Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding Challenges (cont.)
Many moms report that nipples can be tender at first. Breastfeeding should be
comfortable once you have found some positions that work and a good latch is
established. Yet it is possible to still have pain from an
abrasion you already
have. You may also have pain if your baby is sucking on only the
Ask a lactation consultant for help to improve your baby's latch. Talk to
your doctor if your pain does not go away or if you suddenly get sore nipples
after several weeks of pain-free breastfeeding. Sore nipples may lead to a
breast infection, which needs to be treated by a doctor.
What you can do
- A good latch is key, so visit the Bringing your baby to the breast to latch
section for detailed instructions. If your baby is sucking only on the nipple,
gently break your baby's suction to your breast by placing a clean finger in the
corner of your baby's mouth and try again. (Your nipple should not look flat or
compressed when it comes out of your baby's mouth. It should look round and
long, or the same shape as it was before the feeding.)
- If you find yourself
wanting to delay feedings because of pain, get help from a lactation consultant.
Delaying feedings can cause more pain and harm your supply.
- Try changing
positions each time you breastfeed. This puts the pressure on a different part
of the breast.
- After breastfeeding, express a few drops of milk and gently rub
it on your nipples with clean hands. Human milk has natural healing properties
and emollients that soothe. Also try letting your nipples air-dry after feeding,
or wear a soft cotton shirt.
- If you are thinking about using creams, hydrogel
pads, or a nipple shield, get help from a health care provider first.
wearing bras or clothes that are too tight and put pressure on your nipples.
- Change nursing pads often to avoid trapping in moisture.
- Avoid using soap or
ointments that contain astringents or other chemicals on your nipples. Make sure
to avoid products that must be removed before breastfeeding. Washing with clean
water is all that is needed to keep your nipples and breasts clean.
- If you have
very sore nipples, you can ask your doctor about using non-aspirin pain