When my son was six days old, I found breastfeeding so toe-curlingly painful that it took my breath away every time he latched on. Making it through the next six hours of feeds seemed like more than I could handle, let alone struggling on for the next six months. Following the advice of my health visitor, I tried every greasy nipple cream going, but the pain continued. I also gave nipple shields a go, but try as I might, I couldn’t make the slippery contraptions stay on.
Then my mum came for a visit and brought me a box of Multi-Mam Compresses, which she’d picked up in Boots after asking the pharmacist’s advice. By this point, I was willing to give anything a go, so I ripped open a couple of sachets, unfolded the small rectangular compresses, and popped them inside my bra.
My skepticism was soon replaced by pure delight, as the compresses are soaked in a cooling gel that offers some instant relief when placed on sore nipples. They also help chapped skin heal — which is especially important in those early days when it feels like your baby is feeding all day long.
You use the compresses for up to an hour in between feeds, and they are flat enough to wear under your bra without any telltale lumps or bumps. The gel consists of natural plant ingredients, which are safe for your baby, so the compresses don’t interfere with feeding at all.
I took to carrying a couple of sachets in my nappy bag, so I would have fresh compresses close at all times. They took the sting out of feeding while I sought support from my health visitor and the National Breastfeeding Helpline, which helped me get the latch right and rule out any issues such as tongue-tie or thrush. Once my baby and I had more practice at breastfeeding, the pain eased, I started to use the compresses less frequently, and eventually passed them on. I now buy them as a gift for pregnant friends who are planning to breastfeed, so that they can have them should they start to feel sore. And I’m not the only one that recycles them: A friend told me that once she stopped needing the compresses, she passed on a half-full box to another pregnant mate.
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