Treating Sore Nipples When Breastfeeding
In the early weeks, many mothers experience some tenderness at the beginning of a breastfeed. Soreness that continues throughout the feed or extends beyond the first week is not normal. If your nipples are sore or painful, there are many reasons why and it is important to get skilled support and assistance to identify and resolve the cause of your nipple pain.
The most common cause is baby's positioning and attachment to the breast may need adjustment. With the right assistance and support, this breastfeeding challenge can often be sorted out so you and your baby can begin a comfortable breastfeeding journey.
The first step is to ask your midwife, public health nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or local Breastfeeding Support Volunteer to initially get a history of your baby's feeding and then to assess your baby's positioning and attachment to your breast and observe your baby breastfeeding. The above health care professionals (HCPs) will help you to take corrective action, if needed, for you and your baby to get a wide, deep, comfortable attachment and will also give appropriate advice on the care of your nipples.
If there is another reason for your nipple soreness your midwife, public health nurse or IBCLC will discuss the reason with you and will refer you if necessary to another health care professional.
There are a number of factsheets for HCPs on www.breastfeeding.ie. These factsheets provide helpful evidence-based information for HCPs on specific breastfeeding challenges including nipple pain and breastfeeding. Included in this fact sheet are the causes, symptoms and management of specific conditions which cause sore nipples.
‘Every Breastfeed Makes a Difference’
Breastfeeding can be a learned skill for mothers and babies and may take time and patience. There is plenty of help and support available for you and your baby.
This article has been sponsored by the HSE. Go to the HSE website www.breastfeeding.ie for more information on breastfeeding and answers to common questions. There is also the Ask Our Expert facility where you can email your question regarding breastfeeding to the online Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) or alternatively you can chat online with the IBCLCs using the webchat facility.