Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Sore Nipples

Updated on January 25, 2019
Leiahm profile image

I am a mom of four breastfed children! It hasn't always been easy, but it has been worth it.

Sore Nipples Are a Common Problem for New Moms

Getting sore and cracked nipples is very common for breastfeeding moms, especially when you first begin to nurse your baby. It is important to take care of the nipple during this time as it could get worse and cause too much pain to continue breastfeeding.

If you are having problems further out than your first couple of weeks breastfeeding, you might need to see a lactation consultant to make sure the baby has a good latch and is not causing the continued problem. There are many things new moms can do to help.

In this article, I offer tips that have helped me the most in the past with my four children.

Tips for Sore and Cracked Nipples While Breastfeeding

1. Make sure your baby has a good latch.

It Is worth watching videos and reading up to make sure your baby has a good latch. I also recommend you work with a professional lactation consultant if you are having problems with latch. Baby's mouth should open wide and cover much of the areola.

2. Hold your baby in a comfortable position.

Make sure you are holding the baby in a comfortable position and that the baby isn't tugging on the breast while nursing. You should be holding the baby snuggly against you, and baby's head and body should be aligned properly.

3. Rub breastmilk into the areola and nipple.

You can hand express a little bit after the baby is done nursing and rub it in. Breastmilk has many benefits, but most noticeably, it will moisturize and soothe the inflamed skin.

4. Allow the nipple to get dry and "air out" as much as possible.

I recommend cotton bras if needed. If you are wearing breast pads change them often to let the area dry.

5. Apply lanolin to the nipple after feeding.

Lanolin will protect and help keep you skin soft and supple, helping to heal and prevent cracking or further cracking. This stuff really helps!

6. Hand express to preven engorgement.

If you need to give one side a rest, you should still remove milk from the breast to prevent engorgement. Try hand expressing milk from that side or use a pump, but only if it does not cause more discomfort. Hand expressing is the gentlest way to express milk!

If skin is badly broken, see a doctor.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • If your nipples are bleeding when you nurse, this will not hurt the baby, although you may want to seek help from a doctor at this point as you may want use a safe antibacterial cream.
  • You can get a yeast infection on the nipple that could cause discomfort. If you have any symptoms of a yeast infection, you should consult with your doctor.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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