Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All About Nipples

There are so many things that could happen to your nipples as you begin nursing. Most of the problems that occur with nipples, I have not heard about. So we will both learn something new to share with others.

Nipples Blanching-

This is when your nipples turns purple or white and tingles with pain. Sometimes it will contract and react to cold. This could last up to thirty minutes.

Nipple Blanching is also known as Reynauds Syndrome and is fairly common. Sometimes it can happen during or after feedings. Blanching can be caused by nipple trauma such as the baby chomping down to hard because of a overactive letdown, or not latched on correctly. If the trauma to the breast is not from either one above, then treat it with some heat. You can use a rice heating pack or a hot water bottle. But put something in between your breast and the heat so you don't burn your nipple. There are some ointments that will help such as nitroglycerin paste, but ask a lactation consultant to help you use it. Some other moms have used herbal supplements like Flax/borage oil, fish oil. Sometimes moderate exercise will also help. Make sure that it is not thrush that is causing all of your pain. Most problems to the nipples are caused from thrust.

Nipple Blisters-

If you notice a pimple like blister on your nipple, it is called a "Bleb". A white spot that is associated with a plugged duct. Sometimes a bleb is a symptom of thrush. So make sure you treat both you and the baby if you suspect thrush. After you have ruled out thrush, you can treat a bleb like you would a plugged duct. Put some heat on it and have the baby nurse as often as possible. The baby will most likely pop the bleb while nursing but it will not harm the baby. If you can't get the baby to nurse very often then work it out with a pump.

Plugged Ducts-

These appear as a red tender blotch on you breast. This is a sign that the sac that your milk is stored in is plugged. Your baby is not getting the sac emptied at every feeding. If it is untreated it can develop into mastitis.

A plugged duct is caused by:
*Your baby has a poor latch on or a weak suck
*Nursing in the same position every feeding
*Bad fitting nursing bra
*Clothing that is to tight

The best treatment is getting your baby to nurse as often as possible. It will be painful, but the babies suck will be better than a pump or massaging your breasts.

To help deal with the plugged duct, place a hot rice pack on the sore area for a minute or longer. You will need to put something between the hot pack and the breast so you don't get burned.

Here are some tips to help you prevent a plugged duct:
*Try new positions when you nurse
*Make sure that your baby has a proper latch
*Wear a good nursing bra. Don't use underwire bras
*Try to make sure that your breast don't get to full
*Clean your hands before you handle your breasts
*Try to dry your nipples after feedings with air-drying them
* Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water

Nipple Bleeding-

This can be caused by a bad pump, incorrect latch, or a dry nipple. Try to make sure you use a good pump if you want to pump. When you do pump, if there is any blood in the milk, make sure you dispose of that pumped milk. Make sure that your baby is latching on correctly. The bleeding could be a cause of thrush, so treat a.s.a.p, both you and the baby.

If your nipples are getting to dry, put some Vitamin E or some lanolin cream. This should be cleared up within a couple of weeks. It will be hard to nurse, but try to keep going.

Nipple Pain-

This pain is just the basic pain that any mother will have when they begin nursing a new baby. So here are some tips to try to make it through the first couple of week.
*Air-dry your nipples after every feeding
*After nursing squeeze some milk from your breast and rub it into the cracks or blisters or you can use nipple ointment.
*Watch and be aware of warning signs of thrush, blisters, plugged ducts, and pain and burning before and after nursing.
*Make sure that your pump is set at a good suction and is not to strong

I will be back tomorrow to talk about thrush and other problems that occur with the whole breast not just the nipple.

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