Sore nipples are the result of a poor latch. Most women may have some baseline nipple tenderness after delivering their babies due to hormonal changes. Add on top of that eight to 10 nursing sessions a day, and that tenderness may turn seriously sore!
If your nipples are reddened, cracked, bruised, or even bleeding—get help! This is not a normal part of breastfeeding. The best cure for sore nipples is correcting the latch! But if you have reached the point of more than normal discomfort, try the following.
Sore nipple remedies:
- Work with a lactation consultant to fix the latch.
- After nursing, rub some colostrum or breast milk onto your nipples and allow to air dry.
- Change your breast pads between feeds so your nipples are not constantly wet.
- Make sure your bra is comfortable and not too tight, which can further irritate your nipples.
- Apply a lanolin-type nipple ointment sparingly to nipples after nursing.
- Start nursing on least sore side first.
- Try a hydro gel pad specifically made for sore nipples, which is worn over the nipple and areola and held in place by your bra. (Follow directions on package for use.)
- Vary your positions for feeding: cradle, football, side lying.
If these methods don't help, your lactation consultant may recommend the following sore nipple treatments:
- Rest your nipples and pump for a day or so to allow healing if the cracking or soreness is severe
- Use a nipple shield—a thin, silicone artificial nipple that fits over your nipple. It may take the edge off the discomfort of latching and feeding with sore nipples. (This should be used with the guidance of a lactation consultant to insure that Baby is getting enough milk and not causing further damage to your nipples.)