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To help relieve sore nipples:

  • Feed your baby often - don't put off feeds
  • Before feeds:
    • Make yourself comfortable and relax, remembering your ante-natal exercises.
    • Massage your breasts gently.
    • Apply warmth to your breasts - warm shower, warm face washer.
    • Express some milk to soften the areola, to get the milk flowing and to lubricate the nipple. For pain relief, try applying a covered block of ice to the nipple, or ask your medical adviser about other alternatives.
  • During feeds:
    • Offer the less sore side first.
    • Make sure baby is properly positioned at and attached to the breast. (See diagrams below, description of positioning in Increasing Your Supply Feature and refer to an ABA counsellor).
    • Try different feeding positions.
    • If you wish, restrict comfort sucking while nipples are tender. Gently break suction with clean finger before removing baby from the breast.
  • After feeds:
    • Check your nipples for signs of stress.
    • Express a few drops of hindmilk and smear on the nipple. Leave your bra open for a few minutes until nipples are dry.
    • Keep nipples dry. Change nursing pads frequently. Consider washable nursing pads if disposable ones are chaffing.
    • Use breast shells or nipple protectors over tender nipples to stop clothes rubbing and allow air to circulate.
  • Avoid:
    • Using anything on your nipples which is drying or which may damage nipple skin (e.g. tinct benz co., methylated spirits, soap, shampoo, harsh towels, toothbrushes, etc.).
    • Wearing poorly-fitted bras and plastic-backed nursing pads.
    • Using suction breast pumps.
    • Using nipple shields.

See your medical adviser if soreness persists.

cracked nipples

  • Follow the suggestions for sore nipples while continuing to feed your baby particularly with regard to correct positioning and allowing air to circulate around your nipples.
  • If it is too painful to feed, take the baby off the breast temporarily to rest the nipple and allow healing to begin.
  • Express by hand (not pump) to keep the milk flowing and to keep up your supply.
  • Feed the expressed milk to your baby.
  • Start feeding again gradually, with short feeds spaced out during the day.
  • See your medical adviser if healing is slow or you need pain relief.
  • If all else fails try a nipple shield. (Use with supervision)
Sleepy/Tired Supply Engorged Sore Attachment Problems Refusal Expressing Feeding 24/7 Can't Explain