Sore Nipples From Breastfeeding? Here’s What You Can Do

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This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. Please review my full Disclosure Policy

Breastfeeding is a beautiful experience and an excellent way for mom and baby to bond. However, the truth is, it’s not always sunshine and roses when you decide to breastfeed your child. One of the problems that might discourage moms from giving their child what’s referred to as “the liquid gold” is pain from sore nipples from breastfeeding.

What are sore nipples and why do they happen while breastfeeding? Before you stop breastfeeding your kid altogether, understand that it’s common for new moms to experience nipple soreness while breastfeeding. Usually, this results from an incorrect position or latching by the child. Correcting this will reduce and eventually eliminate the pain.

As a breastfeeding mom who direct fed her child from 0-3+ years, I would say it’s the best decision I’ve made as a mother. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing because of sore nipples, among other things. In this article, you will learn all about why you get nipple pain and some tips on how to remedy it so you can continue on with your breastfeeding journey.

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How Do Nipples Become Sore During Breastfeeding

They say breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, and if it is, then something may be wrong and it should be addressed right away. As a new mom back then, I knew I have done it wrong the first few days – which is absolutely normal.

Sore and tender nipples are something you should expect but also know that it will improve in no time. The first time your baby latches on to your breast, you will feel pain and soreness. But it could also be caused by various reasons – the most common of which is improper positioning or wrong latching.

The most common cause of sore nipples is wrong latching.

Just because you did a lot of research on breastfeeding before your baby was born doesn’t mean you’ll get it perfectly the first time. Breastfeeding is a journey and one that requires practice. To make sure your baby gets the milk he/she needs and to avoid nipple soreness, see to it that the baby has the correct latch.

The baby’s latch on the breast should be deep so that he/she gets the most from the breast. A common mistake is to think that breastfeeding involves only the nipples when in fact, it should involve the areola. The baby should be sucking the breasts from the areola – not a shallow suck from the nipple.

Other causes of pain on the nipples include:

How long will nipples stay sore when nursing?

Sore nipples from breastfeeding are commonly experienced as you start your breastfeeding journey but this will usually resolve on its own after a few days. In most cases, the nipple soreness will be more pronounced around the fifth day since you first started breastfeeding.

If it persists for more than a week, it’s best to seek the help from a lactation consultant.

Can I still breastfeed with sore nipples?

This might easily be one of the questions you will ask yourself. Many times I have doubted if I should continue on or just have the Mr. Dad buy a formula, because I have to be honest – it was agonizing.

I don’t meant to scare any moms who have plans of breastfeeding; it’s the exact opposite. Go for it! But just to give a heads up, it can make you rethink. But in the end, it will be the best choice you’ll ever make because of the plentiful benefits of breastfeeding.

There are tips on how to remedy sore nipples from breastfeeding

Even with a sore nipple, I was still able to breastfeed the little man. I even had a cracked and bleeding nipple but I still went at it. I can say I have a pretty high pain tolerance to be able to go at it even if it hurt like hell. And of course, that’s not to say I didn’t get any soothing relief from nipple creams, which came in handy at that time.

But unless you correct the latch problem, you’ll always find that breastfeeding is a chore and a pain in the head.

What Helps Sore Nipples When Breastfeeding

The good news is that you can do something to care for your breasts while nursing. You just have to make your nipples remain moisturized. Below are some tips on caring for sore nipples:

  • When cleaning breasts, rinse nipples with warm water.
  • avoid using harsh soaps that can easily dry out the skin on your breasts, including the nipples. A good rejuvenating and hydrating soap will help.
  • protect your nipples more while breastfeeding by not pulling your baby off the latch. Instead, insert a finger on the side of your baby’s mouth to break the suction.
  • Use nipple creams – they help. I used them, specifically Medela Purelan Lanolin Cream, which a friend gave to me. Worked wonders in soothing the pain.

Using Nipple Creams for Sore Nipples

Nipple creams are usually acquired OTC, but there are cases where it can be given as a prescription medication meant to treat more serious infections on the nipple. If you simply have cracked and bleeding nipples from a poor latch, OTC preparations will work. You don’t have to worry about your baby ingesting the cream though. Most nipple creams are formulated to be safe for ingestion and are made with natural, hypoallergenic ingredients.

Many nipple cream brands are made from medical-grade lanolin, but there are also others that don’t have lanolin in them. Both of them don’t need to be washed off before offering your breasts to your baby. Below are some of the recommended nipple creams on the market.

  • Motherlove Nipple Cream – this works not only as a soothing relief for cracked and dry nipples but also as a lip balm or lubricant for your breast pump. Motherlove Nipple Cream is plant-based and does not contain lanolin.
  • Earth Mama Nipple Cream – another lanolin-free, naturally vegan product great for both mommy and baby. This soothing and moisturizing nipple cream is made organically from calendula.