No, so you might have a problem with baby’s latch onto your breast. We can help.

Tender nipples are common at the start of a feed for the first week  of breastfeeding. However, if nipples are very sore, or are cracked, bruised or bleeding there is something wrong. Almost always, sore nipples are caused by improper positioning of the baby at the breast. Click here to learn on how to get the best position and latch for breastfeeding.

Other causes of sore nipples include: 1) engorgement; 2) incorrect use of a pump; 3) pacifiers or bottles causing your baby to have nipple confusion and therefore breastfeeding incorrectly; 4) yeast infection; or 5) removing baby from breast without first breaking the seal by inserting your finger in the corner of her mouth.

Taking the baby off the breast is a last resort. There are lots of ways to treat sore nipples:

  • Nurse on the least sore side first or only nurse from the least sore breast for part or all of the day if you are able (check diapers to be sure baby is getting enough milk).
  • Experiment with different positions, some will be less painful than others.
  • Try short, frequent feedings to encourage a less vigorous suck.
  • Apply freshly expressed breastmilk to your nipples (if a yeast infection is not present).
  • Expose your nipples to air as much as possible.
  • Use a nipple ointment, like pure lanolin, after breastfeeding and do not wash it off.
  • Do not wash your nipples frequently. Daily bathing is more than enough.
  • Apply a warm, moist compress to your nipples (if a yeast infection is not present).

If you are unable to breastfeed at all because of pain, in spite of trying all the above methods, try taking a short (2-5 day) break from breastfeeding to allow the nipples to heal. During this time, it is best for you and the baby if the baby is fed your expressed milk (click here for information about pumping and bottle feeding). That way you can keep your milk supply up and continue breastfeeding once your nipples have healed.

Category: Breastfeeding