In the end, I made it through and ended up nursing for two years and four months. I came to love and cherish breastfeeding, but I almost didn't make it past the first month because of an issue with size. During pregnancy, my former A-cups jumped up a size, but when my milk came in, I started into the hospital mirror wondering if those could be D's. I actually grabbed a tape measure . . . they were double-D's.
My newly born baby, on the other hand, weighed less than six pounds. My boobs were actually too big for her tiny mouth to latch onto properly. A poor latch results in less milk for the baby and a very painful experience for the mother.
My itsy-bitsy, inefficient nurser needed to feed frequently to take in enough milk. Nursing hurt, and I found that my tender, cracked nipples never had a chance to recover between her frequent feedings. I vividly remember tears welling up in my eyes each time she latched on.
Making it through the initial pain and stress of nursing was not easy. I was very insecure about everything surrounding breastfeeding, from being topless in front of strangers to not being able to get my very first task as a mother right. Although I got there eventually, it took time, and all the while I was dealing with tender and cracked nipples that never healed. I needed a good product to soothe my nipples and help them to recover quicker.
The lanolin cream that the hospital provided didn't quite do the trick for me, and I wanted to try something all-natural since my baby might ingest some while breastfeeding. I tried a few different nipple creams made from plant-based alternatives, but the one that worked the best for me was Motherlove Nipple Cream ($11).
Image Source: Motherlove.com
The first time I applied the sweet-smelling balm, I felt cool, soothing relief. It wasn't too thick or sticky like other creams I had tried, and my cracked skin soaked it in. I really felt like it helped my skin repair between frequent nursings — finally.
You can apply the cream at any time to help with sore nipples, or you can use it preventatively following each nursing session. According to Motherlove's site, there is no need to wipe or clean the cream off before feeding your baby.
Motherlove Nipple Cream is plant-based and all organic. The listed ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. Because I knew that my baby was not ingesting anything harmful, I felt comfortable applying as much as I needed to ease my discomfort and promote healing.
Finding the best nipple cream made such a difference in the early days of breastfeeding. I knew I'd sacrifice some of my comfort for my newborn, but everyone has their limits. Being able to apply something that soothed and healed me played a big role in my successful breastfeeding, even after a very uncertain start.