6 Useful Tips to Successful Breastfeeding for Nursing Moms
For mothers, there is nothing more gratifying than experiencing that long-awaited mother-child bonding. But while many enjoy being a nursing mom after spending stressful hours inside the delivery room, some, particularly those dealing with skin sensitivities, might regard breastfeeding as another challenging piece of labor.
In a slew of skin conditions, eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis are just among the many skin irritations that may appear in the most awkward parts of your body. Although these tend to come and go, the dry, itchy, and scaly patches that these bring to your skin, including areas in the breast, areola, and even nipples, can make the whole nursing experience with your newborn painful.
Some mothers develop contact dermatitis in their breasts during the early weeks of breastfeeding as their bodies adapt to frequent contact with a baby’s mouth. Oftentimes, women use pumping bras that can be detrimental to their skin without them knowing. But these hardships do not necessarily mean a mother has to stop breastfeeding. Here are 6 useful tips towards successful breastfeeding for nursing moms with skin sensitivities.
- CORRECT A POOR LATCH
Perhaps the most common cause of skin irritation in the breast area starts with an inaccurate breastfeeding latch. In the early weeks of breastfeeding, irritation occurs when the infant milks in a position that puts unnecessary pressure on the nipple.
If you see or feel hints of a poor latch, gently change the baby's position, remove him/her from the breast, and try to latch him/her again on a more appropriate posture.
- DITCH THE TIGHT BRAS
Anything that strains your bosom can make the whole situation worse. Wearing tight-fitting bras or clothing usually put tension on your breast. This irritates your skin in the process, making nurturing an unpleasant experience.
- SOAK UP USING BREAST PADS
If there is moisture trapped in your skin, you might want to use absorbent breast pads to absorb leaks. These pads act as a shield to protect your clothing from milk leakage and preventing wet spots, so make sure you're using pads that are made from natural materials and completely free from plastic linings.
- BE WARY OF MASTITIS
Mastitis is a painful swelling of the breast due to milk build-up, clogged ducts, or other factors that inadvertently slow or prevent the flow of milk. Continue to breastfeed your child to keep your supply of breast milk. If it hurts while breastfeeding from one of your breasts, remain nursing from the other side.
- AVOID USING ELASTIC PUMPING BRA
Pumping bras might add insult to the injury as these breast pumps are sometimes composed of a very high blend of spandex to improve elasticity. Since these pumping bras are made with synthetic materials like polyester, latex, or spandex, they don't breathe as much as natural fibers do. Without a doubt, there is a high probability that you might contract textile dermatitis as these synthetic-made bras trap more sweat and increase moisture.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
If the pain feels too much to handle, immediately seek a doctor or a dermatologist to manage pain, follow treatment instructions, and get relief. Call a knowledgeable doctor or a lactation consultant if you do not begin to see improvement of your condition after applying remedies.
There might be other skin conditions lying beneath the pain such as thrush, breast abscess, mammary duct ectasia, or Paget's disease of the breast which can all be misdiagnosed as eczema or dermatitis.
Truly, itchy nipples and irritated breasts can interfere with breastfeeding. However, with proper treatment and care, women won't have to suffer just to breastfeed their babies. Although these skin conditions can trigger at any point, nurturing a child should not be that unbearable. In the meantime, give hypoallergenic bras a try to prevent the very onset of contact dermatitis.
Cottonique's pick: Try using our latex-free, spandex-free, and 100% organic bras. These hypoallergenic bras provide all-day breathable support for those who need an extra soft touch of comfort.
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- Nathan Mariano