Experiencing nipple soreness? Unfortunately, many moms struggle with breastfeeding and sore nipples at some point in their breastfeeding journey.
Nursing is not supposed to hurt. However, in the first few weeks, an improper latch can cause pain if not corrected. Sometimes a tiny adjustment of positioning or latch is all that is needed to get you to painless breastfeeding. For help getting the proper latch…
How to Relieve Sore Nipples from Breastfeeding
We feel your pain….sometimes literally!
You’re going through the motions of postpartum bleeding, sleep deprivation, and perhaps a case of the baby blues. Do you really have to worry about sore nipples, too? It’s common to experience minor soreness when you first start to breastfeed, but that pain should go away within a few days. If you experience pain that lasts longer or is so severe that you can barely tolerate feeding your baby, it’s time to get to the root of the problem and find some fast relief.
Identifying the Cause of Sore Nipples
According to the La Leche League, you can’t relieve sore nipples until you identify the cause and make a correction to your feeding routine. This makes sense because some of the most common causes of sore nipples are issues involving the latch, positioning, or sucking behaviors of the baby.
If you can pinpoint one of these issues, you can make a simple change that ends the pain permanently. That’s much better than continually seeking relief due to an ongoing problem. You also have to consider that if something is hurting you, it may be causing your baby some discomfort as well. To help pinpoint the problem, consider some of the most common causes for sore nipples while breastfeeding.
- The position in which you’re holding the baby to the breast is causing some type of distress for your breasts. Try different positions to see if it feels more comfortable during the feeding session, and wait to see if changing it up results in less soreness between sessions.
- Your baby isn’t latching properly. Experiment with ways to encourage your baby to open his or her mouth wider so that they achieve a more comfortable grip on the nipple. This will also help your little one receive the amount of breast milk that he or she needs to thrive while reducing frustration for you both.
- Your breasts are sensitive, and your little one has a powerful suck. You may want to alter your feeding schedule so that your baby feeds for less time but more frequently. It’s likely that your breasts will adjust with time, and your baby may relax that suckling motion as they grow. While breastfeeding is often awkward at first, you will get into a rhythm that works well for you and your baby.
- You’re causing trauma to your nipples when pumping breast milk. Positioning the pump on your nipples correctly is just as important as putting your baby in the property feeding position. You may also experience pain if you need to adjust the settings on the pump or if your nipples need a different size flange.
- Your breasts are becoming painfully engorged, which may translate to nipple soreness or pain. You can try hand expressing some milk before feeding your baby, or you may benefit from adding a breast pump to your feeding schedule.
If your breasts are more painful than sore or the problem continues even after you correct the position and latch of your baby during feeding sessions, there are some less common causes that may apply. You may want to work with a lactation specialist or your doctor to pinpoint the problem and apply treatment as necessary.
The longer you accept the soreness, the more likely the problem is to worsen. Some causes of pain could interfere with your ability to breastfeed long term, so seek help if you think there is a bigger problem.
How to Find Relief
Fast relief for sore nipples often comes in the form of a moist, warm cloth. While some women are convinced that tea bags are more soothing, the La Leche League warns that tea is a natural astringent that may cause cracking and other problems. It’s best to stick with a simple wet rag so that you don’t make the problem worse.
You may also want to order some nipple cream or balm designed to soothe your nipples between feedings. Don’t try to cut corners by using lotion or other products not made for breastfeeding mothers because you don’t want your baby to ingest chemicals that aren’t safe for consumption. Some of the most highly recommended products are as follows:
- MotherLove Nipple Cream. Mothers appreciate that this cream is certified organic and is made with cruelty-free standards. The ingredients are natural, so you never have to worry about passing it on to your baby. It works for cracked nipples as well as minor soreness.
- Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve. This formula is made with all-natural ingredients and includes no preservatives. Lasinoh is one of the most trusted brand names in the baby industry, and many lactation consultants recommend their products.
- Mama’s Natural Nipple Butter. Calendula is the star ingredient in this organic butter that quickly soothes, nourishes, and moisturizes stressed nipples. It is free of lanolin and is clinically tested for safety.
It also helps to protect your nipples from rubbing against clothing by wearing soft nipple shields. You may also find nursing pads comforting because they’re soft and help reduce pressure on your nipples when you lean up against something.
Maybe There is Some Thrush Too?
If you have been breastfeeding for some time without pain and suddenly are experiencing pain and soreness, there is a good chance your are experiencing symptoms of thrush.
Tips To Relieve Soreness:
No matter what the cause of your nipple soreness, your nipples will need to heal. Here are some things that you can do to help encourage the healing process:
* Breastfeed your little one often. Aim for every two hours. This will help keep your baby from getting really hungry which may lead to aggressive and vigorous sucking.
* Express your breasts before each feeding. The goal here is to start your let down so that your baby does not nurse aggressively in order to increase the milk flow.
* Breastfeed on the least sore side first. This way by the time your little one won’t be sucking as hard by the time he gets to the sorest breast.
* Apply warm, moist compresses (wet washcloth works well) both before and after each feeding.
* Consider wearing breast shells inside your bra to protect your nipples as they heal.
Hang in there, Mama!
Many moms experience nipple soreness from time to time. Don’t worry. Take some of the steps above to fine the cause and treat the pain… then you will get through it in no time!
- Most Common Breastfeeding Problems and Challenging Situations and Solutions
- Is My Baby Latching Properly?
- Recognizing Thrush Symptoms When Breastfeeding (and Treatment Options)