Breastfeeding Problems or Lactation Issues? The Doctor is In
By Frank J. Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Hi, I’m Dr. Frank. It’s Nice to meet you. I decided to start this blog as a way to provide free advice to nursing moms facing breastfeeding problems or lactation issues. It’s my hope that I can provide the answers you need to help make breastfeeding your baby an enjoyable, bonding experience.
Why the Heck is a Guy Writing a Breastfeeding Blog?
You’re probably wondering who the heck I am and why I think I can write a blog about breastfeeding problems. I can understand that; I’m an older, White, Polish-American Guy and you’re a breastfeeding Mom. While I can’t share the same physical experience, I can share the scientific knowledge I’ve gained in the 45 years I’ve been working with breastfeeding moms, Lactation Consultants, La Leche League Leaders and countless other healthcare professionals and families.
But that’s not all. I also:
- Engage daily with the breastfeeding community, providing free consultations and advising on breastfeeding problems like sore, cracked nipples; medication concerns; and lactation issues.
- Am one of four pioneers in the field of medication use during breastfeeding, along with Drs. Philip O. Anderson, Thomas W. Hale, and Gerald G. Briggs;
- Published multiple reference books widely used by Lactation Consultants and La Leche League Leaders.
- Authored over four dozen peer-reviewed articles on the use of prescription medications, recreational drugs, Over-the-Counter (OTC) products, and herbals during breastfeeding.
- I developed the patent-pending formula for Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel, an all-natural, water-based gel that instantly soothes and cools sore, cracked, chapped, chafed nipples caused by breastfeeding.
The Origins of A Unique Formula
Over a decade ago, a well-respected leader in the Lactation Consultant community and dear friend sent me an article on the use of peppermint gel to treat perhaps the most common of breastfeeding problems: raw, sore, cracked, chafed, and painful nipples.
The study was done in 2007 and showed the superiority of peppermint gel over both lanolin ointment and the placebo gel (more about this in my next post). The researchers reported no adverse effects for both the mothers and breastfed babies who participated.
Along with providing the study information, my Lactation Consultant friend plainly asked me, “Well, Frank, why is there no such product on the American market?”
I really had no answer. She went on: “The peppermint gel is so much better than lanolin, the most-used product in the United States!”
She was absolutely right. And it was in that moment that I realized I had important work to do: I had to develop a peppermint moisturizing gel specifically for breastfeeding Moms suffering from raw, sore cracked, chafed nipples.
Peppermint Water Instead of Lanolin?
Being totally naïve on the issue, I started looking into it. Indeed, there were no such products on the market in the United States or anywhere in the world.
I did discover that breastfeeding moms and Lactation Consultants were concocting peppermint leaf “teas” to apply to their nipples with amazing results.
After not finding much other information, I reported back to my Lactation Consultant friend and she hit me immediately with: “What are you going to do about it?”
That question gave me much incentive to try to do something about it. And that doing something about it has so far taken me 10 years.
Creating the Right Recipe
The first thing I did after my Lactation Consultant friend and I spoke, was to get my hands on the gel formula that the researchers used in their study trial. It turns out it was a common, basic gel formulation that used several artificial preservatives along with peppermint oil. My first thought was that the artificial preservatives and gel ingredients aren’t overly skin friendly. So I took the formula to a skin specialist – a chemist friend of mine – and he suggested other possible ingredients.
I then took the formula, along with my chemist-friend’s suggestions, to a compounding pharmacist friend of mine. He tried dozens of formulations before he came up with the perfect recipe: the artificial preservatives were replaced with a natural preservative; the artificial gel ingredients were replaced with one natural ingredient with an amazing property to transform, safely, from a gel at room temperature to a thin liquid when cooled.
Revolutionary Gel Works Two Ways
Whenever you place a typical gel or ointment into the refrigerator it gets much thicker. Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel does the exact opposite. It becomes thinner! In fact, it turns into a liquid.
“What a stroke of genius!” I thought.
Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel transforms from a thick gel into a cooling liquid that soothes and relives the pain of raw, sore nipples, instantly. Being a liquid, it flows into the cracks of the chafed nipple for better absorption.
To top all that off, at body and room temperature, Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel turns back into a protective and breathable skin. And, unlike messy lanolin, it can be washed off easily, although that would rarely be necessary.
One of the most common breastfeeding problems is solved! What could go wrong?
Amazing Properties. Faulty Packaging
We trademarked and patented the product. All we had to do now was scale up the manufacturing of the gel, package it and sell it. Sounds easy, right?
Remember that I said it took a decade to get where we are now. After exploring different types of packaging, we landed on what we thought was the perfect solution: an airless pump bottle with a non-touch roller ball that could be rolled on the breast with one hand while holding the baby in the other arm.
It was surely the perfect multi-tasking device. Or so we thought.
Very often, the gel would pop the roller ball out of the container, sending it rolling across the floor (if one had a cat, it could help you find it). No matter the refinements we made in the delivery device, we could never get the roller ball to stay put 100 percent of the time.
So, we went back to work and restructured everything, including our company operations.
New Look. Same Formula
We hired a new team to rebuild and rebrand the company from the ground up.
We found new packaging that actually works when the gel is at body/room temperature AND chilled.
And, our marketing and design team came up with a completely new branded look; one that’s more pleasing to the eye, more accurately describes what Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel does and why it’s the only alternative to lanolin.
I will finish this post by saying a little bit about my Polish heritage and growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in the small coal-mining town of Plymouth. My Polish grandfathers and father who worked the coal mines were down-to-earth human beings who taught me to respect all people and give back to the community over and above what the community has given to me.
On behalf of Dr. Nice’s Natural Products, we are committed to helping you with any breastfeeding challenges.
I am available almost anytime and happy to provide free consultations on medications and breastfeeding and all related topics, unless I am on a medical mission in Haiti (check out the non-profit I support with all of my personal proceeds from the sales of Dr. Nice’s Moisturizing Gel). If I don’t know the answer, I will find the breastfeeding expert needed to help you.
Until next time, thanks for reading and remember: Never give up!
Frank J. Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog is advisory only and is not intended to replace sound clinical judgement or individualized patient care. The author disclaims all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including any warranty as the quality, accuracy, safety, or suitability of this information for any particular purpose.