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2 things helped me:
1. Lansinoh cream every feeding
2. Feeding on only one side per session (it means that each breast gets a 6hr break rather than 3hrs). She still feeds only one side per session now at 8wks old.
TTC #3 since Feb 2013
There's nothing you can do to prepare, I'd say, but if you can meet with a LC in the hospital, have her watch as many feedings as possible. If you can get the latch right from the get-go, your nips will thank you.
Make sure you get some nipple cream (lanolin or other), and I really liked the Ameda Soothing Gel Pads. I kept one pair in my bra and another in the fridge. My nips were downright angry with me, and these really helped. You might even want to have a fresh nipple shield handy just in case! They're cheap so why not.
I've had a lot of pain with my second baby, but it has gotten better. These are my tips:
1) See if you can get a prescription for Newman's nipple cream from your gynecologist or midwife. It has to be compounded, so they would have to call it in to a special compounding pharmacy for you, but it's so worth it.
2) I also used breast shields while my nipples were toughing up. I kept them in for the first month and it helped A LOT!
3) Use nursing tanks instead of bras, especially the first few weeks.
4) Keep on hand: nipple shield, hydrogel pads, and ice packs with the nipple cut out.
Oh, and for breast pads, use the kind in the purple box..... I can't remind what they are called right now for some reason. Your nipples don't stick to them! Good luck to you!
I don't have great tips, but I learned late in the painful process that I really, really liked the Medela products better than Lansinoh.
I found the Medela lanolin and hydrogel pads were way better for me.