When it comes to suggestions like toughening nipples for breastfeeding by rubbing or scrubbing them, you should never listen to such advice. There is no need for you to prepare your nipples in any way. Your body is already doing everything right to prepare for your baby’s arrival and breastfeeding them. Toughening nipples in any form is only going to harm your nipples and areola.
As new moms prepare themselves for their childbirth, one popular question that pops in their minds is, “what else do I need to prepare for?” It is a never-ending list with things you need to prepare for before your little one arrives.
The same is the case with breastfeeding. As a new mom, you must wonder how to make this whole feeding experience more comfortable for the baby and me.
Advice starts pouring in when a woman is expecting. They hear all sorts of advice from their relatives, friends and sometimes even strangers! Yikes!
Although they probably are trying to help you, sometimes the advice is misleading, or they might not work for you. One such thing that people advise is toughening up nipples for easier breastfeeding. But is it really necessary?
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Nipple toughening for breastfeeding
As your body is preparing itself to welcome the child and make sure they can fulfill their requirements, your body is already working on things that need to be prepared before the arrival of your little one.
Your body is changing and making sure things are ready for the newborn, and one such major change occurs with your breastfeeding.
The color around your nipples and their texture might change, which is all part of the process. But do you need to do something to prep yourself? Do your nipples really need the toughening?
The answer is not really. There is absolutely no need to change or do anything by yourself, such as toughening up your nipples. You don’t need to scrub them or harden them up for easier breastfeeding.
Why do people think nipple toughening is needed?
There’s a reason behind why people recommend such a thing as to toughen up your nipples. As a newborn, your baby will have difficulty latching to you first, which should be reasonably understandable. They wouldn’t know how to navigate around and instantly learn how to breastfeed.
What happens is when your baby breastfeeds, the nipple pops out, which is usually in the back of their throat for them to feed properly. Sometimes the nipple doesn’t pop out, but it usually happens when you first start breastfeeding.
For you and your baby, it’s a new experience, and it will take some time for both of you to figure how to breastfeed properly.
Why should you avoid nipple toughening?
1. A myth
You should definitely need to understand that nipple toughening is a complete myth in the sense that you don’t need to do any scrubbing or rubbing to your nipple to breastfeed properly.
2. Harmful to nipples
Rubbing your nipples to toughen up is actually destroying them. Your nipples are extra sensitive when you’re in the breastfeeding phase.
If you do this, you will end up getting cracks on them. It might also remove some protective secretion produced by the small bumps (Montgomery glands) surrounding your nipple on your areola.
3. Inverted nipple
Some women have inverted nipples, and they are especially suggested to toughen up their nipples by rubbing them because why won’t it help? But that is actually not helpful at all.
In fact, the National Health and Medical Research Council also suggests that antenatal treatment of inverted nipples is not recommended and is ineffective as it also leads to the negative impact of breastfeeding.
4. Nipple ointments
Many ointments in the market sell, claiming that using them on your nipples will produce good breastfeeding results. There is no need for any such ointment or cream. Your body prepares itself for whatever needs to be done for breastfeeding.
What do you actually need to do for breastfeeding?
What you actually do really need to do is keep informed and stay healthy. As simple as those sounds, this is the only stuff you need to do.
Your body is a marvel as it already prepares itself for growing your baby in your womb. It knows what it’s doing is preparing for the arrival of the little one.
Apart from being informed, you need a solid support system from your friends and family. You need their emotional support for when the baby arrives, as childbirth is no joke.
Everything after that is so new that support from your family and friends will give you the strength to bring up your child with your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will cracked nipples heal while breastfeeding?
You need to make sure you have a good position when breastfeeding your baby. There needs to be a proper position for ease of feeding for your baby to latch on properly. In addition, this will help in healing cracked nipples.
How long will nipples be sore from breastfeeding?
Initially, you will experience nipple soreness and pain when you first start breastfeeding your baby. However, it is temporary, so you don’t have to worry so much about it as it gradually goes away, and you and your baby get into the rhythm of breastfeeding.
Why does my areola hurt when breastfeeding?
Your areola can get sore and cracked too. All this happens because of improper latching. If your baby just latched on the nipple instead of latching on the areola skin, you can get this damage. If you’re not able to latch your baby on your own, then seek help.
Do nipples go back to normal after breastfeeding?
Yes, after some time, when the baby has stopped breastfeeding, most women’s nipples go back to normal. But not for all women, so it really depends.
Can I use Vaseline on my nipples while breastfeeding?
Vaseline might help in soothing cracked or chapped nipples, but there is no guarantee.
You should take care of patting dry your nipples after a shower and make sure you dry them after each feed. Avoid using soap when showering, as it might make your nipples dry.
There will be plenty of people with the advice of toughening up your nipple to prep yourself for breastfeeding, but you don’t need to do anything of that sort. Gone are the times you’re your grandmother used to follow such advice.
Now there is so much information about what is right and what is not. So you need to stay informed and stay clear of misinformation on a lot of stuff.
Toughening up your nipples in any way will lead to cracked and sore nipples. When your baby starts breastfeeding, your nipples will be ready for them to latch on. It might seem a little tricky at first, but hang on there, and things will soon turn out for the better.