To evaluate effectiveness of three commonly suggested methods of preparing the breasts for breastfeeding--nipple rolling, application of cream, and expression of colostrum--57 women volunteered to prepare one breast and not the other. One-third of the group used one each of the three methods. After delivery, the women completed data sheets on the subjective tenderness of both breasts, and an investigator visited them to evaluate objective measures of nipple irritation. When the treated and untreated breasts were compared, no significant differences in either objective or subjective measures of nipple sensitivity or trauma were found in any of the three groups. These findings imply that these traditional methods of preparing the breasts for breast-feeding are ineffective.