Is it normal for my nipples to hurt?
Sore nipples are common with breastfeeding.
But breastfeeding should not hurt.
And the skin on your nipple should not break down any more than the skin anywhere on
your body should break down. Mild soreness or sensitivity is fairly common for the first
week or 2 of breastfeeding. Then it should go away.
What are some possible causes of sore nipples?
If latching is painful or your
nipples or areola feel bruised, it’s likely related to an incorrect latch-on process or
ineffective sucking. It may be a problem with your baby’s latch or sucking if your
nipples become very red, raw, blistered, or cracked. A latch or sucking problem or a
structural issue in the baby’s mouth might result in nipples that look creased or turn
white at the end of feedings.
When nipples get red, burn, or feel
very sore after weeks or months of pain-free breastfeeding, it may be due to an allergic
reaction or type of infection. A type of yeast infection called thrush may appear as
white patches in the baby’s mouth. Or it may show up as a bright red diaper rash.
Certain medicines are needed to treat yeast and other infections or allergic reactions.
Contact your baby’s healthcare provider for more information and treatment.
What should I do to treat my sore nipples?
Keep your nipples hydrated by
using coconut oil, petroleum jelly, or lanolin, or your own breastmilk
Wear a loose-fitting bra and clothes
Change nursing pads often to keep them clean and dry
Use only a mild soap and water to clean your breasts and nipples
Change positions each time you nurse
Certain creams or dressings may
promote healing. Others can actually cause more damage. These should be used carefully
under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Also, don’t use any harsh soaps or
chemicals that might result in drying the nipples. This may lead to cracking of the
Finding the cause of sore nipples
can be hard. Talk with your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for an
evaluation and suggestions on how to resolve the problem.