How to Treat Sore Nipples

6/26/2018

When breastfeeding, your nipples and breasts go through a lot. And especially in the first few days, while you and baby are still learning, you may experience sore nipples from pumping or nursing. But don’t worry – this doesn’t last forever! Use these tips to help prevent and treat sore nipples.

Preventing sore nipples

  • The key to curbing nipple pain is a good latch. That means the nipple and a large mouthful of the breast needs to be pulled deeply into the baby’s mouth. If you’re not sure if you’re achieving this, work with a Lactation Consultant who can help you and your baby find the right positioning.

  • Watch for hunger cues and breastfeed often. This will prevent vigorous nursing that may irritate your breasts more. You can also hand express or pump some breast milk before putting baby to the breast so that the milk is flowing faster and baby doesn’t nurse as hard at the beginning of the breastfeeding session.

  • When you’re finished nursing, gently break the suction by putting your finger between baby’s gums and holding it there as you are removing him from your breast to prevent pulling on your nipple.

Treating sore nipples

  • A cold washcloth applied to nipples for about 10 minutes before breastfeeding may help provide some breastfeeding pain relief.

  • Begin breastfeeding on the least sore side first so that your baby’s initial, stronger nursing causes less discomfort. By the time you switch sides to the more sore breast, baby will usually suck more gently.

  • After a feeding, soothe sore nipples by rubbing lanolin or some of your own breast milk on them. If there is a break in the skin, hydrogel pads can provide immediate cooling relief and aid in tissue healing.

  • Breast shells can allow air to circulate and protect nipples from brushing against clothing between nursing or pumping sessions.

  • If your nipples are bleeding or cracking, ask your healthcare provider or a Lactation Consultant for help.

Many moms experience nipple soreness at some point on their breastfeeding journey, but breastfeeding shouldn't hurt! Use these tips, and ask for advice from a lactation expert if you need it so you can continue providing your baby the amazing benefits of breast milk for as long as you choose.

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