When to contact your GPOccasionally, a cracked nipple can lead to blocked ducts or mastitis. With mastitis, the whole breast is very sore, hot, red and swollen. If you think you have this, contact your GP, as you'll probably need antibiotics.
As well as using lanolin-based creams, here are several self-help techniques:
- Cabbage leaves. These really do work! Keep cabbage leaves cool in the fridge and apply when your breasts are sore.
- A damp flannel helps in the same way. Use a warm one before feeding and a cool one after.
What to look for in feeding brasIf you intend to breastfeed your baby, a well-fitting nursing bra is essential. It's designed to support your breasts and make it easy for you to feed your baby. You'll probably need at least two or three bras; you're constantly producing milk, so they'll need to be washed frequently. Things to bear in mind when shopping for feeding bras are:
- Comfort: Your breasts will vary in size, depending on whether you've just fed, or are about to feed your baby. So look for adjustable straps and fastenings and fabric with give. High cotton content is best for comfort.
- Ease of use: A simple clip with a drop-down cup is essential.
- A good fit all-round: An ill-fitting bra will be uncomfortable during breastfeeding, and can also interfere with your milk production by blocking ducts. Night-time nursing bras are lighter to wear, but instead of opening in the usual way for feeding, they tend to have a cross-over front design.
The best time to buy your nursing bra is during the last month of your pregnancy. Make sure you're expertly fitted. John Lewis's Lingerie Fitting Advice Service offers free consultations and is a great way to make sure you're wearing the correct size. For your nearest John Lewis store, call 08456 049049 or visit www.johnlewis.com.