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How do you avoid getting sore nipples?

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!

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