Breastfeeding

Oxytocin nasal spray can be compounded to help women who have problems with milk letdown. Lactation failure may result from insufficient oxytocin. A rise in the concentration of oxytocin causes contraction of cells around the alveoli and milk ducts, in preparation for suckling. Oxytocin nasal solution (Syntocinon®) was formerly commercially available, and indicated for use in stimulating lactation during the first week postpartum (not for continued use). Oxytocin nasal spray is contraindicated during pregnancy since it may provoke a uterotonic effect, precipitating contractions and abortion. The medication is still frequently requested and can be compounded per a prescription order.

“All purpose nipple ointment” (APNO) is a combination of ingredients which seems to relieve many causes of sore nipples during breastfeeding. The presence of Candida albicans can cause nipple soreness and cracking, and cracks and erosions in the nipple harbour bacteria that can cause infection or delay healing, and can cause significant pain. APNO was originally developed by pediatrician Jack Newman, MD, who started the first hospital-based breastfeeding clinic in Canada in 1984. He noted, “It is always good, however, to try to assure the best latch possible, because improving the latch helps with any cause of pain.” Ointments often work better than creams to treat sore nipples, and Dr. Newman recommended a preparation containing mupirocin 2% ointment 15 grams, betamethasone 0.1% ointment 15 grams, with miconazole powder added so that the final concentration is 2% miconazole. Dr. Newman suggested that sometimes it is helpful to add ibuprofen powder as well, so that the final concentration of ibuprofen is 2%. The combination is applied sparingly after each feeding.