Skip to main content

How to Prepare your Nipples for Breastfeeding, Myths vs Reality?

breastfeeding mum

I regularly hear myths about the need for nipple preparation during pregnancy in readiness for breastfeeding. I’ve heard recommendations of creams to soften them, alcohol to toughen them up, or twisting them to pull them out… I’m serious!!! What a painful and unnecessary waste of time.

These are all without question myths. Let’s dispel them here:

1. Should I use creams or any other lotions during pregnancy to prepare my nipples for

Your nipples don’t need to be lubricated with anything. Around your nipples you have glands known as Montgomery’s tubercles. These are sebaceous (oily) glands that appear as small bumps around the dark area of your nipple (areola), and their primary function is clean, lubricate, and keeping germs away from the breasts without the need for any intervention. The body is an incredible thing and already naturally prepares itself for the breastfeeding process.

2. Should I use alcohol during pregnancy to toughen my nipples for breastfeeding

Please… No, no and no! The reason that historically some people have recommended alcohol is that it was thought in the past that with tougher nipples there would be less chance of them cracking over time. These potential cracks are for another chapter, but nothing to do with the strength of your nipples. So again, please don’t treat your nipples with alcohol!

3. Should I twist or pull my nipples during pregnancy to prepare them for breastfeeding?

Have you ever thought that your nipples are like the old radios that you can synchronise the station that you want to hear just twisting the knobs? I hope that your answer is no. So why would it be a nice idea to twist them or pull them out? I can assure you that there is no need to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding in this way, and if by some other reasons you need your nipples to be out, there are so many other gentle and more effective ways to do it, which I’ll cover in another blog.

To summarise, I am strongly recommending that you just need to let nature take its course and allow the body to prepare itself in readiness for your breastfeeding experience. If you’re finding it challenging to breastfeed, nipple preparation is not the reason why. Think about getting some information and guidance from a qualified lactation consultant during your pregnancy. Not everyone is a natural to start with, and there are plenty of other ways to prepare yourself with those that know how, by learning, practicing, and observing. All of which will lead to you feeling empowered on your breastfeeding journey.

Related content