Sore Nipple Management
For lactation assistance,
please call 760-828-8090
Breastfeeding is meant to be a
comfortable, pleasant experience. Most of us have heard
stories of sore nipples. You can avoid this problem most of
the time. However, many new mothers still find their nipples
are tender for the first few days when the baby starts
nursing. This usually disappears by one to two weeks.
It is important to remember that blisters, cracking, bleeding
and/or pain that continues during or in between feedings is
not normal. Check with a lactation
consultant, La Leche
League, Nursing Mothers' Council, or your health care provider
if you have any of these problems.
To prevent sore nipples, start by making sure baby is properly
positioned while breastfeeding.
To prevent sore nipples, breastfeed frequently, every 1-1/2 to
3 hours (eight to 12 feeding per 24 hours). Keeping your
newborn baby on an artificially longer schedule may make him
frantically hungry and increase the likelihood that too
vigorous nursing will make your nipples tender.
Release the suction before you remove your baby from the
breast. Do this by placing a clean finger in the side of your
baby's mouth between his jaws. Don't take him away until you
feel the suction break.
After nursing your baby, express a little milk and massage it
into your nipples and areola, then air dry. Leave them open to
the air as much as possible.
Never use soap, alcohol or breast creams on your breasts or
nipples. Water is all that is needed to clean your breasts
when you shower or bathe.
If your nipples do get sore, there are several steps you can
take to ease the discomfort. Medela has developed a special
Sore Nipples SolutionsTM kit that contains a
collection of products specially designed to help relieve sore
nipples. This kit, or another of the following methods, can be
used to alleviate discomfort:
- Use deep breathing, soft
music, or other relaxation techniques before and during
- Limit the nursing time on
the sore nipple.
- Nurse on the least sore side
- Express a little milk first
to stimulate let down.
- Massage your breasts while
nursing. This helps stimulate the milk to flow.
- Use non-plastic lined bras
pads. Change the pads frequently to keep the
- If your nipples become dry
or cracked, use a little USP Modified Lanolin such as PurelanTM
100 on them. This forms a moisture barrier so nipples
- If your breasts become
engorged, try expressing a little milk first. Engorged
breasts make it difficult for your baby to latch-on.
Expressing a little milk by hand or pump helps make the
areola softer, nipple more erect and latch-on easier.
- Wear multiple-holed breast
shells between nursings for sore nipples. This allows air
to circulate and protects nipples from further rubbing by
Going Back to Work and
Continue to Breastfeed? Yes, You Can!