Hats off to Piove, who submitted a hack when his son is barely a week old. Here's what he and his wife have learned so far about the crazy adventure that is newborn nursing:
Our 9 day-old son is sometimes reluctant to nurse. We figured out quite quickly this happened after my wife had had a shower. [Presumably because she smelled different. — Ed.] Now, when he wants to feed after she has washed, she squeezes a bit of milk out and massages it into the nipple. He then latches on no problems!
Apparently nipple creams will cause the same problem. If you have sore nipples, try the same thing, massage a bit of breast milk into them. This and baby's saliva should be enough to prevent soreness and cracking.
[In my experience, only time helped the soreness and cracking problem. I internalized the mantra that "if it hurts, you're doing it wrong," but, for me, no matter how I did it I was sore in the beginning. — Ed.]