Sore nipples can be due to several reasons and can come in the way of successful breastfeeding. Here are 15 home remedies for sore nipples in new Moms.
Breastfeeding week just got over in August, and there was a lot of awareness about the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding, for both Mom and baby. While we wholeheartedly agree that breastfeeding is the most natural solution for a baby’s nutrition, it doesn’t happen naturally. Contrary to what many people claim, breastfeeding needs work!
Every Mom realizes this fact and tries to prepare for this beautiful journey by reading up and contacting lactation consultants before delivery. Unfortunately, none of these prepares a Mom for the indescribable pain brought on by sore nipples! Yes, just when you think that that you were done with pain in the labor room, here comes along a new problem.
This can create quite a Catch 22 situation for any mother. On one hand she wants to follow the WHO guidelines of feeding her baby only breast milk for the first six months. On the other hand, it’s just too painful to breastfeed. We completely understand this, and realize how important it is to fix the solution as soon as possible, so that baby continues to get breast milk and the Mom doesn’t lose hope!
There are creams and medications targeted at healing sore nipples, but most of these are laden with chemicals, which most new Moms prefer to stay away from. So here is a list of 100% natural home remedies for sore nipples to help new Moms navigate their way through this difficult time and emerge successful on the other end!
15 Home Remedies for Sore Nipples
1. Correct Latch
An incorrect latch is the most common reason for sore nipples. For comfortable breast feeding, the baby should take the entire nipple deep into her mouth, so that the nipple is positioned towards the back of her mouth where the palate is soft. This can be done if baby latches on with her head tipped back so that her chin is pressed into the mother’s breast and her nose is away from the breast. Make sure your baby is tucked in close, tummy to tummy, and your supporting hand or arm is placed behind her shoulders with the nipple pointed towards her nose. This will ensure the pressure of baby’s sucking is on the areola and relieves.
2. Breast Milk
Freshly expressed breast milk is a medicine in itself, with its antibacterial properties. Nursing mothers can apply a few drops of breast milk to their cracked nipples and allow to air dry. Please avoid this if you have thrush.
3. Warm Compress
A warm, damp compress applied after breast-feeding can help soothe sore and cracked nipples. After the baby has nursed, dip a washcloth in warm water and squeeze out the excess water. Place the washcloth over the nipples for a few minutes and gently pat dry.
4. Salt Water Rinse
A Saline solution helps to clean and hydrate the sore. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 200 ml of warm water till completely dissolved. Dip a cotton ball into this solution and apply on the sore area. Pat to dry.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works as an antibacterial agent which also helps in case of sore nipples. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. After breastfeeding, dip a cotton ball into the mixture and squeeze out the excess liquid. Apply all over the nipple and areola, pat dry. Finally apply raw coconut oil to help in soothing the dry cracks.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and can also reduce inflammation. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with lukewarm water and gently apply the mixture on nipples. Let dry and then rinse with clean water.
7. Ice Cubes
If you’d rather try something colder than the warm compress, ice cubes should help. After all, it’s a universal remedy for soreness! Place some ice cubes in a cotton cloth and gently press it against the nipple at regular intervals till the soreness dies down.
8. Olive Oil
Nearly every home has at least a small bottle of olive oil, so it works as a quick and effective remedy for sore nipples. Mix one drop of tea tree oil and one tablespoon of olive oil in lukewarm water. Apply the mix on nipples using a clean cotton ball. Let it dry, rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.
9. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is known for its cooling and soothing properties and also helps in healing. Cut a healthy aloe vera leaf and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so that the toxins ooze out. Then cut it open and scoop out the gel inside. Apply to your nipples and let dry.
10. Tea Bags
Used tea bags are often used to heal canker sores or sun burn, but they can also come in handy for sore nipples. Soak chamomile tea bags in hot water for a few minutes. Take them out and allow to cool. Squeeze out the excess water gently and place them on nipples for as long as you need.
11. Basil Leaves
Basil leaves are known for its soothing effects on skin infections, and this can also heal cracked and bleeding nipples faster. Wash a cup of basil leaves and grind to a paste. Apply this paste to your nipples and leave for 30 minutes. Repeat till the nipples are completely healed.
12. Vitamin C
Vitamin C has several health benefits, including increasing immunity and speeding up the healing process. So in addition to all the external home remedies for sore nipples, build up your immunity on the inside by increasing your vitamin C intake. Eat more green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, broccoli, parsley, bell peppers and fruits such as oranges, papaya, guava, kiwis, melons and so on.
13. Hot Oil Compress
Hot oils are soothing not just for massages, but for sore nipples as well. You can create a compress with almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Soak a soft cloth with oil, wrap it with another soft cloth and place on the breast. Place a hot water bottle on top of this. You may have to re-heat the pad.
14. Fresh Nursing Pads
Wet nursing pads become a hub for fungal infections and the prolonged wetness can also increase soreness. If your nursing pads have become worn out, replace them, and remember to change nursing pads frequently, before they get soaked.
15. Nipple shields
Nipple shields have been a little controversial. On one hand it’s helped many Moms breastfeed even with sore nipples. On the other hand, some Moms find that babies have trouble latching on with a shield, which can worsen soreness. It all boils down to how it works for you and your baby, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re having extreme pain and can’t manage to feed.
Along with these home remedies for sore nipples, remember to follow basic hygiene and to wash treated nipples before feeding baby. Feed frequently, on demand, so that breasts don’t get engorged and cause further pain. If the soreness gets worse, there is profuse bleeding, white blisters or if the nipple turns white after a feeding, seek medical help immediately. And any pain accompanied by a fever also requires a doctor’s attention. With enough care from the start, you can overcome these niggles and have a successful breastfeeding journey with your baby.