ALL PURPOSE NIPPLE OINTMENT (Dr. Jack Newman) Contains ingredients that help deal with multiple causes of sore nipples during breastfeeding. “Good medicine” calls for the single “right” treatment for the “right” problem, but mothers with sore nipples don’t have time to try out different treatments that may or may not work. This ointment combines various treatments in one. Of course, preventing sore nipples in the first place would be the best treatment and often adjusting how the baby takes the breast can do more than anything to decrease and eliminate the mother’s nipple soreness.
Contents of Dr. Jack Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment:
- Mupirocin is an antibiotic that is effective against many bacteria, particularly Staphylococcus aureus including MRSA . Staph is is commonly found growing in abrasions or cracks in the nipples and probably makes nipple soreness worse. Mupirocin apparently has some effect against Candida albicans (commonly, but inaccurately called “thrush” or “yeast”). Although mupirocin is absorbed when taken by mouth, it is so quickly metabolized in the body that it is destroyed before blood levels can be measured. Moreover most of it gets stuck to the skin so that very little is taken in by the baby. Thus it is safe to swallow if indeed the baby gets any.
- Betamethasone is a corticosteroid, which decreases inflammation. A large part of the pain mothers experience when they have sore nipples is due to inflammation. The redness of the nipples and areolas is another sign of inflammation. By decreasing the inflammation, the ointment also decreases the pain the mother feels. Most of the betamethasone is absorbed into the skin by the mother so that the baby takes in very little.
- Miconazole is an antifungal agent. It is very effective against Candida albicans.
How do I use the ointment?
Apply it sparingly after each feeding. “Sparingly” means that you apply just enough to make the nipples and areola glossy or shiny. Do not wash it off or wipe it off, even if the baby comes back to the breast earlier than expected.
How long can I use the ointment?
Somehow the “word” has gotten around to use the ointment for only two weeks. This is unfortunate since many mothers are getting so much better, but not pain-free, by the time they believe they have to stop the ointment. Apparently, pharmacists have said that the steroid in the ointment will cause “thinning” of the skin. This is a concern with any steroid one puts on the skin, but in our experience, this has not occurred with our ointment and several mothers have used it for months.
Any drug should be used for the shortest period of time necessary, whether it’s taken by mouth or put on the skin. There is no problem using the ointment for 2 or 3 or even more weeks, but if you still need the ointment after two or three weeks, or you pain returns after you have stopped it, you should get “hands-on” help again to find out why and fix the way the baby is taking the breast. The most important feature of decreasing nipple pain is getting the “best latch possible”.