If you are a new breastfeeding mom that means you will have to deal with sore nipples. It is surely a normal part of nursing but that does not mean you just have to put up with the pain. It is normal to have sore nipples in the first week as the baby latches onto your breasts for the first time. The thing that is not normal is having pain which lasts throughout the feeding.
Causes of Sore Nipples
For any mother, it is extremely important to be knowledgeable about the cases of sore nipples. The most frequent cause is an incorrect position of the suction. After 2 to 4 days of childbirth, the nipples of a mother start getting tender as she begins feeding. The early sucking stretches the nipples and areolar tissues. This is temporary tenderness and it will go away if you position the baby well at the breast. It will diminish once milk starts coming down. If the baby is not latching properly, he/she might pinch the nipple to reduce or stop the airway from forceful milk ejection reflex. The baby might even pinch or irritate the nipple. Read more about the causes of the sore nipples here.
Remedies for Reducing Pain
If the supply of milk is low or the breast has become hard to draw because of engorgement, the baby will be sucking harder to get the milk. This effort of the baby can even cause blistering. Don’t worry; there are remedies for sore nipples as suggested by Medela.
- If the pain is occurring because of low supply of milk or engorgement, then treat these issues first.
- Gentle cleansing can help too. If there are any cuts on the skin surface, then this remedy will be best. Use non-antibacterial soap for washing your nipples.
- As your milk starts coming out, it will give a soothing effect to sore nipples.
- If because of breastfeeding, the pain becomes unbearable, you can use a breast pump and do hand expression to provide milk for the baby until you are healed.
- If the skin from the nipples is broken, then they can become infected. Mostly, health care providers suggest topical medication for getting rid of the problem but if you get mastitis, you might have to take oral antibiotics.
- If you are experiencing sore nipples because of vigorous sucking of the baby, then it is recommended to breastfeed frequently so that the baby gets enough supply of milk and he/she is not hungry all the time.
Is Nursing Still Recommended?
The big question is if the nipple soreness does not go away, should you still nurse? One way of getting rid of the pain is to let the milk come down. However, you don’t have to suffer just to feed your baby. It is best to see a lactation consultant as he might be able to tell what’s wrong and fix the nipple soreness for you. Feeding the baby is necessary but not at the cost of serious pain.