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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Nov;152(11):1077-82.

Sore nipples in breast-feeding women: a clinical trial of wound dressings vs conventional care.

Author information

  • 1Maternal-Infant Lactation Center, Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sore nipples in breast-feeding mothers are a common cause of premature weaning, and are difficult to treat owing to recurrent trauma and exposure to the infant's oral flora.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the safety and efficacy of a hydrogel moist wound dressing (Elasto-gel, Southwest Technologies Inc, Baltimore, Md) with the use of breast shells and lanolin cream in the treatment of maternal sore nipples associated with breast-feeding.

DESIGN:

Randomized controlled trial comparing the above treatments for sore nipples. Patients were seen for a maximum of 3 follow-up visits within 10 days, or until the resolution of symptoms.

SETTING:

The Maternal-Infant Lactation Center at the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa, a tertiary care teaching hospital in inner-city Pittsburgh.

PATIENTS:

A referred sample of 42 breast-feeding women who presented to the Maternal-Infant Lactation Center for the treatment of sore nipples. All patients with breast infection or chronic unrelated pain conditions were excluded from the study.

INTERVENTION:

After informed consent, patients were randomized to receive either a hydrogel wound dressing or breast shells and lanolin. All patients underwent a history, physical examination of the infant and the mother's breasts, assessment of breast-feeding technique, and breast-feeding instruction.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The degree of pain on self-report questionnaires and the change in scores for physical examination, breast-feeding technique, and pain behaviors during breast-feeding.

RESULTS:

Although both treatments, in association with instruction in breast-feeding technique, were effective, greater improvement was seen in the group using breast shells and lanolin. This reached statistical significance for physician-rated healing (P<.01) and self-reported pain (P<.05). There were significantly more infections in the dressing group (P<.05), which resulted in early discontinuation of the study.

CONCLUSIONS:

Prevention of sore nipples by teaching proper technique on the initiation of breast-feeding should be instituted. For those cases in which sore nipples do develop, breast shells and lanolin in association with instruction in breast-feeding technique are more effective than moist wound dressings. Lanolin and shells should remain first-line therapy.

Comment in

  • Lanolin for sore nipples. [Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999]
PMID:
9811284
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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