Breast Care Tips For the Breastfeeding Mom
1. Latch correction practice.A correct latch is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to ensure maximal milk getting to Baby and reducing nipple damage for you. A proper latch should involve the baby's entire mouth and a good portion of your areola. Baby's tongue should be supporting the suction and performing most of the work. If Baby only has your nipple between their lips, they are working hard at giving you a hickey that won't yield much milk for them and will leave bruises behind on you. If this happens, wedge your pinky in the corner of their mouth to break the suction and try latching again. For a newborn, you may have to do it for them the first few times, hand expressing a few drops helps.
2. Perform breast care and maintenance.We encourage all moms to not simply feed and then put their breast back in a supportive bra, but take the time to perform some simple breast care. Wash milk off of your nipples with warm soap and water. Apply lanolin or another moisturizing salve. Allow breasts to breathe. For sore or tender breasts, perform a breast massage to break up milk clots and apply heat or ice as comfortable.
3. Find the Right Flange Fit.If you use a breast pump to express milk, make sure the flanges are the correct size. If the flange is too small, you will create painful hickeys on your nipples, and if they are too large, you can do damage to the surrounding breast tissue. Flanges should allow for your nipple and part of your areola to enter the flange chamber when suction is on. If there is no areola or there is breast tissue entering the flange chamber, try adjusting to a different size.
4. Take a Break.
You are not a machine and you are blessed with two breasts. Yes, alternating is the best standard operating procedure and ensures maximal milk output. However, sometimes your breasts need a break too! If you are experiencing a clogged duct, mastitis, or just sore, cracked nipples, give that side a break. You can still hand express to relieve pressure and can pump if that doesn’t bother you as much as baby-to-breast. It is okay to skip a feeding and use your frozen supply to satiate your LO. Taking a break shouldn’t set you back, and in fact, a healthy, comfortable breast can improve latch and make more milk flow.
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