Breastfeeding is a beautiful, amazing way to feed our babies—but it certainly isn’t without some not-so-beautiful side-effects and Jessie James Decker knows all about that. As a mother of two with a third baby on the way, Decker says she’s preparing to breastfeed by first stocking up on plenty of Vaseline.
“I love breastfeeding and you're going to love it, too," Decker told E! host and expectant mother Carissa Culiner in a new interview. "And when your nipples get really bloody, you know put a little Vaseline, you'll be fine.”
The news was a surprise to Culiner, who asked Decker whether that was really true. And, unfortunately, it is: According to the La Leche League, 80 to 90% of nursing moms experience nipple soreness—with 26% reporting cracking and extreme nipple pain.
As Decker said, though, the good news is that a little help from a protecting agent goes a long way. The pain is also much more common in the early days of breastfeeding, when baby is still working on a good latch and mama’s nipples are more sensitive.
“During the first two to four days after birth, the mother's nipples may feel tender at the beginning of a feeding as the baby's early suckling stretches her nipple and areolar tissue far back into his mouth,” the La Leche League reports, noting this typically subsides after the first week. (If it does not, they advise seeking help from a lactation consultant or health care professional as there may be another treatable cause for the pain.)
Despite the initial struggles, Decker has said time and time again that breastfeeding is worth it to her.
“It’s such a wonderful, intimate thing to share with your child. I remember that full, happy look Vivianne would get when she was done,” she told American Baby during her second pregnancy, adding she thinks it’s important to be honest about the highs and lows of breastfeeding. “Nursing is hard. It doesn’t always come easy and we need to support each other.”
Thanks to Decker for adding her voice to this conversation: When we discuss openly that breastfeeding isn’t easy, we’re also empowering mamas to get help when they need it—whether that’s with a lactation consultant or an extra-large tub of Vaseline.