There are some things you can do to ensure that you’re taking good care of your nipples and breasts to ensure a good, consistent breastfeeding experience for both mom and baby!
Welcome back to first breaths to first steps. Today, I am joined by Jodi Heiser, she is a lactation consultant that I’ve worked with for over 12 years. She also has a very strong nursing background in general pediatrics. So her input and advice about nursing moms is the best. So I really appreciate you being here today, Jodi.
Today, Jodi and I are gonna talk about nipple and breast care for nursing moms. There’s a lot of information out there and we just want to make sure that we’re putting out there for moms that are wondering good information about breast care and things to do, and maybe prepare for. So today in our podcast, we’re going to cover what are jodi’s favorite products for nipple care for breastfeeding moms. We’re also going to talk about good practices for healthy breast tissue before and while nursing. And lastly, we’ll kind of sum it up with what Jodi recommends when nipples are cracked and, or bleeding and different things to suggest for that.
So, Jodi let’s start out with, what are your favorite products for nipple care, for breastfeeding moms and maybe go through and tell us what’s usually available what’s out there and why or why you don’t recommend some of those products. Yeah, that would be great Bev. So, you know, I would say first of all, simple is best. One of the best things that you can do is to use, to express a little bit of breast milk and put that on your nipple, just rub it into the nipple itself, the areola, and that’s really it. If there’s no other problems, that’s really a good way to just do some preservation of that nipple. For a little bit extended, you know, some damage to the nipple itself. I actually prefer more natural products. There’s one by a company called mother’s love. It’s called more milk. The reason that I like it is that I am familiar with the company that makes it and what is in that product and it is something that I feel you could have on your breasts. And if the baby got it ingested, it would not give any problems topical product. Yes. Yes, it is topical. Thank you, Bev.
One of the most popular things out there right now, and it has been for forever is lanolin and lanolin is a great healer. It’s probably one of the things that we should use when we really have some severe damage. The only problem with lanolin products, if you really don’t need an intense healing product, , it’s probably best to go with one of the more natural ones or just the breast milk. The reason being lanolin does come from sheep, sheep are out in pastures are often exposed to pesticides. So there is some thought that there’s some level of pesticide in lanolin products. Weighing the cost and benefits. Again, I go kind of simple is best, right? And I’m sure with some of those topical products, although they are. FDA approved. There may not be a way to know, like, is this product produced and has pesticide possible contamination? So I think you’re right. If you can use, like, mother’s love that product, which we know is natural and without pesticide exposure, that that may be the way to go.
And, you know, and another thing just in that same school of thought is there’s a lot of products out there that have multiple ingredients in them. So, and some of those are those things that we think of as calming, such as camomile or lavender and they are. But the problem is that sometimes those types of products, if you think about them, they’re plants, they’re flowers. And a lot of people’s skin will react poorly to that. So that’s why I go back to that simple all is best.
Perfect. So what do you think. Are good practices, good things for healthy breast tissue before and while nursing. Yeah. So, you know, for breast tissue before just kind of being aware of your body. There’s so many changes that are going on and just keeping again simple as best. A lot of moms, if they feel like there’s stretching of that tissue, that breast tissue or the areola where you can use coconut oil, that’s a very natural and calming ingredient. But other than that, there’s not that many things that you need to do before. We’ve talked about, you can do some pressure to the areola, like if you have a flat nipple and that sometimes we’re using that with a coconut oil helps and benefits that. It’s a little bit more of just a wait and see.
After the baby is born, things that I like to say is that having a good latch. That’s one of the most important things we can do to protect your breast tissue. That’s why it’s important to Connect yourself with the lactation consultant to make sure that you do get that appropriate latch. Making sure that the baby is just not sitting on the breast 24 hours a day, that there is some breaks in that. And if there is damage to the nipple that we take the appropriate care so that it doesn’t break down too far. Right. I think you and I have talked before with many other clients that we’ve worked with, that you almost get sick of hearing the word latch.
Like that’s all we talk about, but it is so, so important. And it’s really good to stress to our expecting moms that if latch doesn’t feel right and you continue to have pain, something’s not right. It’s your body’s natural way of alarming you that this may not be the best. You need to break that latch, which we do recommend using your little finger to break that section and not just pulling your newborn off, that will cause more trauma and injury to the nipple. Also being patient and really trying to achieve the best latch
just on that note, could you speak a little bit to, what are the characteristics of a good latch. What are you looking for? And you know, I mentioned pain, obviously. That’s a good indicator that maybe things aren’t right. But what are the things you’re aiming for in a good latch? That is a great question. I would like to kind of throw out there, because I hear a lot of moms say this, they’ll say the pain, when they latch makes my toes curl, it should never do that. You should never have that experience. That’s telling you that the latches wrong. When we say a deep latch and like Bev said, you hear that word over and over again, but thinking about that, if you could visualize it the baby should latch with the lower lip first at the base of the areola and it’s going to be different with every woman because of this areola size. And then the top lip should then after the bottom lip hits, it should curve up and over the top of the nipple. Then we want to make sure that the upper lip and the bottom lip are flanged out. When I say flanging out, what that means is that it almost looks like a fish lip it’s curved up and it’s curved down. Some of the things that I have moms do because sometimes we get them to latch and it’s painful. And after unlatching and latching, right. Sometimes that in itself becomes a little bit burdensome.
What we will do is have the baby latch and then I will pull down actually grabbing the bone of the chin and pulling down on it to open that mouth a little wider. And then using one of your fingers, we demonstrate to the moms how to. Flip that upper lip up so that you can see some of that pink. So when that baby is latched, both of those lips are wide open they’re flanged, and they’re at between like a 90 to 140 degree opening.
Yeah, I think that’s so, so important. And just to know that every mom, baby nursing experience is different, even babies from the same mother, the nursing experience is different. I can remember with my youngest, I had fed two older siblings for up to a year and he was my most difficult to feed. And I’m like, what’s going on? I do this for a living, but I think it really does. You know, stand true that you’ve got to really pay a lot of attention to that latch. I always explain to clients you really want a big, big mouth open for that baby to latch on. You don’t want a tiny mouth where they’re snacking on the end of the nipple. It’s definitely more traumatic. Absolutely.
So finally, and lastly, what do you recommend when niopples are cracked and maybe bleeding and really painful? Are there things that you suggest that can be helpful for those situations? That’s one of those situations that we do see often, especially with new moms who are coming in to the office when their babies are about three days old and they’ve just either been nursing constantly or don’t have an appropriate latch. Depending on the amount of damage. If you think about it, anytime that you have an opening in your skin, you’re more likely to get an infection. So we really want to make sure that healing is the number one priority. With a mom who comes in with crack and bleeding nipples, If the damage is significant, I actually have them stop breastfeeding and pump for about 12 hours. Reassess the damage. If it still is painful, when the baby latches, we have them pump for another 12 hours. What we’re trying to do there is maintain the milk production for the baby, at the same time, allow the mom’s nipples to heal. Now, if the damage isn’t significant enough that I need to have them pump what we do is go into a Constant nipple cream kind of situation finding like we talked about before a nipple cream that works for you. And after every feed we have, you apply that nipple cream. Twice a day, we have you leave your bra open and just have a cotton t-shirt on to let air, get to those areas to avoid any type of staph or strep that could grow in those areas. It really depends on the damage. If there is significant breakdown scabbing, then we definitely need to do something more extensive treatments and sometimes that involves getting your OB GYN involved to get a specific type of cream with different products in it that will help the healing.
Great suggestions. Well, Jodi, I really Appreciate your time today. So in summary, we talked about mother’s love nipple cream. We thought that’s very helpful, a little bit, maybe preferred just because it is natural and it doesn’t have any possible pesticide exposure. We also know that good practices while nursing definitely focus on the proper latch. When nipples are. Cracked and bleeding first and foremost, get some help by a certified lactation consultant like yourself. And also just think about some products that we can do, maybe do that nipple cream again, and also giving the nipple some rest. Getting it to air out, maybe pumping and doing that in some short spurts of time to keep up that milk supply, but yet allow that breast tissue to heal.
Absolutely. Jodi, thanks again. , if you find the information in this podcast, helpful, you can click on the link below in the description and download it. Easy PDF of the notes of what Jody and I talked about as well as if you’re interested in working with me in consulting you and your new family from first breast to first steps, you can also click on that link, reach out to me until next time. Be well.