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Sore nipples breastfeeding. Causes and remedies for breast pain and sore nipples.

Sore nipples breastfeeding represents one of the major causes of interruption of the infant's breast feeding. Let's look at the causes of breast problems while breastfeeding, how to prevent sore nipples and the remedies for happy breastfeeding.


Sore nipples breastfeeding.
Sore nipples breastfeeding.

Sore nipples breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is an all-encompassing and very satisfying experience for a mother; feeding your baby, skin-to-skin contact and looks of complicity are one of the most beautiful experiences in life. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not always so easy, especially if the new mother does not receive adequate support and knowledge on how to correctly latch the baby to the breast. In the initial phase of breastfeeding, nipple discomfort may occur such as:

  • Reddened nipple;

  • Hot nipple;

  • Sore nipple,

  • Swollen nipple

  • White nipple;

  • Hard nipple;

  • Sore nipple

  • Cracked nipple;

  • Red nipple.

In all these cases, breastfeeding becomes painful and can be accompanied by internal and intermittent twinges in the breast. Nipple pain causes difficulty in breastfeeding the baby due to the excruciating and prolonged pain that the mother feels during the feeding, so much so that it is often decided to stop feeding the breast especially between the third and sixth day after delivery. Difficulty breastfeeding her baby generates frustration, the nurse feels guilty for not being able to breastfeed her baby, and the infant finds it difficult to feed. Well mom, let's break down the causes of breastfeeding nipple pain.

Causes of painful breastfeeding

Breastfeeding pain can have several causes, and all of them are solvable. In most cases, the basis of pain and inflammation in the nipples is:

  • incorrect attachment to the baby's breast

  • a wrong position with which the infant latches on to the breast.

It is also important to understand when stern pain occurs.

  • The pain in the breast before latching on is due to milk secretion which presents with a sensation similar to pricks and pins.

  • Breast pain after the end of the feed indicates that the breasts are preparing for the next feed (the breasts are filling again)

These pains described are transient, you just need to make small corrections during latching on the breast or between feedings. It should be emphasized that if the intense, stinging and burning chest pain is persistent, the cause could be due to canker sores, thrush or other infections that pass from the baby's mouth to the nipples

Correct latch of the baby to the breast for breastfeeding nipple pain

Breastfeeding your baby takes time, patience and perseverance. You cannot think of wanting to breastfeed your baby by doing other things, flying or in uncomfortable positions. To breastfeed, the mother must sit with her back well supported and relaxed. The position of breastfeeding is crucial.

Breastfeeding positions

A correct attachment of the baby to the mother's breast is also essential to avoid sore nipples.

  • The baby must stand in front of the mother's chest with the ear, shoulder and hip aligned.

  • The baby's mouth must be open in order to allow both the nipple and part of the breast areola to enter.

  • The suckling's lips must be turned outwards without bending the lower lip which, if continued, could create friction abrasions and pain for the mother.

Nipple pain develops if the baby is unable to suckle well, in fact a common mistake is to offer only the nipple in the baby's mouth, instead the correct positioning must be performed by offering all the nipple and part of the areola. To avoid inflammation and pain in the nipples, the baby's mouth must be aligned with the nipples, preventing portions of the mother's breast from bumping into the baby's palate, creating crusts and swelling. Nipple pain can be caused by continuous negative pressure, for example, if the baby falls asleep with the breast in his mouth. Reddened, chewed, cracked and painful nipples are the consequence of a bad attachment of the baby to the mother's breast which generates pain.

breastfeeding nipple pain from incorrect attachment to the breast

It should not be forgotten that an incorrect attachment to the breast slows down the production of milk since only a correct sucking of the baby stimulates the milk sinusoids that are located under the areola of the breast. Incorrect latching to the breast causes both pain for the mother and frustration for the baby. The problem of nipple pain is overcome by placing the baby with as much areola in the mouth as possible and manipulating his lower lip with the fingers in case he bends before starting the feeding.

Breast pain from milk secretion

The pain from milk discharge presents as painful punctures in the breast. Milk secretion is an absolutely normal phenomenon that signals the release of milk from the ducts that produce it. The discomfort from milk secretion is felt as a tingling or sting that is accompanied by a sensation of heat. Breast pain from milk secretion is most intense in the initiation of breastfeeding and can also occur several times in the same feed. The good news is that it subsides once breastfeeding has started. Stress, anxiety, fatigue and alcohol use inhibit the secretory reflex of milk and therefore breast pain caused by milk secretion may recur.

Vigorous feeding and nipple pain

Nipple pain is most intense in the first few minutes of a feed as the milk release reflex takes a few minutes to activate. The sore nipple could also be the consequence of a vigorous feeding especially at the beginning of breastfeeding in which the nipple is not yet accustomed to the discomfort of sucking.

The red and sore nipples appear in the first 3-6 days from the start of breastfeeding but gradually diminish as long as there is a correct sucking position.

Inverted nipple and breastfeeding soreness

Inverted nipples are nipples which, instead of hardening by pointing outwards, re-enter the breast tissue. The first few times the baby tries to latch into an inverted nipple it may cause irritation to the tissue surrounding the nipple; in these cases there is nothing to worry about, it just takes a little time and perseverance for the nipple to come out with the pressure of the suction. If the pain is very severe, a nipple shield can be used.

Remedies for sore cracked nipples

Have you always dreamed of breastfeeding but sore nipples stop you? You will see that these discomfort will soon disappear, the nipples strengthen quickly, usually within two weeks of starting breastfeeding. Here are some tips to get some relief while the nipples adapt to your baby's needs.

Make sure the baby is latching onto the breast correctly

A correct attachment avoids breast pain. Make sure that the baby has both the nipple and part of the areola inside his mouth during the feeding. If you only suck on the nipple you will feel pain.

If your breasts are swollen with milk

If the breasts are too full and swollen before attaching the baby, let some milk go down manually or take out some milk with the breast pump before feeding in order to facilitate the ejection of the milk.

Change your breast attachment position often

Changing the breastfeeding position at each breastfeeding prevents the same part of the breast from being compressed, but if you change position at each breastfeed a different part of the breast will be compressed avoiding redness and inflammation.

Change breasts with each feed

Do not favor one breast over the other, use both. If one breast hurts more than the other, try using both of them every time, starting with the one that hurts the least, since at the beginning of the feeding the sucking is more vigorous. If both nipples are sore, start with the one that feels fuller.

Ice the nipples before latching on the baby

In the first days of breastfeeding, ice packs can be made on the nipples and on the areola for a few minutes before feeding in order to favor the erection of the nipples and desensitize the part in the initial phase of the infant's sucking.

Leave your breasts uncovered

After each feed, expose your sore and cracked nipples to the air for a few minutes, but avoid direct sunlight on the nipples. Pay attention to underwear, avoid rough clothing and use soft and breathable bras

Beware of milk absorbing cups

Change your milk pads often so that leaks don't leave your nipples moist and easily prone to irritation. Make sure the cups do not have plastic liners or pads that create a warm, humid environment that facilitates bacterial infections.

Wet your nipples with a drop of milk

At the end of the feed, drop a drop of milk and pass it all over the nipple. Breast milk contains a high concentration of fats that fight infections.

Let it air dry and put on the bra only when the nipple is totally dry.

Wash your nipples with water only

Aggressive soaps, alcohol and sanitizing products further irritate the delicate skin of the nipple. Cleanse your breasts with water only and pat dry with a soft towel.

Apply a tea bag to the nipple

Apply a tea bag left to infuse with hot water for 3-5 minutes on the nipple. After the first three minutes of infusion, tea releases tannic acid which helps thicken the nipples. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties contained in the tea are useful for calming discomfort and the heat is soothing and promotes healing

Creams to relieve breast pain in breastfeeding

For sore and inflamed nipples, creams that fortify the skin of the nipple and at the same time soothe the pain are of particular help. But be careful, only products suitable for breastfeeding should be applied to the nipple and never petroleum-based products such as vaseline, cocoa butter and oil to lubricate the nipples as they interfere with skin transpiration and prolong the inflammatory phase. For severe nipple inflammation, products that require rinsing before breastfeeding should be avoided due to the irritation that continuous washing produces. Here are the creams for you that help heal cracked and inflamed nipples.

Nipple cream Vea oil

Vea oli is the perfect ally against cracked and inflamed nipples from breastfeeding, in fact, if applied regularly it has a protective and soothing action. The edibility of vea oil, being pure vitamin E, allows it to attack the newborn after applying the cream, creating a real protective barrier. A product that if you try it you will never leave it, because it is useful for all skin affections.

Nipple cream Azulenal

Azulenal is an ointment that has been used since 1945 and has been the most used cream in the world by breastfeeding mothers ever since. It is excellent for the prevention of nipple pain, breast infections and mastitis inflammations. The active ingredient, guaiazulene is extracted from the eucalyptus tree, famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. Being totally natural, it does not require rinsing before attaching the baby to the breast.

Nipple cream Purelan medela

Purelan Medela cream is based on lanolin, a natural substance that protects and strengthens breastfeeding nipples. Lanolin is a fatty substance obtained from sheep's wool with waterproofing and protective functions. Suffice it to say that sheep's wool protects animals from bad weather and external attacks.

When to contact the midwife?

If the nipple pain does not go away and is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Temperature;

  • Asthenia;

  • General malaise;

  • Patchy red breasts;

  • Excessive bleeding from the nipples

  • Mouth ulcers in the baby's mouth.

It is advisable to consult the midwife to ascertain the presence of infections, mastitis or other diseases of the breastfeeding breast.

Breast pain and thrush

In some cases, breast pain is caused by a fungal infection. If you notice white patches on the inside of the baby's cheeks, it is probably "candida albicans" that has passed from the baby's mouth to the nipple. Thrush needs therapy, therefore it is advisable to consult your pediatrician or midwife. Dear mom, I hope I have been of help, choose the best treatment and if you need other advice write me in the comments, I will be happy to answer you. Don't forget to subscribe to the blog to always have new and updated baby care content.

Mammamather pocket obstetrician

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