When you have had your first baby and start breastfeeding, some nipple pain is normal. You may experience slight discomfort when your baby latches on or when breast milk starts to go down. This mild pain is common and should go away over time.
Breastfeeding should become more comfortable as the weeks go by. Obviously this is not always the case. Sometimes, the pain gets worse, with fissures, and your nipples can become sore. Unfortunately, sore nipples are a common breastfeeding problem.
In this article
- Breastfeeding nipple pain: the causes
- Take care of your breasts
Also Read: Nipple Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Remedies
Breastfeeding nipple pain: the causes
Breast pain when breastfeeding can develop for many reasons, including incorrect latching to the breast, not using a breast pump properly, or an infection. So, once you have them, sore nipples can lead to difficult suckling, low breast milk production, or early weaning. So, if possible, you can try to prevent sore nipples before they even start. Here are some ways to prevent nipple pain.
Make sure your baby latches on well
A good latch is one of the keys to successful breastfeeding and also helps prevent nipple pain. When your baby latches onto your breast correctly, he will have the entire nipple and part of the surrounding areola in his mouth. Your nipple should be deep in your baby's mouth. If your newborn is only latching on to the nipple, his gums will press on it as he tries to get the milk. When it sucks only your nipples, it can therefore cause pain. It can also lead to an always hungry baby as your baby won't get much milk.
Breastfeed in a good position
A good breastfeeding position will be comfortable for both you and your baby and will encourage proper suckling. It may also be helpful to use a nursing pillow and a nursing stool. These breastfeeding accessories lift your knees and bring your baby to breast height. It is easier to get into a good breastfeeding position when you lift the baby as you don't have to bend over. Bending over is uncomfortable and can strain your back, arms, and neck. You can also alternate the breastfeeding positions you use with each feed. When you always breastfeed in the same position, your baby's mouth always puts pressure on the same point as the nipple.
Soften your breasts so your baby can latch on
Breast engorgement is common during the transition phase of breast production that you will most likely experience in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. However, your breasts can also swell if you miss a feed or if you have an overabundant supply of milk. When your breasts become swollen and hard, it is difficult for a newborn to latch on. To make it easier to latch on, you can remove some breast milk before each feed to relieve tension and soften the breast tissue. When your breasts are softer, it is much easier for your baby to form a good seal. And, as mentioned before, a good closure helps prevent nipple pain.
Feed your baby every 2-3 hours
Newborns have tiny stomachs and digest breast milk quickly and easily. So, it's no surprise that they need to eat often. The longer you wait to breastfeed, the hungrier your baby will be. And, when a baby is very hungry, he may have more aggressive sucking. If you wait too long between feedings, your breasts can swell making it harder for your baby to latch on. The combination of a bad latch and aggressive sucking can quickly lead to sore nipples.
Take care of your breasts
When you wash your breasts, rinse them with warm water and avoid using harsh soaps that can dry, irritate and crack the skin of your breasts and nipples. Also, you don't need to use any creams, ointments, or lotions to try to prevent nipple problems before they start. Many over-the-counter products aren't helpful. In fact, they can make sore and sore nipples even worse.
However, if you already have dry, cracked nipples or if you live in a dry climate, you may benefit from a nipple moisturizer. There are some products such as medical lanolin or multipurpose nipple ointment that are soothing and helpful.
Change your nursing pads often
It may be difficult to do, especially if you are one of the many women who suffer from a lot of discharge, but try to keep your breasts, bra, and pads clean and dry. She wears a clean nursing bra every day and changes it whenever she gets wet or dirty. If you wear breast pads, try not to use products with plastic or waterproof linings as they retain moisture. Instead, choose washable and reusable nursing pads made of natural materials or disposable, breathable, absorbent and comfortable pads. Whether you prefer reusable or disposable nursing pads, be sure to change them often. The growth of bacteria or fungi can cause the skin to break and lead to sore nipples or a breast infection.
Article sources: kidshealth.org, NHS