Breastfeeding Your Baby
To keep your breasts healthy:
- Wash your hands before handling your breasts.
- Express a bit of milk onto your nipples and allow them to air dry after each feeding.
- If you wear nursing pads, change them as soon as they are wet.
- Be sure your bra fits well.
- If your bra leaves a mark on your breast tissue, it is too tight. A good estimate is to buy a bra two sizes larger than you normally wear.
- If the nipple is too sore to breastfeed, express or pump your milk.
Most mothers have sore nipples in the first week. However, if you nipples are damaged – cracked, bleeding, scabbed, or blistered – talk with your public health nurse, midwife, or lactation consultant about your baby’s latch. It may help to nurse on the least sore side first.
What should I do if I have full, heavy, painful breasts (engorgement?)
Breast engorgement sometimes happens after your milk supply increases between the third and fifth day. It may also happen if you miss a feeding. The nipples are often flattened against a swollen, sore breast.
- Start breastfeeding your baby right after birth and feed often, 8 or more times in 24 hours. Night time feedings are important.
- Before feeding, take a shower or place warm, wet washcloths on your breasts. Massage your breasts as well.
- Position and latch your baby correctly. To help your baby latch, soften the nipple area by hand‑expressing a small amount of milk before feeding.
- Some women find that it is helpful to put washed, dried, and chilled raw cabbage leaves on their breasts or inside their bra.
- Get as much rest as possible and drink water, milk, or 100% juice when you are thirsty.
- Contact your public health nurse if you need more help.