Breastfeeding can sometimes be difficult. Most of the challenges can be overcome, however.
Sore nipples – how can I get them to heal?
The best way of getting sore nipples to heal is to ensure that your baby gets a good latch. If you are struggling to get baby to latch on properly, ask your child health clinic for help. Cleanse any sores on your nipples daily using clean water, with no soap. Make sure your hands are clean and avoid touching your nipples directly. Good hygiene is important in preventing breast infection and inflammation (mastitis). There is no evidence that balms or salves aid healing, but a rich, thick-textured cream or ointment (intended for nursing mothers) around the sore can help relieve pain. A foam bandage can help the sore to heal and relieve pain. Alternatively, you can relieve sore nipples by manually expressing or pumping your milk.
Sores on my nipples – what should I do if they do not heal?
Sometimes, sores on nipples are slow to heal. You should ask your child health clinic to check how well your baby is latching on. If baby is getting a good latch, but your sores are still not healing, they may be infected with bacteria and need treatment. To find out, you’ll need to have your nipple swabbed for bacteria. Ask your child health clinic or GP for help taking a bacterial sample. Sores should be cleansed daily using clean water, with no soap. Possible treatments include antiseptic cream or antibacterial ointment. Advice on treating sores (for healthcare professionals) is available from the website of the Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Breastfeeding (ammesenteret.no).
Large breasts – how can my baby get a good latch?
If you have large, heavy breasts, it can be difficult for your baby to latch correctly. A heavy breast can easily slip out of baby's mouth. If you have large breasts, it may be helpful to support your breast during feeds. Use a hand, or a towel rolled up and placed under your breast. As soon as baby opens wide over your breast, you can help by moulding your breast so she gets as much breast tissue as possible in her mouth. To do this, squeeze your breast gently so as to make it easier for baby to get plenty of breast in her mouth. You can continue to support your breast while breastfeeding.
Learn how you can help your baby latch on well
Illustration: Ole Walter Jacobsen - Helsedirektoratet