How To Deal With Sore Nipples
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience, but it’s not always smooth sailing. If you’re experiencing pain while breastfeeding, there are a few possible reasons:
- You may have an infection in your breast or nipple
- Your baby’s latch is too shallow or too deep, causing nipple damage
- You’re trying to get your baby to latch on with the wrong approach (i.e., if they’re latched on incorrectly). You may be experiencing a type of nipple sensitivity that’s common in breastfeeding moms.
The most basic problem associated with breastfeeding is having sore nipples. First time moms will get sore nipples, but even experienced moms will get them too. What causes it? There are probably many reasons why a person can get sore nipples, but for a new breastfeeding mom, there are two major causes.
If your baby is not latched on properly, he may gnaw your nipples or try to clamp down on them because he is trying to get some milk. In order to avoid the problem with sore nipples, you should pay special attention in getting Baby latched-on properly. Even if it takes you 4 or 5 tries, you must try to get a good latch-on in order to save yourself misery later on. If you cannot get there, talk to a lactation specialist or contact your local La Leche League.
Too Long Nursing
Even if you have a perfect latch-on, you will likely still get sore nipples simply because you’re not used to having a baby at your breast for so long. A newborn can nurse 10 to 12 times a day. Later, your baby can be on the breast 6 to 8 times a day for 20 to 40 minutes (each breast). That adds up to approximately 120 minutes per breast per day! This is compounded by the fact that your breasts may feel like they will explode because they are engorged. Needless to say, most women will experience some level of sore nipples.
Sore Nipples – Solutions
For the most part, the only way to resolve the problem with sore nipples is time. As time goes on, your breasts will “toughen up” and they will get used to their new role as provider of food. Other thing that might help is:
- Feed your baby using different holds. If you’re experiencing soreness or pain while feeding, try changing positions—you might find that being upright makes it easier on both of them. Try leaning back against something (like a couch or chair) with pillows stuffed behind your back so that gravity helps keep you upright and supported. You could even try putting one leg up on a stool or ottoman if standing up isn’t an option for whatever reason (for example: if it hurts too much).
- Keep your nipples dry in between feedings. You can air dry them by walking around with no clothes (in the privacy of your home, of course). Do not use a hair drier – it is too harsh and will over dry.
- If your shirt or bra chafes your nipples, wear a breast shield (also called breast shells).
Some women let the sun shine on their breasts to toughen up the nipples. You can do this by standing by a window where the sun is shining in. You don’t want a sun burn so don’t over do it: a few minutes per day is enough.
- During breastfeeding, hand express a little bit of milk and save it. When your baby is finished nursing, rinse your breasts with water, allow to dry, and then dab on some of the saved breast milk. Breast milk has amazing healing properties and is a natural moisturizer.
- If you’re having trouble with your latch, try using a nipple shield. This will help make sure that your baby is getting plenty of milk while protecting her delicate mouth from the breast tissue or nipple. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the shield, but once it does, it should be much more comfortable for both of you.
- Use some special tools to ease the pain
If none of these actions help and you are suffering greatly from sore nipples, applying a cream with lanolin may give you some relief. Be sure that it is purified because some forms of lanolin are contaminated.