(Kingsville, Ontario, Canada)
My son has been successfully nursing for 6 months. This week his suck seems stronger than normal and my right breast, not just nipple area, is getting sore. Is this normal? I would think not but can’t seem to fix it. I checked his latch, it seems right, or as right as it ever was. What could the issue be?
As well, last week he did not release when he was startled by something. My right breast nipple has been torn a bit from my breast. I have been putting lanolin on it directly after each nursing and trying not to let him nurse often from this side. Will this heal? Do I have to discontinue nursing for this to happen?
Breastfeeding Magazine Response:
Don’t worry. Your breasts will heal. It will just take time.
However, if your nipples continue to be sore, you may want to consider visiting a lactation consultant. You may benefit from some expert assistance in fixing the cause of the soreness.
Until then, help your nipples rest by trying the following:
- Try varying breastfeeding holds and positions. Adjusting your position from one feeding to the other changes the pressure points on your areola and your nipple during breastfeeding.
- Feed before he is really hungry so that his nursing is less urgent. Short and frequent feedings are easier on your breasts than longer breastfeeding sessions that occur less often.
- Try a nipple shield for a little while. These are soft, flexible silicon artificial nipples that fit over your own nipple and areola areas. Your little one will suck on the shield to nurse. Nipple shields can ease the pain cased by stronger sucking and can also provide a temporary solution to some latching problems. This is not a long term solution, though, because it may decrease the amount of milk flow over time.
- Pump for a break. You may want to try feeding your son on the other side and use a low suction to pump the sore breast for a couple days to give it a chance to heal.
- Consider other problem causes. If after trying everything else and your nipples still are tender, you may have a yeast infection. Sore nipples, like yours that appear after months of successful breastfeeding are almost always due to yeast issues.
If the pain persists, it is worth a call to your doctor.