Sore nipples are one of those taboo topics it seems. No one wants to talk about it, for fear it will scare moms away. The reality is that sometimes things don’t go as planned and some pain can be a part of the process. Here are some tips for dealing with and overcoming sore nipples.
1. Check your latch. The biggest cause of nipple pain is an incorrect latch. Make sure your baby has a wide open mouth. You can encourage a wide mouth by rubbing your nipple on the baby’s philtrum, or the area between their lip and their nose. This will usually cause the baby to open their mouth and reach up to latch on to whatever was stimulating them. Now is your chance to get that baby on the breast well.
2. It’s all about position. For some babies and moms, their anatomy makes one position more comfortable than another. If a baby is having a hard time making a seal, or regulating milk flow, using a football hold is probably not the best idea. Make sure you bring the baby to the breast, NOT the breast to the baby. Bringing the baby so that you are tummy to tummy, with your nipple lined up just between their mouth and nose can make the difference for many moms.
3. Make sure they get some air. If your nipples spend all day either in your baby’s mouth, or against a wet nursing bad they will become irritated. Make sure they are getting some fresh air, maybe even some sunlight if you live someplace where that could be a reality. Just make sure your nipples have a chance to breathe as much as they can.
4. Ask for help. If all else fails, find a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She can help take a look at your breasts and your baby and figure out if your issue is one of the common ones above, or if you need specialized care to improve your situation.
Did you deal with sore nipples? What helped you?