Are you experiencing painful or sore nipples while breastfeeding your newborn?
From sore nipples, to engorgement, to clogged milk ducts, many moms run into issues during their breastfeeding journey. We asked our Tinyhood Certified Lactation Expert to break down what's normal pain, what's "more than normal", and 8 pro tips for how you can relieve your sore nipples.
What’s “Normal” Nipple Pain?
- Described as soreness
- Lasts for the first few seconds when baby initially latches, and then subsides
- Peaks around day 3-6
- Nipple skin is intact
- Nipple is round when baby unlatches
What’s More Than “Normal” Nipple Pain?
- Described as “pain"
- Continues throughout the entire nursing session
- Continues past the first week
- Nipples are cracked, bleeding, and/or blistered
- Nipple is flattened or compressed when baby unlatches
What can you do to relieve sore nipples?
1. Hand express some colostrum, apply to nipple and let air dry.
2. Apply pure lanolin to nipples (this is safe for baby).
3. Use breast shells - they allow air to circulate but keep clothing from rubbing on nipples.
4. If latching is too painful, consider pumping or hand expressing every 3 hours instead. This will protect your milk supply and provide colostrum/milk for baby while you heal/seek help.
5. Continue to ensure baby’s latch is as deep and comfortable as possible each and every nursing session. Prevention is the best treatment for sore nipples!
6. As a temporary measure, you can try nursing with a nipple shield. NOTE: Lactation professionals have very mixed feelings on using shields. But, if it enables you to continue breastfeeding until you are able to address the cause of the nipple pain (usually a latch issue) then the pros outweigh the cons for many new moms.
7. Seek help! Get personalized assistance from an experienced/certified lactation consultant who can help with baby’s latch and rule out a tongue tie.
8. If nipple trauma is significant and not healing, you may need to call your OB/midwife for a prescription ointment.
Looking for more breastfeeding advice? Our online course Breastfeeding 101: From Prenatal Prep to Pumping is taught by a leading Certified Lactation Consultant. Watch this course on your own time, and get handy checklists and pro tips to refer back to at any time. You'll learn how to troubleshoot common challenges, how to tell if your baby is getting enough breastmilk, and how to pump / build a milk supply.