Experts disagree about the need to condition your nipples for breastfeeding, and most women do just fine without any preparation, but if you decide to try it - here are some suggestions.
Rub your nipples with a clean, dry washcloth from time to time during pregnancy to toughen them.
Gently pinch your nipples and extend them out.
Use a breast massage oi, like the one found below, that can soothe your changing breasts and soften your nipples if you feel they are getting sore.
Breast Massage Oil
2 teaspoons sweet almond or grapeseed oil
1 drop rose essential oil
Mix together and apply gently to nipples. Massage oil into breasts.
For Nipples After Birth
Some soreness in the nipples at the beginning of breastfeeding is normal for many new moms – apply a small amount of buttermilk, comfrey, calendula or chickweed ointment, or wheat germ oil to help your nipples. Safe over-the-counter lanolin breast ointments are also available and work well.
Excessive or continued pain after the baby has latched on can mean other issues. If you experience extreme pain while nursing, especially if it continues throughout the whole feeding, you may have a yeast infection on your nipples, or other problems. Check with your midwife, lactation consultant, or doctor for help – with the right assistance you will find that the pain will clear up.
When in doubt, don’t suffer alone. Ask for help.
Find a support group in your area, LLLI.