Soothing Tender Nipples

Most breastfeeding moms will have some nipple tenderness in the first days or weeks of feeding. It doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong in your new breastfeeding relationship, but it can be uncomfortable. 

Here’s how to soothe your nipples:

  • Air them out as much as possible—don’t put a shirt or a bra back on for at least 20 minutes after a feeding, whenever possible

  • Use nipple cream: Lanolin is a common option to soothe sore nipples, but there are many different types available these days. Try a few and see what may work for you.

  • Use breastmilk: A little bit of breastmilk rubbed into your nipples may help them feel better, as well. Breastmilk is antimicrobial.

  • Apply cool compresses: A cold washcloth or a refrigerated gel pack may feel amazing, especially if your breasts are hot from engorgement

If your nipples are cracked, bleeding or otherwise injured, a nipple shield may be useful for a few feedings. This can protect your nipples and allow them the chance to heal on their own, without direct contact from your baby’s mouth. Breast shields or silver nipple cups (placed in your bra) can also provide a lot of comforts.

In time (usually with two weeks or so), the pain from feeding should subside. If your nipples are still painful, see a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding support person. Sometimes, a quick position adjustment or other simple tip is all that is needed to make breastfeeding pain-free.

See also ... 

•  Coping with breast engorgement

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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