No one wants to pump in pain. Just the thought of cracked nipples is cringe inducing. But if this is your reality there aren’t enough google searches in the world to make it stop. Until now that is. In this post we’re breaking down how to pump if you have cracked nipples, what can cause this problem, and what you can do to avoid ending up here.
How to Pump If you Have Cracked Nipples
Troubleshoot Your Pump
First, are you using the right flange size? If you have any kind of nipple trauma like cracks, friction blisters, etc. your tissue might be swollen and need a larger flange size. This can reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing all while you can continue pumping.
Next, is your suction set too high? It’s easy to think more suction equates to shorter pumping sessions but it can be damaging. Stronger suction doesn’t mean a better pumping session either. Try a few different settings to see what works best with your body.
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene
Cracks are sores. You need to treat these like you would any other scrape or cut. Keep them clean, and make sure that your pump parts are also hygienic. Sterilize what you can, and wash what can’t be sterilized in warm water with soap.
Parts like your BeauGen Breast Pump Cushions, membranes and valves, and tubing often cannot be sterilized. Wash these between pumps. When you can’t wash right away, pop them in a sealed container and store them in the refrigerator.
Lastly, replace your cushions, and other parts, according to appropriate time lines. Ripped, torn, or thinning cushions will not work as intended. If you cut or have a tear in your cushions it can create additional edges that may irritate your tender skin.
Heal and Restore
Use what you got! Breast milk is incredibly healing and dabbing a bit of milk on the affected areas will help to promote healing.
Lubrication helps in two different ways. It helps to reduce friction and avoid further damage to your skin. It also helps to promote healing. Using lanolin or coconut oil can go a very long way in helping to heal your cracked nipples. Use it before, during, and after your pumping sessions.
Other Ways to Pump
Many moms love the double electric pumps for their hands free convenience. But when you have cracked nipples, manual pumps and hand expression are great options as well. Manual pumps allow you to easily adjust the level and duration of suction. While hand expression is a lot of work, it can afford you a means of expressing your milk without placing too much pressure on your sore nipples.