If your nipples are sensitive or tender, try these solutions.
Soon after your baby's birth, your nipples may be sensitive or tender as they adjust to breastfeeding. If you are having lasting pain or soreness, or if your nipples are sore, cracked, blistered, or bleeding, talk to a WIC breastfeeding staff. Our experts can help you feel more comfortable.
Causes of Nipple Pain and Solutions
|Baby's latch and positioning. If your baby isn't positioned well, you may have soreness and pain over time.
- Check baby's positioning and latch. If your nipple is pinched, flat, or a different shape than usual after you breastfeed, you may need to adjust baby's latch. Visit your WIC breastfeeding expert for help. If you are in pain while breastfeeding, gently break the latch by inserting a clean finger into the corner of your baby's mouth. Then try again.
|Nipple trauma. This may come from not releasing suction before removing your baby from your breast. Pumping with the wrong-sized flange, cleaning your breast too much, or wearing clothing that is too tight may also cause it.
- Remove the baby by gently breaking your baby's latch by placing a clean finger in the corner of your baby's mouth.
- Avoid using harsh soaps or ointments that contain astringents (like a toner) on your nipples. Washing with clean water is all that is needed to keep your nipples and breasts clean.
- Ask a WIC breastfeeding expert for help with determining the correct size flange.
|Fungal infections. If your nipple itches, burns, cracks, or is pink or flaky, or you have shooting pain deep in your breast between feedings, you may have a fungal (yeast) infection called thrush. This infection can also cause white spots on your baby's cheeks, tongue, and gums.
- If you think you have thrush, use only water to rinse your nipples after nursing. Then see your doctor or your baby's doctor right away. Both you and your baby will need to be treated for thrush.
- If pain persists, see your doctor. You may have an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.
|Milk blister. A milk blister, or bleb, is a smooth, shiny, white dot on your nipple.
- Warm washcloth compresses, massaging and expressing some milk may help relieve it. If the bleb doesn't go away, contact your WIC breastfeeding expert or doctor.
When to Get Help
Remember, you don't need to breastfeed with pain! Talk to your WIC breastfeeding expert for help with sore nipples.