Home Remedies for Sore Nipples Due to Breastfeeding

Mother breastfeeding child
A proper latch prevents sore nipples. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

While breastfeeding shouldn't cause pain, tell that to a mother with cracked, bleeding or painful nipples. This condition is likely caused from adjusting to a new nursing baby or improper positioning, which are circumstances you can correct. But in the meantime, you need some relief from your sore nipples.

Breastfeeding Technique

To ease and prevent sore nipples, position the baby correctly when breastfeeding. Use pillows, if needed, to help with correct positioning. His lips should lie flat on your breast and turn out, while his chin presses on your breast. Breastfeeding on the least sore side first allows you to switch him to the sore breast during let-down to relieve the pressure without letting your baby breastfeed as long on the sore side. Place your fingers between his lips to break the suction before you pull him off the breast to prevent him from placing the sore nipple between his lips.

Moisturizing

When the nipples dry out, they may crack, causing soreness. Keep the nipples moisturized by expressing a small amount of breastmilk and applying it to your nipples before and after a feeding. Air dry the nipples after a feeding and refrain from washing them often since water can dry them out. Applying a medical-grade lanolin can help painful, cracked breasts heal quicker, but it will need to washed off before your next feeding, according to FamilyDoctor.org.

Warmth

Placing a warm compress on your sore nipples before each feeding can soothe them. You can do this by placing a washcloth moistened with warm water onto your breasts. Alternatively, you could soak your nipples in warm water while taking a bath or run warm water over them in the shower.

Warnings and Suggestions

If you experience severe pain, ask your doctor if it's safe to take an over-the-counter analgesic to relieve the pain. With your doctor's okay, take the analgesic about 30 minutes before each feeding to offer the most relief. If your breasts have a thick, yellow discharge, you may have an infection; contact your physician for treatment.

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