Sore nipples is one of the most common reasons breastfeeding parents stop breastfeeding. However breastfeeding is not meant to hurt. There may be some nipple tenderness in the first week after birth but this should get better each day. Breastfeeding should not be painful when your baby is positioned and latched properly.
If you have pain when breastfeeding check that your baby’s:
- mouth is opened wide
- lips are curled
- chin is pressed onto your breast and your baby is sucking and swallowing breast milk
Look to see how your baby is positioned. 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
To take your baby off your breast, break the suck by:
- slipping your finger into the corner of your baby’s mouth or
- pulling down gently on your baby’s chin
- express some breast milk onto your nipples and the dark area (areola) around it (only if there is no nipple damage or thrush)
- let the breast milk dry before putting on your bra
How to care for your breasts:
- rinse your breasts with water only and air dry. Do not use 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. Do not wear a bra with underwire
Get help right away if your nipples are still painful after checking that your baby is latched and positioned properly.
For more info, talk to a Public Health Nurse (416) 338-7600 or eChat.