Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 11:07 am

The most important thing to remember with breastfeeding is that it should not hurt.

Initially moms may find that nipples are tender at the start of feeds for the first few days, however if this continues it may need further attention. If attachment to the breast is correct and the baby is feeding frequently, then nipple soreness can most definitely be avoided.

What can be causing your sore nipples?

Although nipples may become sore from improper feeding practices, there may also be other reasons:

  • Broken skin surrounding the nipple may be due to poor attachment
  • Red, shiny, itchy, flaky, loss of pigmentation on the skin may be a sign of Candida
  • The nipple or breast can have dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions

Treat the cause

You can heal and prevent sore nipples by simply treating the cause. Whether the cause is Candida or poor positioning and attachment, there is no need for the mom to stop breastfeeding.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Comfort measures

While nipples are healing there are a few comfort measures that can be taken:

  • Apply expressed breastmilk to nipples after breastfeeding to lubricate and soothe
  • Apply a warm, wet cloth to the breast before feeding to stimulate the letdown reflex
  • Begin each feed on the least sore breast
  • Gently remove your baby from the breast if he or she has fallen asleep during feeding
  • Wash nipples once a day rather than at every feed
  • Avoid using soap on nipples as this removes natural oils

No matter how sore your nipples are, don’t give up breastfeeding

The abrupt cessation of breastfeeding due to sore nipples may result in engorgement which will make attachment harder. With incorrect attachment the removal of milk from the breast is decreased which has a direct influence on milk production. Unfortunately, limiting the frequency or length of feeds will also not help your sore nipples.

Expressing milk and finding the cause of the sore nipples is vital to maintain successful breastfeeding practices.