Just over a week into her new gig as mom to newborn daughter Liberty Sage, "The View" panelist Meghan McCain, 35, had a very important question for Twitter.
'can your nipples actually fall off?' new mother meghan mccain shares her breastfeeding struggles in a very candid tweet - one week after giving birth to her daughter liberty sage
It's a fair question. As those of us who have been that newly-minted mom trying to breastfeed know, there's truly nothing that can prepare you for learning how to feed a tiny, irrational human being with a body part that has never been used quite that way before. Those first few weeks can be very painful, and sometimes there might be cracking or, yes, blood involved. And though you might think you will do nothing but whisper sweet nothings into your precious baby's tender ears, you might just find yourself whispering expletives instead.
Ask me how I know.
up here. What McCain is apparently experiencing isn't necessarily inevitable, said lactation consultant Jennifer Day of Detroit, Michigan. She's the owner and founder of community birth and lactation support group Feed the Babes and has been working with families for over 10 years. Day told TODAY Parents that while nipple pain and trauma is "certainly a common fear" for many mothers," it is usually preventable with a little guidance from an expert like a doctor, nurse, midwife, or lactation consultant.
Nipple soreness and pain at the beginning of breastfeeding is normal, said Krystal Duhaneya nurse and lactation consultant in Los Angeles, California. Duhaney recommended cleaning nipples after nursing with a saline wash, then using a moisturizing nipple balm and leaving the breasts exposed to fresh air if possible afterwards. If using breast p, make sure to change them as soon as they grow damp. For moms who do end up with nipple trauma, good news: In most cases, it is still safe for the baby to continue to breastfeed.
However, if there is a chance you might have an infection or a condition that can be transmitted by your blood, you should seek a doctor's help, said Duhaney. Continuing to nurse even while determining and fixing issues is a good way to maintain milk supply, said Duhaney.
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Support is the most important tool a new mom can have when she is trying to make breastfeeding work — even it comes from strangers on Twitter. Especially since, as Bernstein said, many moms don't have family members they can ask for help or may never have seen someone breastfeed before they did it themselves. All three lactation consultants recommended seeking the support of a fellow International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which doesn't even have to require an office visit to help.
If mom is suffering, then something needs to change," said Bernstein. Moms should feel good about what they are doing and how they are doing it.
Bernstein said she would give the same advice to both moms and non-female genders who might be breast or chest-feeding. Sometimes we are much harder on ourselves than we would be on other people.
Allison Slater Tate is a freelance writer and editor in Florida specializing in parenting and college admissions. She mortifies her four children by knowing all the trending songs on TikTok.
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