Preparation of the nipples prenatally is no longer commonly recommended. The breast secretes natural oils that keep the areola and nipple soft and supple.
Poor latch is the number one culprit behind sore nipples. If your baby does not latch well, break suction with your finger and relatch the baby. Remember that this is a learning process for both of you and your baby may need some time to learn how to latch properly.
Change breast pads frequently, never leaving a wet pad next to your nipples. Plastic backed nursing pads trap moisture and should not be used.
Check to be sure that the fabric of your bra is breathable and not too tight.
Older recommendations of limiting feedings to decrease risk of sore nipples have been disproved. Your baby should nurse 8-12 times per day. ***Relief measures for sore nipples: allow nipples to air dry after feeding, sunlight on nipples for ten minutes twice daily (lying down on floor under a window is a good way to do this), express breastmilk onto nipples and allow to air dry, one study suggests that Lansinoh is effective and not harmful when applied sparingly, do not use Vitamin E oil.
~Normal (physiologic) Jaundice:
At least three different studies confirm that more frequent feedings during the first three days of life mean more stools and lower bilirubin levels. Breastfeeding should be initiated as soon as possible within the first two hours after birth to give an optimum window for intake as most babies have a period after that time when they are very drowsy. Water supplements, getting a late start at breastfeeding, and low feeding frequency are all variables that can increase the risk of jaundice.
Often, plugged ducts occur because of inadequate drainage from the breast. This could happen because a woman has an overabundant supply of milk, when the baby doesn't nurse as well as usual for some reason, or something as simple as a missed feeding. Other factors that can lead to a plugged duct: a bra that is too tight (underwire bras appear to be common culprits), extreme fatigue, inadequate hydration. To resolve a plugged duct: nurse the affected side first, nurse more frequently (or pump), point the baby's chin toward the plug, moist heat, gentle massage, increase fluid intake.
Frequent feeds within the first week can help prevent primary engorgement. If you are still uncomfortably full, pump just enough for relief so you do not give the message to your body to continue producing milk. Gentle breast massage and moist heat may also give comfort.
~Nipple Confusion (sometimes referred to as "suck" confusion)
Delay the introduction of artificial nipples until latch-on and breastfeeding is well established. Generally speaking, and depending on the baby, two to six weeks is an average time frame to expect this to happen.