What Can I Do to Prevent Sore Nipples?
December 28, 2015
Sore nipples are a common ailment for many breastfeeding moms. While the condition may be uncomfortable, it’s not usually anything to worry about and the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh these potential ailments. There are breastfeeding resources and products that you can utilize to make sure that any pain you’re having is normal and you can have peace of mind and know what to do to ease your discomfort safely.
What Kind of Pain is Normal?
When you first begin breastfeeding, you may experience some mild pain or discomfort, especially while your baby is learning how to latch on correctly. Most of the time, this pain is doesn’t last long and isn’t unbearable but that doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. You can expect some measure of soreness in your nipples or pain in the breasts, especially when you first start out.
- Once your baby knows how to properly latch on[interlink to article ‘Top Techniques to get your newborn to latch-on], you may feel a small amount of pinching or pain for the first few seconds but it should not last throughout the entire feeding.
- Over the first two weeks of breastfeeding, you may experience some engorgement of the breasts as your milk production increases and the first milk let downs may be a mildly painful.
- Soreness without breaks, cracking or bleeding is normal. The nipple should look the same at the end of the feeding as it did at the beginning.
What Kind of Pain Indicates Problems?
At no time during breastfeeding should experience lasting pain, anything excruciating, or breaks, bruising, cracking, or bleeding and if you do experience these things you should not “just suffer through it.” Your breastfeeding resources (such as a lactation specialist or a doula) will be able to help you figure out what’s wrong and prevent it from happening again.
- Pain that lasts throughout an entire feeding or in between feedings may indicate clogged ducts that could lead to mastitis and then thrush. This can be prevented by frequent nursing or pumping if your baby won’t nurse as often as you need.
- Extreme soreness, cracking, bruising, and bleeding may occur due to anatomical issues with your nipples like inverted nipples, flat nipples, or other such things. Soreness may be eased with a good nipple cream and your lactation specialist can help you teach your baby to latch on correctly even if you have anatomical issues.
- A rash on the nipple or areola is not something to be ignored and could be indicative of thrush or food allergies. These can be remedied with elimination dieting and probiotics. Utilize your breastfeeding resources such as a good nutritionist to prevent this from occurring.
How Does This Education Prevent Sore Nipples?
Nipple cream will only go so far and it’s mostly used to soothe already sore nipples. Educating yourself about what kind of pain to watch out for is the best way to prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort while breastfeeding. When you know what to look for, you’ll know if that soreness or pain you’re feeling is something to worry about and you won’t panic when you feel something a little off.
There is Always a Solution
There is a solution to every breastfeeding problem that causes sore nipples and knowing what those solutions are ahead of time will help you prevent severe soreness and utilize your breastfeeding resources in the most efficient ways possible. This endeavor will take a lot of work, energy and commitment and preventing sore nipples is only the beginning. Remember the benefits of breastfeeding and why you made this choice for yourself and your baby so that when you do experience some soreness in your nipples, you know what to do instead of feeling like you should give up. The most important of the breastfeeding tips anyone can give you is that: never ever give up!