Did you know nipple tenderness is common for the first 7-10 days and peaks between day 3-6? If you are experiencing nipple pain after 14 days this is not normal and you should seek help.
Actually the most common reason for sore nipples or damaged nipples is your baby latching incorrectly at the breast. Sounds simple right? Just fix the latch but although breastfeeding is natural it is a learned skill and it can take some time to get the hang of it. In the early days it is important to get your LMC or LC to check your baby’s mouth and the latch to ensure there is no other cause for the pain. As mentioned the most common cause is poor positioning or attachment but there can be other causes such as anatomical issues like tongue ties, or infection, thrush, milk blebs, raynauds to name a few.
Working out the cause is REALLY important as this can help determine how to correct the pain.
Here are some tips to help:
- Ensure you are getting a deep latch - aim nipple to nose, chin to breast 2. Use nipple cream after each feed in the early days - think of it like a lip balm for your nipples.
- Latch your baby, then count to ten - if the pain persists, break the seal and relatch.
- Trust your mama instinct if it doesn’t feel right, try again!
- Different feeding positions - if you are bigger breasted the football hold works well.
- Offer your baby a feed when they start showing early hunger cues. 7. When breaking the seal insert a clean finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth before removing them from the breast.
- Your nipple should look the same shape when it comes out of your baby's mouth as before you start the feed. If your nipple is mishapen and looks like a lipstick try for a deeper latch.
- Change your breast pads regularly to keep nipples dry.
- Wear a good fitting bra.
- If you are using a breast pump - pump on the lowest setting possible to get milk.
- Avoid nipple shields for sore nipples - these increase your risk of blocked ducts and mastitis.
- If you are finding latching unbearable, ask for help and consider resting your nipples for 12-24 hrs to allow them to heal. You can use a breast pump during this time to maintain supply and feed your baby your expressed breastmilk.
Breastfeeding with a cracked nipple is often painful and cracked nipples may bleed during breastfeeds. Although bleeding looks scary and blood may sometimes show up in your baby’s bowel motions or vomit, it is not harmful to your baby. It is quite safe for her to keep breastfeeding.