This too shall pass! In the first few weeks of breastfeeding, sore nipples are at their worst. If you haven’t yet, I’d suggest you go back and read part 1 of this series, about finding relief using peppermint.
This article starts off with number 2, the common purslane.
2) The Common Purslane
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. It is a common weed, very nutritious and can help to relieve nipple pain when applied topically. Just collect some fresh leaves, mash up with a mortar and pestle and apply directly to the nipples. Rinse with water before the next nursing session.
3) Calendula Oil or Salve
Calendula is useful for all manner of wounds, cuts and infections. A salve or oil can be applied after a feeding and will absorb quickly. If there is still a great deal on your nipples for feeding time, go ahead and dab some off. I generally make my own, but a high quality calendula oil can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs too.
There are many lanolin-based emollients on the market. It is rich, viscous, penetrating and protective. As it is so thick, it may be difficult to apply straight. It will make a great ingredient in another balm or salve.
5) Coconut Balm
Make a salve with coconut oil, herbal oils of plantain, marshmallow, and comfrey and beeswax. I used this along with lanolin with great success when I was dealing with sore nipples.
6) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has many uses for the skin, including wound healing and can be helpful to repair the damaged skin. Different species of aloe are used in parts of Africa for healing cracked and sore nipples.
Aloe vera gel is the basis of my recipe for peppermint gel, a variation of a gel from some scientific studies used to treat sore nipples. I love to use aloe on a number of skin issues and it is quite gentle and effective for delicate tissue.
7) Expressed Breast Milk
Breast milk contains human growth factor, tons of vitamins and is super nourishing. It is also soothing for hot and irritated conditions. Breast milk is effective in preventing or helping to heal nipple tears and cracks.
Where to Purchase Ingredients
Many of the ingredients for treating sore nipples can be purchased from this shop, a zero-waste, environmentally and socially responsible herbal company. For example, the aloe vera gel, calendula oil (or flowers to make your own) and ingredients to make your own coconut balm can be found there. I have been buying from them for many years and will continue to do so in the future.