeding, apply warm compresses. Use cold compresses only after feeding as they make the milk ducts shrink which hinders milk flow. Start feeding with the less sore breast. It's essential to change the feeding position regularly in order not to irritate the same part of the nipple constantly. If the pain is severe, use silicone nipple shields. When at home, try to vent the nipples by not wearing a bra and using loose, cotton shirts. Apply breast pads only just before going out. If the pain doesn't pass, or is very severe, pause the feeding and gently express the milk with a breast pump. Feed the milk to your baby with a syringe, spoon or cup. If the problem persists, consult your nearest lactation clinic.
How to avoid cracked nipples?
Cracked nipples usually appear when the baby doesn't yet know how to latch on properly and instead only sucks your nipple into his mouth. And the fact that your breasts are hard and tense because of hyperlactation makes the baby's task is even more difficult. Therefore, start with expressing some milk first with the breast pump, until the breast becomes softer. During feeding, your baby should take in not only the nipple, but also a good mouthful of the areola, so that his cheeks are full and his nose touches your breast. If your baby doesn't open his mouth wide enough, you can help him latch on to the breast by holding his chin.
How to deal with inverted nipples?
The best method for drawing out the nipple is to give the breast to your baby as often as possible. The more the baby suckles, the more he the draws the inverted nipple out. You can also massage the nipples: hold the nipple between your thumb and index finger, and massage it for a few minutes to the left and right. You can also express some milk with a breast pump before feeding. It will help the nipple protrude and make it easier for the child to latch on to the nipple. If your nipples are sore or sensitive, set the suction level low.