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Can you suggest treatment for sore nipples?

Q: My wife just gave birth to a baby girl and since three weeks she is having difficulty in breastfeeding the child. Whenever she feeds the child, her nipples start paining and she can't feed the baby. We recently bought a breast pump that sucks the milk from breast but all in vain. We have decided to buy milk from the market, called S26. Is it safe for my baby to drink this milk? Can you please advise us on what to do and how to treat the sore nipples so my wife can feed the child?

A:Giving top feeds to the baby at this time can have deleterious effects that get manifested later. Also, it is difficult to prepare the milk hygienically, and store it (cleaning bottles, nipples, etc). Therefore, we recommend exclusive breast feeding for a minimum of 6 months. You should have your wife examined by a gynaecologist to rule out cracked nipples, which is a common cause of pain during breast feeding. If this is the cause, it can be cured by local antibiotic creams, and may need systemic (oral) antibiotics as well. During this time the nipple shield and breast pump are used to feed the baby and extract the milk (but after cleaning the nipple with cotton soaked in water to remove the antibiotic). If the cracked nipples are not treated on time it can result in infection of the breast- mastitis- that can at times lead on to a breast abscess requiring incision and drainage of the pus. Sometimes, if the nipples are slightly inverted, it can cause problems in breast feeding. Please consult your gynaecologist immediately.

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