Breastfeeding can bring you a deep sense of satisfaction and help you bond with your bundle of joy. But for many women, this happiness comes at a cost. Sore nipples are a common complaint among breastfeeding women, and many experience stinging, itching, and even bleeding during the initial days of breastfeeding.
Sore nipples can limit your ability to breastfeed your baby. Here are a few useful tips to prevent and manage sore nipples while breastfeeding.
How to prevent and manage sore nipples while breastfeeding
1. Apply cool compresses
Cool compresses can help relieve pain and swelling around your nipples after breastfeeding. You can keep hydrogel packs in the refrigerator, or wrap a towel around some ice to use as a cold compress. Apply to the affected area for about 5-7 minutes every 3-4 hours.
2. Use the less sore breast first
Use the breast that’s less sore to start, then switch to the other breast if needed. Because the baby’s first few minutes of sucking are more vigorous, this strategy can help minimize your discomfort.
3. Try to get a proper latch
4. Assist your baby in unlatching
While your baby is unlatching, break the suction first and then pull your breast away from your baby’s mouth. Pulling without breaking the contact between your nipple and baby’s teeth can irritate your nipples.
5. Consult your doctor about tongue-tie
If your baby has tongue-tie, this can increase the frequency of sore nipples. Tongue-tie occurs when the baby’s frenulum (the thin band of tissue that connects the tongue to the lower palate) is absent or too short. Consult a doctor or certified lactation consultant who can help you learn techniques to help you latch your baby properly. Moreover, your baby might need surgery to correct their tongue-tie if it is severe.
6. Sit in an ideal position
You can ask a lactation consultant for recommendations on the best position to assume while breastfeeding. Try multiple positions to find what works for you and allows you to hold your baby properly and make sure they are able to latch comfortably.
7. Release milk from engorged breasts
If you go without breastfeeding for long periods of time, your breasts can become engorged and lead to pain and discomfort when you try to breastfeed again. Try massaging one breast at a time to release milk.
8. Clean and dry your nipples
Wipe your breast with a dry towel after every feed to avoid getting an infection due to the moisture. Fungal infections can also pass on to your baby during breastfeeding.
9. Moisturize your nipples
Excessive dryness can cause your nipples to crack and bleed since the skin around them is so delicate. Apply an over-the-counter moisturizer that is safe for babies. You can try lanolin-based cream that keeps your nipples soft and targets nipple inflammation. Ask your doctor about which one they recommend.
10. Use a good nursing bra
Look for supportive bras that can stretch according to your breast size when you breastfeed. Ask your doctor about the best type of bra for you. For extremely sore breasts, you can try placing breast shields/pads inside your bra to prevent contact between your clothes and nipples.
When to see a doctor
Breast and nipple soreness usually goes away when you use the remedies listed above. But you should talk to your doctor if you develop the following symptoms:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What to Do for Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding Related Articles
7 Signs It's Time To Wean Your Baby from Breast or Bottle FeedingWhen is it time to wean your baby from the breast or bottle to solid foods? Learn how and when to wean your child from breastmilk to formula, and from formula to solid food.
Babies QuizTake the Babies Quiz to learn what milestones and developments you can expect from your baby’s first year.
Baby Starting SolidsThese nutritious foods are great for your baby's first year, and include cereal and baby food. Our experts offer tips on starting solid foods with your baby.
Get the Facts About Bottle FeedingDo you need to warm a bottle? What's the best way to burp your baby? Find out what you need to know about bottle feeding and infant formula.
Breastfeeding (and Formula Feeding)It's important to know whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby prior to delivery, as the breasts' ability to produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth without the stimulation of breastfeeding. Breast milk is easily digested by babies and contains infection-fighting antibodies and cholesterol, which promotes brain growth. Formula-fed babies actually need to eat somewhat less often since formula is less readily digested by the baby than human milk. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of feeding.
Breastfeeding With Rheumatoid ArthritisYou can breastfeed your baby even if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, you must always consult your doctor before you start the process.
Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding ChallengesBreastfeeding an infant can cause common challenges both for the mother an infant. Some challenges include sore nipples, low milk supply, oversupply of milk, engorgement, plugged ducts, breast infection, fungal infections, nursing strike, inverted, flat, or very large nipples, breastfeeding a baby with health problems, and breastfeeding in special situations. Tips and helpful information can inform mothers how to manage and handles these challenges while continuing to breastfeed her baby.
Common Infant IllnessesWatch this slideshow to see common symptoms and home treatment for infant and childhood illnesses including fever, nausea, constipation and more.
Do Inverted Nipples Make Breastfeeding Difficult?Inverted nipples can make breastfeeding difficult for nursing mothers. Learn how to identify an inverted nipple, why inverted nipples can make it difficult to breastfeed, and what you can do to treat inverted nipples.
Infant FormulasThough human milk is the preferred feeding for infants, parents may consider formula-feeding if there is an inadequate supply of breast milk, the baby sucks inefficiently, the parents want to monitor how much the baby is receiving, or the mother is taking medications that are unsafe for the baby and may be passed through the breast milk.
New Parents MistakesParenting a child isn't easy. Explore the top 10 mistakes that new parents make. Discover newborn parenting tips for breastfeeding, learn to deal with crying babies, child's fevers, and more.
Pregnancy: Birthing, Breastfeeding, and Parenting ClassesPreparing for a baby is an important step in parents' lives. Choosing the right birthing class and method (Lamaze, Bradley, etc.) is important for the mother, baby, and father or support giver. Parenting classes are also information for first time parents. Information is provided about diapering, feeding, and bathing your baby as well as the different stages of child development.
Problems When BreastfeedingBreast milk is the best diet for infants. Breastfeeding has several health benefits for the mother and her baby; moreover, it also builds an emotional bonding between them. Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is six months.
What Are Sore Nipples a Sign Of?Most women encounter breast pain, fullness, or nipple pain at some point in their lives. Sore nipples are typically easy to treat, but sometimes, they can be a sign of something serious.