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Birth. 1996 Jun;23(2):88-93.

A comparison of topical agents to relieve nipple pain and enhance breastfeeding.



Nipple soreness is one reason why breastfeeding women wean their infants. This study examined the effectiveness of three topical agents--USP-modified lanolin, warm water compresses, and expressed breast milk with air drying--in alleviating nipple pain, and if early predictors of breastfeeding at six weeks could be determined.


One hundred seventy-seven breastfeeding, primiparous women were randomly assigned to one of four groups. All women received education about breastfeeding technique. Numeric rating scales were used to discriminate levels of pain intensity, pain affect, and strength of sucking on day 1. Participants were interviewed by telephone on postpartum days 4, 7, and 14, and during week 6 using the same scales.


No significant differences were found among groups for pain intensity, pain affect, or duration of breastfeeding. Results of a logistic regression indicated that older mothers and those who were exclusively breastfeeding (no supplemental feeding) were most likely to be breastfeeding six weeks postpartum. Raw scores supported the use of warm compresses.


Further investigation is required into ways of supporting young mothers and how caregivers provide support to breastfeeding mothers in the early weeks after childbirth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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