Breastfeeding Hygiene Tips No One Ever Taught You

Breastfeeding is a huge part of becoming a new mom. It’s beautiful, bonding and allows you to deliver key nutrients to your growing baby. Since breastfeeding is the epitome of skin-to-skin contact, it’s crucial that you take proper hygienic care of your breasts to ensure the health of your baby.

Never, ever breastfeed with a dirty breast!

Dirty breasts are feeding grounds for germs and bacteria and when you don’t practice good hygiene you will expose your baby to various different diseases and infections.

Luckily, it’s easier than you think to follow excellent breastfeeding hygiene. If you need a little help, or want to make sure that you’re on the right track, this article is for you. Check out our top 8 breastfeeding hygiene tips that no one ever taught you!

1. Avoid Scented Products

The joys of breastfeeding are unsurpassable, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t come with some uncomfortable side effects. Every new mom understands the struggle of sore and sensitive nipples, it’s hard to ignore. That’s why most moms try and find something that alleviates the discomfort.

That solution often comes from nipple creams or lotions.

There are tons of products on the market that advertise immediate relief or prolonged moisture. Whatever you do make sure you avoid any scented products. Talk to your doctor for their recommendations and check out this article for a more detailed explanation of all things nipple cream.

In addition to avoiding scented creams and lotions, do not use any scented soaps or anything with alcohol on your nipples when washing. These products actually increase dryness, cause damage to your skin and are harmful to your baby.

2. Keep Your Nipples Clean

While you don’t need to thoroughly clean your nipples after each and every feeding, it’s a good idea to at least give them a rinse a few times throughout the day. This helps to remove any traces of saliva and gives you a chance to add some unscented, baby-approved moisturizer.

Our recommendation? Use warm water to rinse followed by patting dry with a clean towel after every three feeds throughout the day.

In addition to rinsing after feedings, wash your breasts during your daily shower. Again, don’t forget to avoid scented products and instead opt for natural, gentle soaps that are baby-approved.

3. Wear the Right Clothing

After pregnancy, your breasts will change each and every day. Some days you’ll feel sore and have engulfed ducts and others you’ll feel drained. With these changes, it’s important to make sure that you’re wearing the right clothing.

In order to increase airflow and allow your mammary glands to breathe, stick to wearing loose bras. When you wear tight, restrictive clothing you’re trapping airflow, which can cause a breeding ground for bacteria.

Loose bras and shirts will help you breathe and make you more comfortable all around.

While you want your bra to be loose, you still want it to be the right size. Try heading to your favorite department or maternity store and get sized for your post-pregnancy breasts.

Properly fitting bras offer much more comfort than ones that are too small or too big.

Finally, stick to cotton bras that don’t have any underwire. Cotton aids in airflow and allows your skin to breathe through the material. Synthetic bras tend to suffocate your breasts and increase sweating and bacterial growth.

Nursing bras are a great investment for new moms since they open in the front and allow easy accessibility for feedings.

4. Frequently Change Nursing Pads

Nursing pads are great accessories for new mothers, especially if you’re always out and about. Think of them like a super absorbent shield between your breast and the outer layer of your clothes. They’re great for letdowns and avoiding any leaking accidents in publics

If you decide to use nursing pads, which we definitely recommend, make sure that you’re frequently changing them out. Once they do their job of absorbing excess milk, the warm, wet and sugar-filled environment turns into a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.

Put a clean nursing pad into your bra every time that you feel that they’re soiled. Doing this not only helps keep you hygienic, but it also helps reduce the chances of irritation and infection.

5. Wear a Different Nursing Bra Daily

In addition to changing your nursing pads frequently, make sure that you’re wearing a different nursing bra daily. Nursing bras tend to get dirty faster than regular bras and since you’re breastfeeding, you don’t want to take any risks.

While you should make sure and follow the directions on how to wash your nursing bras, they usually don’t need an extremely vigorously cleaning.

If you notice that you’ve leaked through your nursing pads and onto your bra, simply change your bra in addition to your nursing pads.

Again, avoid wearing anything that will fester bacterial growth. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

One thing to note is that you need to let your breasts breathe every now and again. When you go to sleep, take off your bra to let your ladies air out! Not only is it more comfortable, but there are a few health benefits as well.

6. Keep Boob Sweat at Bay

As tired as you may be, exercising should be a regular part of all new mother’s routines. It provides tons of health benefits and helps you feel more energetic, happier and ready to tackle the day.

With that being said, exercising means that you’re going to sweat… a lot.

In order to make sure that your breast is clean, and that your baby will want to latch, hop in the shower post-exercise. If you’re too busy and can’t commit to a full shower, at least rinse your breasts with water prior to breastfeeding.

Your baby will thank you!

7. Maintain Your Hygiene

In addition to washing your breasts properly, make sure that you practice good hygiene in general. This means washing your hands and forearms frequently, especially before a feeding.

When your hands are dirty, you easily pass bacteria to your breasts and nipple3. This will then pass on to your baby and cause problems since his or her immune system is still developing.

Always wash your hands and keep sanitizer handy. Taking these precautions is essential in keeping your baby happy and healthy.

8. Keep Your Breast Pump Clean

One thing that comes hand-in-hand with breastfeeding is breast pumping. Breast pumping allows you to pass the duties of feeding on to your spouse, nanny or caregiver when you need a break or return to work. It’s a great way to ensure your baby still gets the nutrients from your milk while you’re away.

In order to maintain a clean feeding environment, you need to clean your breast pump in addition to your breasts.

Every breast pump is different so read your manufacturer’s user guide to make sure you’re doing things the right way.

One thing that never changes when cleaning breast pumps is avoiding cross-contamination. Never use the sponges you use to wash dishes to wash your pump. Keep separate cleaning equipment available and clearly marked. In fact, it’s a great idea to dedicate an entire wash bin for all of your breast pump parts to avoid any kitchen sink germs.

Conclusion

Throughout your journey as a new mom, one of the most memorable times is during breastfeeding. It’s a chance for you to form a strong bond with your newborn and spend quality time with them. You will be breastfeeding a lot and to keep you and your baby healthy, you need to practice good hygiene. We hope that you’ve learned a few tips from this article and if you have any specific or personalized questions make sure you talk to your primary care doctor. To help you along the breastfeeding process, don’t forget that the Affordable Care Act makes expectant mothers eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider! Visit Byram Healthcare today and browse our large selection of pumps.

If you have any breastfeeding hygiene tips that you think other new moms will benefit from, drop by our Facebook page and leave a comment today!

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