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Early years

19th Dec 2020

Cracked, sore nipples: The surprising trick that has helped thousands of new mums

Trine Jensen-Burke


Breastfeeding is amazing and wonderful if you’re in a position to be able to do so, that is.

However, some mums, myself included, also find the experience somewhat painful –at least in the beginning, until you get into the swing of things and your nipples have adjusted accordingly.

Yup – cracked, sore nipples. While not spoken about often, it can be an issue for many breastfeeding mums – and is often cited the reason some give up on nursing before they had originally intended.

But ladies – there is help out there. This natural way of treating nipples that are sore from breastfeeding has been popular in Iran and also other Asian countries for centuries, and now a study has shown that the method actually works.

By placing a few drops of peppermint water (see recipe below) on the affected areas of the nipple and areola, women in three different studies  cited fewer incidents of nipple cracking or soreness, including those using lanolin or a placebo.

And while there are other homeopathic remedies out there many lactating mamas swear by, it seems none of these have held up as well in studies as peppermint has.

Fancy trying it for yourself?

Here is how you make peppermint water:

Just soak a few peppermint leaves in water overnight. Strain in the morning and pour onto a small bottle or container with lid, and you are good to go.

Peppermint works for sore nipples because of its:

Numbing effects
Ability to increase tissue flexibility, making it resistant to cracks
Calming and anti-inflammatory properties
Antibacterial activity

Peppermint has been used externally as a skin anesthetic, for healing burns and wounds, and for soothing itching and inflammation.