Sore, painful or even cracked nipples are a common reason why a new mother may stop nursing her child. With the right kind of help and support you can often avoid or remedy problems. Our IBCLC lactation consultants weigh in on with tips to help you.

Why and when breastfeeding results in sore nipples

When breastfeeding you may feel strong sensations as your baby begins to nurse, but pain when breastfeeding isn’t okay. Often nipples become sore within 3-7 days of the start of breastfeeding, usually because your baby isn’t positioned or latched quite right.

Arizona Department of Health Services offers a 24-hour Breastfeeding Hotline 1-800-833-4642.You may have seen a lactation consultant in the hospital or birth center and talked about latch, but a few sleep deprived days into motherhood and it’s easy to forget and important to check in and review if you are having some difficulty. If one or both nipples begin to crack or bleed seek help as soon as possible. The lactation consultant can help you correctly position baby.

If your baby doesn’t seem settled after a feed, or your nipples are flattened or white these maybe signs that baby isn’t latching effectively.

SoreNipplesTMC

What can you do at home to prevent and treat sore nipples?

  • Check Latch on and positioning with an IBCLC.
  • Nurse on the side that is least sore side first, if possible.
  • Apply warm, moist compresses to your nipples after feedings, this is comforting and removes residue of milk and bacteria before applying ointments.
  • Try hand expressing a little breastmilk and applying to your nipples to soothe the nipples and reduce the chances of infection (human milk has antibacterial properties.)
  • Try keeping nipples covered with a medical grade (100% pure) modified lanolin ointment or hydrogel dressing to encourage cracks to heal without scabbing or crusting. Gently blot off nipple with warm compress before applying any ointments.
  • If your breasts are overfull, hand express to soften areola prior to feeding baby.
  • Call Breastfeeding Support Program ( 324-5730) for other tips on nipple healing.
  • If pumping make sure you are using the right size flange and pressure. Pumping should not be painful.
  • Don’t do the following

  • Don’t apply moist tea bags to the nipples. This folk remedy has shown to have an astringent effect that may promote drying and cracking.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer on sore nipples. This promotes drying and further cracking.
  • Don’t stop breastfeeding
  • Resources at TMC for Women

    TMC offers outpatient breastfeeding support services, whether you deliver at TMC or not. 1. Free weekly breastfeeding support group for new moms. Hosted weekly by a certified lactation consultant. Classes are held every Monday from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Canyon Room.
    2. Outpatient consultations with an IBCLC-certified nurse (by appointment only)
    For more information on any of these services, please call 324-5730

    Tucson Medical Center has the unique status of being the only hospital in Southern Arizona to receive the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Care Recognition Award for its stellar support programs for nursing moms. Tucson Medical Center strives to promote healthy families in all ways possible. With what we know about breast milk and immunity, we encourage mothers to breast feed. The lactation consultants of TMC for Women provide exceptional support in establishing a satisfying, sustainable nursing relationship whenever possible.