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How to keep your nipples happy when pumping

How to keep your nipples happy when pumping

You know what they say – happy nipples, happy mom. Ok, maybe they don’t actually say that, but they should! Because healthy nipples will definitely help keep moms smiling. 

Breastfeeding and pumping can take a toll on our breasts and nipples (ahem understatement alert), which is why it’s so important that you give yourself as much attention as you give your little one. Because they actually do say happy mom, happy baby. 

While time for yourself (even if that’s just a solo pee at least once a day) and meeting friends are important for your mental health, it’s also important to look after your nipple health. Welcome to a whole new world of self-care.  

Let’s talk about breasts, baby 

First things first, let’s talk about basic hygiene and skincare for your boobs. It might sound obvious – like, duh, I do know how to wash – but when you have a little one to look after, our own self-care can fall by the wayside. Here are a few things you can do that will help keep your skin clean and healthy. 

  • Wash your hands before touching your breasts. Or use sanitizer. And thanks to 2020, we always have a bottle of that lying around. 

  • Keep your breasts and nipples clean by washing them with warm water when you’re in the shower or bath.

  • Try and avoid using soap on your nipples which can remove the natural oils that keep them clean and moisturized. Yes, your nipples produce natural oils. And without those oils, the skin can become dry, irritated, or cracked.

  • If you notice any changes to your skin dryness, irritation, or cracking, make a note of it and monitor it as it might need further attention. 

Pump, p-p pump pump it up

Yes, we did reference that random song from the early noughties. Because talking about motherhood doesn’t always need to be serious. But you know what does need to be taken seriously? Your health. So here are a couple of extra things to keep track of while you’re pumping to care for your breasts and nipples.

  • Flange sizes – a breast pump flange, also known as a breast shield, is the plastic piece that fits directly over your nipple to form a seal around the areola – and you need to make sure that you find the right fit. If you’re using a flange that’s too big or too small, you will reduce the effectiveness of pumping and potentially end up hurting your breast.

  • Hygiene doesn’t just apply to yourself and your breasts, but to your pump, too. It needs to be clean and sanitized because you could end up risking infection if it's not.

And what about when you’re not pumping?

While you’re not pumping, there are some other ways that you can take care of your breasts and nipples. 

  • Wear a support bra or nursing bra to allow your skin to breathe and prevent any irritation. 

  • If you’re using breast pads to soak up any leaking milk, make sure to change these regularly to prevent irritation and bacteria from growing. Alternatively, use a collection cup-like Elvie Catch that’s designed for the natural shape of a woman’s breast and can be worn comfortably for up to three hours. The uniquely shaped silicone skirts can be rotated to find your best fit while staying soft on even the most delicate breast skin. 

Your nipples will thank you for it

Taking care of your breasts while pumping is pretty simple and not too time-consuming, but it can really make the difference and make sure you and your breasts are as happy as your baby is. So keep things clean, keep an eye on how your skin looks, and you’ll be in for a smooth ride (well, as smooth as motherhood can ever be).