L is for Lanolin

Lanolin is a product used in many skin care products to help with dry or cracked skin.  It is also used in several nipple creams that you may consider using during your postpartum period.  When you first discover you are pregnant and begin asking friends and family what important items you need when your baby is born, you may be encouraged to have nipple cream ready as soon as you get home from the hospital.  While it is true those first few days or weeks postpartum can result in painful or cracked nipples, this may not be true for you.  Painful nipples are not inevitable, but a result of a poor latch, and all it takes is one bad latch.  One bad latch in the beginning when you and your baby are both learning how to breastfeed can cause a cracked nipple which is then exasperated every time you nurse due to the moisture and sucking, which causes it to take FOREVER to heal.

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There are several options when considering what nipple cream to buy.  The one typically recommended by hospitals is Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream.  This cream is very effective in helping to moisturize and heal your painful nipples.  However, there is some debate about if lanolin is safe for your baby to ingest due to the risk of pesticides in the lanolin which is made from oils on sheep’s wool.  You can also use basic coconut or olive oil that you have on hand.  Other products that are frequently recommended are Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, Palmers Cocoa Butter Nursing Cream, Motherlove Nipple Cream, Bamboobies Boobease, Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm, My Breast Friend Nipple Cream, Earth Mama Organics Nipple Butter, and many more.  The most important thing to consider when picking a cream to use is to make sure you find one that isn’t required to be wiped off before nursing.  If it has to be wiped off before you nurse this means it isn’t safe for your baby to ingest, do you really want to risk using it if it’s not safe for your baby?

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Another option that can help your nipples heal and is completely free is breastmilk!  After nursing your baby, rinse off the saliva from your nipples so they are clean, allow them to dry, squeeze your breasts/nipples just enough to express some milk or colostrum, then rub on your nipples and allow to air dry before donning a shirt or bra. 

There are many methods to help with nipple discomfort and pain.  Did you use a nipple cream or try the breastmilk route?

Next I will blog on the letter M… M is for Mastitis.