Author Dr. J. Hower, paediatrician from Germany
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding of newborns during the first six months. Not all member countries and certainly not all mothers follow that recommendation. One common breastfeeding difficulty is painful nipples. Research suggests that poor infant positioning or latching can lead to painful nipples. Many different interventions have been designed so far in order to reduce pain caused by breastfeeding.
This evaluation of literature assesses the effectiveness of the different treatment interventions. In the included studies, all mothers received instructions on how to position and latch their child on as part of routine postpartum care.
- The evaluation of the results showed no evidence for the effectiveness of glycerine gel dressings or breast shells with lanolin. One study found no significant differences in nipple pain at three, four and six days post-treatment between women who applied lanolin and those who didn’t. A lower perception of nipple pain was, however, demonstrated following four to five days of treatment with expressed breast milk. However, this beneficial effect was not maintained after six to seven days of treatment and therefore corresponded to the results without treatment. In the end, no difference could be found between the treatment with expressed breast milk and no treatment.
- After seven days of treatment, no difference could be found in pain perception between women who applied skincare oil and women who applied lanolin dressings either.
The overall findings did not show any difference in maternal perception of nipple pain comparing the application of glycerine gel dressings, lanolin with breast shells, lanolin alone, expressed breast milk, or skincare oil.