Sore nipples are often the reason women give for stopping breastfeeding, which
is such a shame! It is fairly common but so easily prevented or treated with
the right advice. It is almost always caused by poor positioning and attachment
of the baby, if you are unsure about the way you are feeding, especially if
it is painful, ask your midwife to observe a feed and give you some advice to
limit any damage that might otherwise be caused. Try to spend some time fixing
your baby on well before you let them start to feed, pain is an indication that
you should reposition.
If you do experience soreness then try experimenting with different positions
at each feed to allow them to heal. It is quite a new sensation to have baby
suckling and some women have very sensitive nipples. Try to just persevere for
a while until you get used to the feeling of the baby feeding. After the initial
attachment you shouldn’t be in pain.
There are many different lotions and potions available but you need to look
for a pure nipple cream (which can be left on while feeding) to treat nipples
that are tender but not cracked. Alternatively breastmilk itself has its own
incredible healing properties and rubbing a little milk into your nipple at
the end of a feed works wonders! Sometimes just removing your bra, resting on
the bed or couch with your breasts ‘exposed’ to the properties of
the air can be a very effective healer of sore nipples.
Discuss it with your midwife and remember to feed throughout the treatment,
unless it is REALLY painful. In this instance you can express milk from the
affected side (which keeps up your milk supply) until it is more comfortable
and then gradually begin to re-introduce the feeds. You might find it sore initially
to attach, but persevere! Once your baby is feeding well in the correct position,
your nipples will soon heal!