One of the most common reasons mothers quit breastfeeding is because of sore or cracked nipples. Breastfeeding is not meant to hurt. There may be some nipple tenderness after birth but this should get better each day.
If your baby is positioned and latched properly, breastfeeding should not be painful. Having a good latch will help you make enough breast milk and help your baby to breastfeed well. It will also prevent pain when breastfeeding.
Get off to a good start!
Make sure your baby is latched properly. Check that your baby’s:
- mouth is opened wide
- lips are curled out
- chin is pressed into your breast and your baby is sucking and swallowing breast milk
Make sure baby is positioned properly. Check that your baby’s:
- head and body are raised up to your breast
- head is at the level of your breast
- chest is facing your tummy
- mouth is facing your nipple
- express some breast milk onto your nipples and the dark area around them (only if there is no nipple damage or thrush) to help protect the skin
- let the breast milk dry before putting on your bra
If you want to take your baby off your breast, break the suction by:
- slipping your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth OR
- pulling down on your baby’s chin
General breast care
Rinse your breast with water only and air dry. Avoid using soap on your nipples. Soap may dry your nipples and cause them to crack. Wear a bra that fits well and is not too tight. Avoid wearing a bra with underwire.
Get help right away if your nipples are still painful after checking that your baby is latched and positioned on the breast properly.