Exclusive breastfeeding is essential for babies for up to six months. Breast milk contains nutrients and also builds the baby’s immunity.
Breastfeeding involves skin-to-skin contact and so it is important that your baby is not fed in unhygienic conditions. To keep your nipples clean and dry to protect your baby from germs, here are some breastfeeding hygiene tips you should keep in mind:
1. Avoid use of scented products
Breastfeeding can make nipples sore or sensitive. While there are nipple lotions and creams available, make sure to not use scented products. Also, do not use scented soaps or anything with alcohol content to wash your nipples. This can cause dryness and may be harmful for your baby.
2. Wear loose clothes
Wearing the right clothes is extremely important. You need to let your mammary glands breathe so wear loose undergarments to increase airflow. Lack of airflow can cause bacteria to grow. Stick to cotton nursing bras that do not have an underwire. Synthetic ones can increase sweating and bacterial growth.
3. Minimise sweating
Sweat can make your baby uncomfortable while breastfeeding and they may not want to feed. Avoiding synthetic material and extra padding can reduce sweating. If that does not help, you could take a quick shower or at least clean your breasts before feeding your little one.
4. Change your nursing clothes daily
Nursing bras tend to get dirtier faster than the regular ones. Make sure you change them daily. It is good to let your breasts breathe so you can take off your nursing bra for some time.
5. Maintain cleanliness
In addition to washing your breasts, make it a habit to wash your hands and forearms before feeding your baby to avoid their exposure to bacteria.
6. Clean your breast pump properly
You may start feeding your baby pumped milk after a few months. So, the breast pump you use should also be kept clean. Do not use the same sponge that you use for other utensils to wash breast pumps. It is always better to have a separate area designated for washing it to avoid sink germs.