THE BREAST TREATMENT
G] [BREASTFEEDIN Take special care to avoid breastfeeding problems
The best care you can give your breasts while breastfeeding is to ensure you get the right latch and a good holding position. Get this right from the first feed and you’re highly unlikely to suffer from cracked nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis or many of the other common breastfeeding problems.
The only other essential breast care you need to practise is wearing a good maternity bra – preferably cotton – in the right size, and avoiding tops and blouses that are too tight.
Other than this, no special care is really necessary, not even lotions or potions for your nipples. “Your nipples are already producing what they need for their protection,” explains Esme Nel Hough, spokesperson for La Leche League South Africa, a non-profit organisation that provides information and support to breastfeeding mothers. Just remember not to use soap on your breasts, as this can dry out the skin. “When you bath or shower, rinsing your breasts with clear water is fine,” says Esme, who adds that there is nothing wrong with using a good lubricant if your nipples do feel a bit dry. What is wrong, though, is that old wives’ tale of needing to toughen up the nipples by rubbing them with a towel. “It has been found that doing so can remove the protective substances produced by the breast,” explains Esme.
COMMON BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS
Despite your best intentions, you may run into a few snags on your breastfeeding journey. Deal with these sooner rather than later. consultant and chair of the Breastfeeding Association. “There are rare cases where it’s caused by something like a tongue or lip tie in the baby, but usually the reason is a bad latch and/or improper holding position,” she explains.
THRUSH Thrush is a fungal infection (candida albicans) that can affect your breasts and also your baby’s mouth. “You may be at higher risk for developing thrush if you or your baby has had a recent course of
TREATMENT: This differs depending on the cause, so it’s important to visit your doctor or clinic for treatment.
Louise warns that thrush can easily recur if you don’t stick to whatever treatment is given (usually drops or cream) for the full duration of the course – don’t leave any over.
Esme says there are a few good home remedies that can help treat thrush. “These should be used in addition to the prescribed medication, not instead of it,” she stresses. She recommends washing all bras, bra pads and any other clothing that comes in contact with your nipples with bleach in boiling hot water and drying at high heat in a dryer or in the sun. “Rinsing your nipples with a vinegar and water solution of one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup water after every feeding is helpful,” she says. “Some women find that reducing yeast, sugar and dairy products in their diet also helps.” YB