This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
If the breasts have been properly cared for during pregnancy, little inconvenience will be experienced after childbirth. Care should be taken to wash the nipples carefully with cold water both before and after nursing. If the breasts are large, flabby, and pendulous, it is well to support them by means of bandages properly applied, passing under the breasts and over the neck. This precaution will often prevent inflammation of the breasts.
Sore Nipples will rarely occur when these precautions are observed. If the nipples should become cracked and tender, especial attention should be given to cleansing, both before and after nursing, and an ointment of carbolated vaseline, ten drops to the ounce, should be used, care being taken to remove the ointment before the nipple is given to the child. A solution of tannin in glycerine, fifteen grains to the ounce, is also an excellent application for sore nipples. It should be used twice a day. Another excellent remedy is the following lotion, which should be applied twice a day with a camel's hair brush: Carbolic acid twenty drops, glycerine two teaspoonsful, water a tablespoonful and a half; mix thoroughly. Care should also be taken to give the nipple as much rest as possible, by using the breasts alternately, and making the intervals between nursing as long as possible without doing injury to the child. One of the greatest causes of sore nipples is compression of the breast by improper dressing before and during pregnancy. In some cases, severe pain may be felt whenever the child is taken to the breast, in consequence of neuralgia of the part. This should be carefully distinguished from soreness of the nipple by a critical examination of the breast.
If swelling of the breast occurs, accompanied by redness, pain, and tenderness, the breast should be given entire rest at once. Hot fomentations should be applied until the pain is relieved. The fomentations should not be simply warm, but they should be as hot as can be borne. If relief is not obtained in this way, ice-compresses or an ice-pack should be used. We generally obtain better results by means of alternate hot and cold applications than by the use of either one alone. If one alone is used, the packs or compresses should be removed once in a half-hour for fifteen or twenty times, in order to prolong the good effect. At the very beginning of the difficulty, before inflammation has really begun, relief may frequently be obtained by carefully withdrawing the milk from the breast and rubbing it gently with the hand. If suppuration occurs, as indicated by the softening of the hard cake which forms when the inflammation rises high, poultices should be applied. It is also best to call a physician in this case, as it is frequently necessary to lance the abscess which has formed. Blisters, mustard plasters, leeches, and other irritating applications, are of no value whatever Inflammation of the breast may almost always be prevented by care on the part of the mother to avoid allowing the breast to become too full. On this account, regularity in nursing is of great importance.