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Your Pregnancy - - Pregnancy Files - Lisanne du Plessis

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Q: My baby was born a week ago and I’m breast­feed­ing, how­ever, it isn’t go­ing so well. My nip­ples are red, sore and cracked. What can I do?

A: Lisanne du Plessis answers: Sore nip­ples can have many causes but the most com­mon one is when a baby is not po­si­tioned well for a good latch. There are many op­tions for how to hold your baby. It is im­por­tant that you are com­fort­able and then bring the baby to­wards you. Don’t bend down to­wards the baby. This will give you a sore back and also cause baby to hang on the nip­ple and hurt it. In the cra­dle hold you and baby need to be so close to­gether that your tum­mies are touch­ing. In other words, your baby should be on her side, fac­ing your breast. Don’t be in a rush to of­fer the breast. Wait un­til your baby opens her mouth re­ally wide. You can tickle her top lip with your nip­ple to en­cour­age this. As soon as her mouth is open, bring her in to latch. The latch is a good one if her chin and nose are tucked against your breast and her lips are curled out. A large part of the nip­ple and are­ola should be in her mouth. As she suck­les, you will see her tem­ples move. For re­lief of nip­ple pain, you can use pure lano­lin or an oint­ment that is pre­scribed. Don’t use any other body lo­tions or creams. An­other po­ten­tial cause of sore nip­ples is eczema, with or with­out thrush. This can oc­cur in women who have a per­sonal or fam­ily his­tory of eczema, asthma or hay fever. Thrush is a com­mon in­fec­tion of the skin or mu­cous mem­branes. It often oc­curs in con­di­tions where the skin is damp or warm, as it is in places where there are skin folds. The suck­ling of the baby makes the area around the nip­ple warm and damp, mak­ing it a breed­ing ground for the yeast in­fec­tion that causes thrush. If your nip­ple is cracked, the in­fec­tion grows there. Check your baby’s mouth for thrush too. You will see a white layer in the mouth, on the gums and tongue and in the cheeks. If you sus­pect that thrush is the cause, talk to your doc­tor or to your baby’s pae­di­a­tri­cian.

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