Breastfeeding Pain… Sometimes, Breastfeeding Hurts!
Even though one or two people warned me that breastfeeding can be painful, I was woefully unprepared for how painful it was to breastfeed my son for the first few months of his life! It is not typical to experience breastfeeding pain for as long as I did (read about my breastfeeding challenges here). Along the way, I tried everything to soothe my aching breasts and nipples.
This post shares my favorite natural remedies for breastfeeding pain and nipple pain. I would take the occasional painkiller, but I focused on natural ways to reduce the pain since that seemed to be the best for me and my son. Just one thing I would like to say before we dive into the natural remedies – it is important to identify the source of the breastfeeding pain so you can correct the issue and breastfeed comfortably. The products here will help relieve pain, but it is best to correct the source of the discomfort!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. These are all products I personally paid for myself and use (this is not sponsored content) and all opinions are 100% my own.
Natural Remedies for Nipple Pain
Silverette Silver Nipple Cups
These are by far my favorite product to ease breastfeeding pain! It is a bit more expensive than other remedies, but I think they are 100% worth it. They never wear out so you can use them for years. Silver has natural healing properties so wearing these over your nipples between nursing sessions will minimize pain and speed healing.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
This is a natural, organic, and vegan nipple butter. I use this as well as lanolin (see below) to avoid nipple pain from breastfeeding, or to heal my nipples if they become chapped or cracked. It is a blend of cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter and calendula, so it really promotes healing if you have nipple damage.
Lanolin is a must-have for me! Lanolin cream helps to avoid cracked, chafed or sore nipples. If you have nipple damage, lanolin will also promote healing. Note, lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, so the Earth Mama Angel Baby product above is a good plant-based alternative if you want to avoid animal byproducts. Lansinoh makes my favorite lanolin – I have also used Medela but Lansinoh’s is easier to dispense from the tube.
Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads
Hydrogel pads give cooling moisture relief with the natural ingredient glycerol. They are an amazing product for breastfeeding pain. The gel pads promote healing if nipples are chafed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, and they are also soothing through the cool moisture. It is safe to wear them between feeding sessions – your baby can nurse directly immediately after you remove the hydrogel pad.
Medela SoftShells for Sore Nipples
Medela SoftShells are designed to protect your nipples while wearing a bra (similar to Silverettes). You can wear them between breastfeeding or pumping sessions to prevent chafing and allow air to circulate around your nipples. SoftShells help your nipples heal faster if they are cracked or chafed. The shells are best for daytime use because they also collect any milk from leaking breasts – be sure to point the air holes upward so the milk doesn’t leak out!
Saline Solution – Salt Water Rinse
Rinsing your nipples after feeding with a warm saline solution can promote healing and reduce pain. Mix approximately 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Soak each nipple in the water for approximately 1 minute, and pat dry very gently. I usually use a small drinking glass or bowl, but any container will do!
Natural Remedies for Breast Pain or Engorgement
Bamboobies Boob-Ease Breast Pillows
Boob-Ease Breast Pillows are made in the USA and they provide all natural breastfeeding pain relief. They are made of bamboo and cotton and are stuffed with natural flaxseeds. You can heat them or cool them to soothe pain from breastfeeding or pumping. I found them very soothing for engorgement and also to help ease pain from vasospasm.
Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot-Cool Breast Pads
These breast therapy pads can be chilled in the freezer or heated in the microwave. If you have pain from vasospasm, clogged ducts, or mastitis, these will provide wonderful heat therapy. Freezing them for cold therapy is great to ease pain from engorgement or to soothe tender nipples. Aside from soothing breastfeeding pain, the pads can also be used when pumping – warming them and placing them around your pump flanges helps stimulate letdown and milk-flow.
Yes, this sounds odd at first. However, cabbage has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. If you are feeling pain due to engorgement, placing cabbage leaves over your breasts will relieve the engorgement. Some women use cabbage during the weaning process if they find themselves uncomfortably engorged. Do be careful if you are not trying to wean – using the cabbage leaves often can reduce your milk supply.
I hope you find these remedies helpful. Let me know what worked (and didn’t!) for you in the comments below.
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