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Thread: Air dry vs lanolin

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Default Air dry vs lanolin

    Hi all

    I've been using hydrogel pads to heal my cracked nipples (my DD is 13 do and I think we have her latch issues figured out).

    In reading through all the advice, I've gotten a bit confused. Many suggest both air drying with some expressed BM after a feeding, AND using lanolin. So is the idea to put the BM in, let it all dry, then put lanolin on? Or, should I just skip the lanolin? I'm trying this for the first time tonight. Even after just a few minutes, my nipples have scabbed over. I'm scared to death that nursing with a hard scab is going to hurt more than it already does. Maybe I should put a little lanolin on just before nursing?

    Hopefully this makes sense...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    Great question! I have often wondered this myself. Here is my understanding but I hope others have thoughts -

    I believe that The recommendation to air dry is primarily about avoiding putting a damp pad ( or bra, or shirt) right back on the breast after nursing and consequently creating a "yeasty' environment, OR, to encourage moms to avoid roughly toweling off or washing the breasts after feeding. The latter is a counter-recommendation to the once typical recommendation to wash the breasts with soap and water repeatedly, after or before every nursing session, which led to nipple drying and injury and is no longer suggested EXCEPT as described as CW Genna writes about in the link I posted in your other thread.

    Personally when I used lanolin, I would either air dry or, if in a serious hurry, gently PAT my breast dry with a soft clean cloth and then put it on. Lanolin is a barrier cream, and like any other barrier cream, it is meant to both protect the nipple from outside irritations and to 'hold in' the mothers own natural skin oils, which promotes healing. In other words, it is not meant to hold in the moisture of breastmilk or saliva left on the breast after baby nurses, so it is fine to let that dry (which only takes a couple minutes usually) before applying the lanolin. The reason we use lanolin as opposed to other barrier creams (petroleum jelly, etc) is that is effective but much less likely to irritate mom or cause issues for baby if ingested in tiny amounts.

    Lanolin would (hopefully) soften the hard scab, so yes, fine to put it on just prior to nursing. But to get the full therapeutic effect of lanolin use, I would suggest putting it on after every nursing session or shower/bath. If the cream is thick, (it can get thick and "hard" if it gets cold) soften it by playing with it with your fingers and then put on a very thin layer, that is all that is needed.

    It can be scary to nurse with a hard scab, but the good news is that scabbing is a sign of healing. Some moms use olive oil to soften a scab as well.

    This is info on lanolin from Lansinol: "Lansinoh lanolin works by providing a moist therapeutic environment, allowing the skin to heal by itself gradually by inhibiting moisture evaporation naturally trapped beneath the skin. It is considered occlusive and permits back and forth movement of moisture and air to prevent over-hydration of the skin."
    And here is an article on lanolin that discusses the study I mentioned above. The article title is weird and is misleading, it is not about how lanolin is "bad" for nipples at all! http://www.livestrong.com/article/29...-your-nipples/ As you can see, while that study showed lanolin to be more effective than breastmilk for reducing pain, an earlier study showed breastmilk to be more effective, as long as it was hindmilk!? I had never heard that before. How does one make sure the breastmilk they are putting on their nipples is hindmilk??? It might work for a study, but seem impractical for the nursing mother IMO.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    Meg - thank you for the info! You are a wealth of knowledge

    I'd be interested in other's thoughts as well.

    So (tmi perhaps) I opted to go shirtless/bra less tonight. And I'm so uncomfortable! Between my nipples stinging (air dried, then covered in lanolin) and then general breast tissue soreness, I can't sleep. I've always slept in a nursing bra to hold the girls in place. But since I don't want my nipples to stick to anything, here I am shirtless. I just took some ibuprofen so hopefully it will kick in. But jeez!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    Hmm, I am pretty sure there is no such thing as TMI on this board!

    If you are more comfortable with the bra, can't you use the bra? Is the lanolin not helping to prevent sticking? (or making it worse?) or have you gotten breast shells? Might be uncomfortable for sleeping but?
    I am worried you are still having so much nipple & breast pain! Can you see the IBCLC again?

    Hope you get some sleep, I know it is really hard when breastfeeding hurts!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    I've never experienced the cracking, bleeding or scabbing on my nipples, mostly only raw, inflamed or bruised feeling areola.
    And compressed nipples getting vasospasms.

    I was told to use lanolin but the stuff I got Lansinoh HPA Lanolin, is so thick and sticky that it really didn't help me any, well at least not on my nipples, seems to work well for my dry cracked skin on my fingers.

    I used some of the lansinoh gel pads (chilled) for a while and that helped me some. Other times I used something else cool (I once even resorted to thick cucumber slices with a nipple hole spooned out of them or chilled tea bags.)

    So depending on what exactly seems to be your problem, your most effective solution will vary.

    Good luck getting past the scab stage, I expect that pre softening the scabs with oil before feeding is a good idea and then using lanolin after drying a few minutes after feeding.

    If you can't stand the bra pressing on your nipples to sleep/ well have you cut holes in a bra to use for pumping? You could then wear that for sleep to support you but still have your nipples out and not compressed?

    If nipple pain and injury is still happening, yes see the LC again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    173

    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    I found in those early days my nipples were just so sensitive to everything! Definitely had to wear a bra because couldn't stand nipples accidentally rubbing on anything (like the air, ha ha). I found it very uncomfortable to be topless. I put a little milk on nipples after feeding, let it dry, then put some lanolin and then bra with disposable breast pads. Milk was squirting everywhere all the time but the disposable pads wick the moisture away….or at least that's what it felt like.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    Thanks everyone! So, I feel like progress is being made. I was finally able to get some really good sleep the other night (much needed). I've slept with my bra off two nights, and it was a little more comfortable. I do use the disposable pads during the day. I've been applying lots of lanolin, with a little extra on the pad itself so nothing sticks. It mostly helps (a little sticking here and there ).

    The air dry then lanolin does appear to be working. It's less sensitive to nurse now (not perfect, but getting better - no crying)!. Looks like they are healing, but not healed yet.

    I think partly, DD is pretty small, as are my nipples/breasts. So getting that good solid latch - and keeping it - can be tricky. i've really been paying attention, and while we can start out good, she tends to "slip" off as the feeding progresses. She's a drowsy eater (and thus far only falls asleep while nursing) so towards the end, she has much less in her mouth than she should. I can get her to re-latch early on, but not so much towards the end. I try to (gently) unlatch her once I notice she's just hanging out. I'm hoping that as she gets bigger and we get more practice, she'll grow out of it. If anyone has any magic solutions to keeping that latch throughout the feed, I'm all ears!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*delecto View Post
    Thanks everyone! So, I feel like progress is being made. I was finally able to get some really good sleep the other night (much needed). I've slept with my bra off two nights, and it was a little more comfortable. I do use the disposable pads during the day. I've been applying lots of lanolin, with a little extra on the pad itself so nothing sticks. It mostly helps (a little sticking here and there ).

    The air dry then lanolin does appear to be working. It's less sensitive to nurse now (not perfect, but getting better - no crying)!. Looks like they are healing, but not healed yet.

    I think partly, DD is pretty small, as are my nipples/breasts. So getting that good solid latch - and keeping it - can be tricky. i've really been paying attention, and while we can start out good, she tends to "slip" off as the feeding progresses. She's a drowsy eater (and thus far only falls asleep while nursing) so towards the end, she has much less in her mouth than she should. I can get her to re-latch early on, but not so much towards the end. I try to (gently) unlatch her once I notice she's just hanging out. I'm hoping that as she gets bigger and we get more practice, she'll grow out of it. If anyone has any magic solutions to keeping that latch throughout the feed, I'm all ears!
    If she is slipping or drowsing because flow slows down, then doing breast compressions might help a bit but it can be tricky to do without disrupting her latch at the same time depending on nursing position.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    if baby is slipping off the breast, that may be due to gravity. In many nursing positions, gravity is actually pulling baby off the breast. Nursing reclined with baby on top might help in that case.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Air dry vs lanolin

    To keep a good latch I used to have to keep making sure baby was tummy to tummy with me, otherwise she seemed to swivel around and the latch would get worse.

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