Breastfeeding or nursing is said to be one of the most beautiful and natural things. And it is. I love being able to provide my child with the nourishment that he needs, solely from my body. I know how lucky I am to be able to do this while there are many woman who aren’t that lucky. I definitely treasure the time I have with him when I do breastfeed him. It’s my little bonding time with him.

But Oh My Gosh, does it hurt sometimes!

The night my husband got back from being out of town one weekend, all I wanted to do was relax and be with him. After sitting through one of the most excruciating nursing session that almost had me in tears (which you can’t do while he’s nursing because then he’ll wonder “what the hells wrong mom?” I was ready to sit down for the night and relax with my husband.

But I couldn’t.

I was in SO much pain from what was probably clogged ducts, cracked and bleeding nipples and a rash that turned out to be “contact dermatitis.” Which is just a fancy word for “an allergic reaction to something you came in contact with.” Oh great, let me just change everything!

Then you drive yourself crazy thinking “Was it something new I ate?”, “Something I fed my babe?”, “New soap/detergent?”,  “New diaper rash cream?”, “New pump parts?”, “New lotion?”

When the answer to all those questions is no, what do you do next?

Read on for my top 11 tips to over come the not-so-pretty side of nursing.

  1. See a lactation consultant! The ones at the Womens Pavillion are a life saver. They can help you get fitted with the right shields, observe a pumping/nursing session to make sure your baby has a good latch and that your pump parts are the right size. Note: Over time your body changes and you might even require different pump sizes! News to me.
  2. Consider buying these shields that distributes the pressure to other areas. Pumping consistently with the same shields can cause damage and irritation.
  3. Use LOTS of lanolin BEFORE pumping but NEVER after. If you have any irritation, sore, cracked or bleeding nipples and apply lanolin, the moist environment allows bacteria grow, which can lead to an infection. I have switched to using Vasaline or Aquaphor. Turns out my body didn’t like Lanolin. So consider Vasaline or Aquaphor if you think you may have a sensitivity to lanolin.
  4. Rinse your breasts with warm, salt water after a nursing session. When babies start solids the PH in heir saliva changes which can cause irritation, soreness or cracked nipples if you’re already prone to having sensitive skin. The salt water helps rinse away any leftover saliva from your baby which could cause irritation.
  5. Let your breast air dry after a pump session as much as you can. For all my working mommas who don’t have the time, pat the area dry and allow it to air dry as much as possible. Using one of these Medela quick steam bags? Thats the perfect amount of time!
  6. Stick to one kind of nursing pad! I ran out one day and my husband got me a different kind. I still don’t know if that was the reason, but it was right around the same time my babe also started solids, so I’m still not sure what caused my irritation! But this is something to keep in mind!
  7. Wear cotton/breathable fabrics to allow the skin to breathe at night.
  8. Sanitize your parts every day, if you’re running into irritation. If you’re not at the irritation stage, then it’s safe to sanitize your parts once a week – either in a pot of boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  9. Don’t change detergents or soaps.
  10. Wash your nursing bra as often as your clothes!
  11. Breastmilk does a body good! Before your nursing session, rub your breastmilk over the affected areas – dry friction is the worst! And run breast milk over the affected areas after a pumping or nursing session. It can help speed up the healing process! No one ever said #momlife is easy!Here’s to hoping these tips prevent you from getting to the irritation stage, helps you through that problem stage, or just gives you some tips on what to look for when you get to the point of transitioning your baby to solids and will still continue nursing and/or pumping.

    What tips have helped you in your nursing/pumping journey?