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Breast Preparation

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This is on the Mothering Homepage. Since it says experts disagree about the need to condition your nipples, what do you think about this advice?
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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.

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Also, the picture doesn't look like a great latch. Lips aren't flanged.

http://mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/breast-preparation
post #2 of 14
Moving to Breastfeeding.

post #3 of 14
I sort of think it's silly. Tugging on the nipples isn't going to be pleasent, no matter if you do it or baby does it. I don't think it is something that you will "get used to" just because you did it before baby came. Same thing with the washcloth. I've always found excessive nipple stimulation painful, and it's not like I build up a nipple callous or something. At least with a breastfeeding baby, there is a reason for the unpleasent sensations, and a cute, contented little bundle to take your mind off them too.
post #4 of 14
I'm shocked to see such horrible advice on mothering.com.

Your breast do need to be prepared for breastfeeding-- but your body does that on it's own.
post #5 of 14
I agree with pps. This is outdated advice which has no evidence base whatsoever. No expert I know of advises this.
post #6 of 14
totally agree; no breast prep necessary!

The only thing I did which sort of qualifies is switching to wire-free bras, as I was concerned the underwires, once my milk came in, might cause a blocked duct and I wanted to go ahead and become accustomed to them.

I'm surprised also that they don't suggest using your own colostrum as a nipple ointment. it is naturally soothing and conditioning to the nipple tissue (at least that is what I've read)
post #7 of 14
A big no prep necessary here as well, especially not the washcloth, ouch!!!
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by akind1 View Post
I'm surprised also that they don't suggest using your own colostrum as a nipple ointment. it is naturally soothing and conditioning to the nipple tissue (at least that is what I've read)
+1, colostrum is magic for healing sore nipples!

i did use a bit of lanolin prior to delivery but it was because my breasts/nipples were dry. it was the middle of winter and every bit of my skin was dry.

no prep necessary, imo.
post #9 of 14
That is totally weird, outdated advice.

When we started nursing, if my nipples were store, I'd rub some expressed milk on them and them air-dry. Worked like a charm, and I never had cracked nipples or needed more than that.

I'm kind of appalled, to be honest, that MDC is recommending some of those ointments. Unless you're doing that under the guidance of a REALLY experienced herbalist, I wouldn't put anything like that anywhere the baby could ingest it. Natural doesn't mean harm-free.
post #10 of 14
I'm going to have to disagree with PP's. I'm not sure it's that crazy. I had really small and almost completely flat nipples. I didn't do any conditioning before I started breastfeeding, and boy, was it tough to get a latch until my anatomy changed over time. I wonder if I had tried extending them, if it would have helped...
post #11 of 14
My mom's were inverted until she nursed me and she never prepared them. I never prepped mine by any means. I just don't see what it'd do.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl H View Post
I'm going to have to disagree with PP's. I'm not sure it's that crazy. I had really small and almost completely flat nipples. I didn't do any conditioning before I started breastfeeding, and boy, was it tough to get a latch until my anatomy changed over time. I wonder if I had tried extending them, if it would have helped...
I have one that is flat and no issues, but even so, the article is not talking about flat/inverted nipples.
post #13 of 14
My midwife said trying to toughen up the nipples is a bad idea. You could cause damage to the erectile tissues using rubbing/pulling techniques. You could reduce the sensitivity, which you need for a good let-down. The only prep I'd recommend is to stop soaping/sudsing the breasts when you bathe, so your natural oils can do their thing.
post #14 of 14
My Mom totally was on me to toughen up my nipples by using a towel, and I never did anything. I never had any problems breastfeeding ds...it never hurt at all. I've never heard of any actual studies being done to compare women who had and who hadn't prepped their nipples. I think the sensitivity just depends on each woman, but as one pp here said, it's not like you develop a callous (like the one you get from playing guitar!)...so logically, I can't imagine how it makes sense to do any prepping.
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