Vanessa Williams' Breast Advice for Rebecca Romijn

09/17/2008 at 03:45 PM ET
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

"The first few days, your nipples get chewed off. Because they are so sore, one of the best reliefs is taking a [black] tea bag and putting [it on] as a compress. The tannin [in the tea] really soothes the breast."

            — Vanessa Williams, on her best post-delivery advice for Ugly Betty costar Rebecca Romijn, currently expecting fraternal twin girls. Rebecca, whom husband Jerry O’Connell says is due in January, begins partial bedrest on October 1st.

Source: OK!

What’s your ‘breast advice?’


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finnaryn on

For others who have not breastfed, but are curious, they say chilled cabbage leaves also work. I used Lansinoh, which is a lanolin cream for the nipples. I would put it on after each nursing and once I started using it all the time, I never had dry or cracked skin. I also used it on my hands, which were getting red from all the washing after diaper changes.

It is safe for baby and does not have to be removed before nursing. Since I also pumped (while at work) my LC recommended using it on the breastpump “horns” to reduce the friction on the nipple. It really helped.

Be aware though, it comes from sheep’s wool so if you are allergic to wool it may cause a reaction. I am not sure. Maybe someone else can comment on that.

Christina on

cabbage leaves help to lower a mothers supply. so unless she is painfully engorge it should be avoided.

Hannah on

Gerber also makes a product similar to lanolin. It’s called a breast stick and my mom and I joked that it was chapstick for your boobs. It worked wonders and my son didn’t mind the taste, unlike lanolin which he HATED! I used it when I pumped as well.

Jessica on

Haha, I wish someone would’ve warned me about sore they get! I think it’s a cruel joke other moms play on new moms, they don’t want to spoil the surprise:) The best thing I found were the little gel things you put inside your bra over your nipples, but I put them in the fridge and the coolness really soothed them. Keep in mind, my daughter didn’t exactly take to nursing right away so I was bleeding, cracked, sore and crying hysterically everytime I nursed for the first week. I can understand why some women give up, it was extremely painful. But stick with it, it’s totally worth it in the end, emotionally for the mom since it’s a wonderful bonding experience, and physically it’s best for the baby! Good luck.

AllAngela on

I had to feed my daughter from my good, non-blistered boob and pump from the bum one in order to keep up my supply and promote healing. So my best advice is to give your boobs a break when they are sore and bleeding by pumping until they heal. Hang in there if you want to breastfeed, ladies. Your nipples will eventually toughen up.

Carol on

I was told to vigorously rub a towel across the nipples when I was drying off in the shower so they could start to get used to a little rough treatment. That way you could gradually build up to “tough nipples”.

Heather on

Get yourself a leather strap, insert in your own mouth, bite down hard and let the baby nurse!

The pain passes, but the bonding is worth any amount of pain (and it’s a heck of a lot)!

Niki on

The first 10-14 days were the hardest, but after that, it seemed to only hurt the first few seconds while my son latched on. I used the Target brand lanolin after every nursing session, and that was very soothing. I had to use nursing shields (for inverted nipples), and had it not been for those, I may have given up. They seemed to help give my son something else to really press into and wasn’t as painful as direct contact. Once my nipples got used to nursing, I quit using the shields. There’s really no good prep you can do, just make it through the first two weeks and use the cream as needed…it’s totally worth it!

Amy on

Jessica – I think you are referring to Soothies and they are wonderful! One of the lactation consultants gave me some in the hospital and I did the same thing with them…put them in the fridge to cool them off. Then after nursing I’d stick them on before I snapped my bra back on and they did wonders. I also used the Lansinoh cream, but the Soothies were the best!

Also, pain, cracked nipples, and bleeding are par for the course with BF’ing. It took my nipples a solid 2 maybe 3 months to completely toughen up, but it was worth it. You just have to stick it out!

Michelle on

If your nipples are looking or feeling “chewed off” there is definitely something wrong. It’s normal to have soreness, but if the skin is damaged that’s a sign of a poor latch and needs immediate attention by an IBCLC.

momtotwo on

My advice is that if you feel like your nipples are being chewed off…. something’s up (probably bad latch), so contact a lactation consultant (or two if you don’t like the first one). Also, DON’T try and toughen up the nipples beforehand, you’ll only irritate them. Severe pain, bleeding, and cracked nipples are NOT good, get some help! It does get better and easier and is SO worth it. Gotta love the “milk drunk” look!

Danielle, CBB Senior Editor on

I didn’t experience ANY pain when nursing. If it hurts, the latch isn’t right. Get help from a lactation consultant!

Keeana on

If you can hang in there for the first six weeks, it’s a breeze after that.

Also, lube up good with lansinoh or even petroleum jelly before pumping to decrease the friction.

CC on

I had major engorgement issues with my first baby. What really helped was to use hot compresses prior to feeding and to pump a little bit right before feeding to get rid of some excess milk (which I then froze for future use). This helped because my boobs were so hard that my baby couldn’t latch on. The warm compress got the milk flowing and the pumping made the breasts softer and easier to latch onto. Then after feeding I got two icepacks (I rigged it so that it was ‘hands-free’) and iced my boobs for 20 minutes at a time. That really helped with the swelling so that they weren’t so hard for the next feeding. With my second and third babies I was more prepared and started icing them immediately – prior to my milk coming in and I had much less engorgement issues.

Also I agree. Initial latch should only be uncomfortable with the pain subsiding after a few seconds. Anything worse than that should be discussed with a lactation consultant because the latch is probably incorrect.

Oh and I’ve tried those ‘soothing gel packs’ and those were wonderful too and a lot less messy than the lanolin cream.

CelebBabyLover on

I have a feeling Venus may have been exagerating a bit when she said “your nipples get chewed off in the first few days”.

Anyway, that said…I wonder why Rebecca has to go on bedrest (albeit partial bedrest) so early in the pregnancy (she’ll be around six months pregnant at the time)? I hope everything is okay with the babies?

Oh, and can somone please explain what partial bed rest is? I’m a bit confused!

yogadaisy on

Lansinoh!! In the purple tube. It’s THE best. Use it as often as you can–invest in several pairs of organic breast pads to slip into your Bravado bra to protect it from the goop and change them when they get messy.

Also, after baby is done nursing express a bit of breastmilk and let it sit on your nipple and air dry for a minute or so. Breastmilk has amazing healing powers.

And lastly, make sure your latch is proper. Change nursing positions to alleviate pressure on just one side of your nipple.

lol, no, I’m not a lactation consultant, just a mom of 4 who has been nursing almost non-stop for 7 years!

Kat on

chilled cabbage does work for relieving engorgement, but be careful not to overuse it when you are nursing, so you don’t dry up your milk.

Lansinoh is the most awesome thing around (well, purelan and other brands of the all natural lanolin-based nipple creams are great, too, but lansinoh just seems a little better)

soothes the nipples so well when they are all cracked and chapped from nursing on demand those first days and weeks (especially if you need to pump when you go back to work)

Jessica on

Thanks Amy! I think that was the name of the product. It worked wonders.

I definitely spent a lot of time with the lactation consultants. My daughter was sort of biting me instead of sucking. I had to stick my nipple or finger in her mouth and wait until she started sucking properly, then use a plastic syringe full of milk for the first few days, if she bit me I wouldn’t give her any milk. Sort of taught her that sucking would get her the food she wanted. I even had my mom hold the syringe next to my nipple and when the baby latched on and sucked properly she would express the milk. I had to use formula the first few days after my milk came in because I was bleeding so much everytime she nursed or I pumped and I was afraid she’d get sick. You would think that nursing comes naturally to babies but that’s not always the case. I’m glad I stuck with it. I agree that if you’re having a lot of pain and soreness you should call the lactaction office, they helped so much and motivated me to keep at it! Another thing they taught me is if you start having cramps or feeling slight contractions when you nurse that means the baby is feeding properly. Hope this helps if anyone out there is nursing or planning on it:)

Charlotte Butler Penenberg on

I too have struggled with nursing and think the Lansinoh ointment is by far the best. You might also try putting the ointment on night and morning beginning a few weeks prior to giving birth. I used cabbage leaves when I was engorged, but wasn’t sure if it really helped.

I also just want to mention that I happen to be a momtrepreneur and began a business, lilabean ( after having my first daughter. I design and manufacture nursing covers that “cocoon” your baby while nursing in public. They helped me and have been great for so many of our customers! Give our site a look and feel free to email me if you have any questions at And hang in there with the nursing! It’s one of the greatest things you’ll ever do if you can get through the first few weeks.

Tiffany on

Nursing your new baby/ies shouldnt ever HURT. it might be sore at first, due to not being used to having someone suck on your nipples almost 24/7 up until birth, but it should never HURT, if there is pain, there is a problem. usually a latch problem. the good news is, its really easy to remedy! Find a local IBCLC by visiting
or by looking in your phone book under Lactation Services.
i highly reccomend seeing an IBCLC and not just your average run of the mill hospital lactation consultant, because in my experience MOST hospital LCs push formula, instead of working towards a positive nursing relationship.
if your partner is home with you ask him or her to get your a snack, and some water, stay hydrated and well fed. have some reading material handy, if you want, or just take the time to catch a small nap while your baby nurses to sleep.
most importantly, let your newborn do ALL of its suckling on you. your supply comes from your babies demand. babies have different sucks, one for activating let-down, one for actively nursing to drink milk, and one for comfort nursing, your baby will know what to do. if your baby wants to suck, dont put a pacifier in its mouth, put your baby to your breast. your supply depends on the demand your baby creates.
if you have any concerns while nursing, PLEASE seek out help instead of just giving up and switching to formula in bottles.
unless you have had a double mastectomy you CAN nurse your baby. even with a low supply, or after breast surgery. i am currently nursing my 14 month old daughter, 9years after my breast reduction. it takes ALOT of work, alot of patience, donated breastmilk from other moms, and a Lact-Aid at the breast nursing supplimenter, but we have a really wonderful nursing relationship that i wouldnt trade for anything in the world.