Many moms say that their nipples feel tender when they first start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should feel comfortable once you and your baby have found a good latch and some positions that work.
What you can do?
A good latch is key
So visit the follow your baby’s lead section for detailed instructions. If your baby sucks 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. Then try again to get your baby to latch on. (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.)
It shouldn’t be painful
If you find yourself delaying feedings because breastfeeding is painful, get help from a lactation consultant. Delaying feedings can cause more pain and harm your milk supply.
Try changing positions each time you breastfeed
The breastfeeding holds section describes the various positions you can try.
Help cracked nipples stay moist so you can continue breastfeeding
Try one or all of these tips:
- After breastfeeding, express a few drops of milk and gently rub the milk on your nipples with clean hands. Human milk has natural healing properties and oils that soothe.
- Use purified lanolin cream or ointment that is especially made for breastfeeding.
- Let your nipples air dry after feeding, or wear a soft cotton shirt.
Ask an expert before using creams or pads
Get help from your doctor or lactation consultant before using creams, hydrogel pads (a moist covering for the nipple to help ease soreness), or a nipple shield (a plastic device that covers the nipple while breastfeeding). In some cases, you should not use these products. Your doctor will help you make the choice that is best for you.
Avoid tight bras
Don’t wear bras or clothes that are too tight and put pressure on your nipples.
Change nursing pads
Nursing pads are washable or disposable pads you can place in your bra to absorb leaks. Change them often to avoid trapping in moisture.
Avoid harsh soaps or ointments on your nipples
Especially the ones that contain astringents (like a toner). Look for labels on products that instruct you to remove them or to wash the area before breastfeeding. Washing with clean water is all that is needed to keep your nipples and breasts clean.
Use non-aspirin pain relievers if needed
If you have very sore nipples, you can ask your doctor about using non-aspirin pain relievers.