nips

Should you rub your nipples with sandpaper?

There’s a whole world of crazy stuff that pregnant women are told to do, and rubbing their nipples with sandpaper is high on that list.

The idea behind doing this is to toughen up your nipples for breastfeeding.

I get it.

The minds of the (I’m assuming) men that decided this was a necessary thing do to while pregnant probably had good intentions. I mean, realistically your tender nipples that were once tenderly caressed during passionate lovemaking (yeah, remember pre-kid sex??) will be continually suckled on by a ravenous baby.

Your breasts won’t have any idea what’s coming to them, but guess what? They’ll learn.

There are many things that pregnant women are told to do to prepare for baby. Is rubbing your nipples with sandpaper one of the things you should be doing?

The human body is pretty fascinating. There’s this whole blog post that I wrote about nipples, but I did forget to mention in there that they will toughen as your breastfeeding journey continues on. There will be some initial discomfort as your body adjusts, but it should be minor. If your nipples are super sore it’s not because they’re weak, it’s because you probably need to get some help with your latch. Contact your Midwife, OBGYN, or pop down to your local Health Unit to see a Lactation Consultant. Breastfeeding isn’t always super enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be painful- at least not until your kiddo has those front four dagger-like teeth that chomp down on your nipple when you’re least expecting it and you say words that you didn’t even say during childbirth.

(*I haven’t breastfed for years, but even thinking about this occurrence makes me shiver.*)

So, how do you get tough titties for breastfeeding? You don’t.

What you do is enjoy them while they’re yours and not attached to a small child. If enjoying them to you means rubbing them with sandpaper (you kinky vixen, you) then, by all means, do that, but don’t do it because Great-Aunt Mildred did it back in her day (you know, before women’s rights and extensive medical research).

mastitis tips

The truth about breastfeeding: Mastitis

Mastitis.

Yep, it is as nasty as it sounds. Alongside things like blocked ducts, cracks, and blisters, Mastitis is a potential medical condition that can occur while breastfeeding.

Mastitis is inflammation in the breast tissue or milk ducts, in all or a portion of the breast. It can be caused by a variety of things, one of the most common being reducing the amount you’re breastfeeding. Yep-you can thank your baby and the massive growth spurt they just came down from (just kidding, you can’t blame your baby, obviously. Blame your partner. )

If you’re reading this you probably have symptoms of mastitis (flu-like symptoms, hard breast, redness in breast tissue, swollen breast) or have been diagnosed with mastitis and are waiting for me to get to the part on how the heck to deal with it. Okay, here goes:

How to deal with Mastitis

If you're experiencing symptoms of Mastitis you can find some relief with these tips, but always be sure to consult with your doctor!

(First thing first, my friend: I’m not a doctor. However, I’m a Mama who’s breastfed 4 babies and has had mastitis. I’m also a Postpartum Doula and have helped other Mamas with mastitis.

The information that I’m about to share with you is based on my personal experience of what’s worked, which is information based on research that I’ve done from reputable sources.)

Get rest

Your body is fighting an infection. You’re going to be run down. You’re going to be sore.

Give yourself some time to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and be kind to your body. Bring your baby into bed and grab a good book! Find someone to take care of any other children you have-right now you need to take care of you!

Feed that baby

You are going to want to continually drain the breast that has been affected by Mastitis. Put baby on that breast as often as possible-start with this breast every time you feed. Try different positions to see which one encourages baby to take the most milk. If your baby isn’t super into feeding as much as you need try some gentle hand expression or a pump.

Heat, heat, heat

Use a hot compress or warmed washcloth and apply it to the affected breast. The best tip, though? Get in the shower (lock the door to the bathroom, eh?), let the warm water do it’s magic, and very gently massage your breast to relieve some of the swelling. (This is a double positive- you get some relief and some time to yourself.

Do one or the other before every feeding to encourage milk flow. Make sure you don’t make your heat source excessively hot, however. You could cause damage to the skin.

See your doctor

Don’t hesitate to see your doctor right away if you have symptoms of Mastitis. Mastitis can get worse quickly and can build into even nastier things, like an abscess.

If you notice that you’re not getting relief within a few hours of the onset of symptoms be sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary to get rid of the infection.

There is a whole lot to know about nipples! Here are 9 fascinating facts that you should know before you start breastfeeding!

9 surprising facts about nipples

Most people have at least one or two nipples.

There’s a natural progression in the fascination with nipples as we grow:

Childhood: I’m going to play with these things on my chest and repeatedly say the word nipple.

Pre-Adolescence: Everyone gets a Purple Nurple!

Early Adolescence: Nipples rising!!

Late Adolescence: I’m going to let other people play with these things on my chest.

Adulthood: WTF is coming out of there?

Nipples are fascinating. They’re a lot more than a little (or big) protrusion on your chest/breast. There are a few things you’ll learn for yourself along the way (like the many, many sensory receptors in the nipple) but there are a few things you may not know yet.

Here are some fascinating facts about nipples (you need to know before breastfeeding)

  1. Nipples are erogenous zones for a lot of folks. This means that nipple stimulation can often trigger a sexual arousal response. In fact, scientists have shown that stimulation of the nipples transmits to the brain the same way as from stimulation from the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. Just be careful…a little nipple play can get you into more trouble than you can imagine.
  2. Your nipples can change colour and shape in pregnancy. As your breasts grow and change your nipples do, as well.
  3. Your areola (the area surrounding your nipple) will likely get larger and darker throughout your pregnancy. This is so, and get ready for this, your baby can find your nipple easier!!! How amazing is that!
  4. Remember that first fun fact? Nipple stimulation to induce labour has been an idea that’s been floating around for quite some time. While some folks swear by it, there are others who say that it’s ineffective or causes labour contractions that are stronger than normal. ALWAYS talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider before doing anything to bring on labour (no matter how desperate you are or how many go-aheads you get in a Facebook group).
  5. There are lots of different types of nipples. They come in different shapes and sizes: flat, inverted, protruding, or unclassified. Some of these characteristics can make breastfeeding a little more challenging, so if you’re having difficulties it may be worthwhile to talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider, or lactation consultant to find out the best way to breastfeed with your nipple type.
  6. Nipple pain is normal…to a point. Breastfeeding shouldn’t cause a whole ton of pain, so again, if you’re experiencing pain that is intolerable you may need to source out some help.
  7. The average height of a nipple is 0.9 cm….unless you’ve breastfed 4 kids. Then, you’re likely carrying around nipples that resemble AA batteries.
  8. Trying to find the perfect lipstick? Your ideal match of lipstick is the colour of your nipple! Now, if only there was a way of figuring that out in the makeup store without being too obvious…
  9. Nipples can leak breastmilk without any extra help. While some folks require hand expression or a breast pump to extract milk, others experience a “free pour”. Using some good quality breast pads can reduce circle stains on the front of your shirt!

Do you have any other fascinating facts about nipples you think should be shared?

Also, if anyone has found their perfect lipstick colour please share how you got it!