One of the main issues of lactation is nipple soreness. But sore nipples are expected in the first phase of breastfeeding. However, this condition should get better over time without further issues and not become a chronic aspect.
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Why nursing mothers experience sore nipples?
Sore nipples are normal as your body, especially your breasts, gets used to milk production. You might experience mild pain or soreness as your baby starts nursing, which is also a normal part of the latching phase.
But once your baby is past a few minutes into eating, both the pain and soreness should disappear or decrease significantly to a point to which it doesn’t create discomfort anymore.
If you feel constant pain and breast soreness as a nursing mother, you should definitely talk to your doctor and find the appropriate treatment.
Symptoms of Sore Nipples
Sore nipples don’t come only with soreness but also a certain level of pain. This pain could be mild or severe. Also, your breasts might feel tender and uncomfortable as well as engorged.
These symptoms can vary in intensity, and you should talk to your doctor if they persist. In typical cases, all these side effects of breastfeeding disappear as your baby starts to adjust to latching correctly and your body gets used to nursing and producing milk.
This could take a few minutes every time you nurse your baby for the first month of breastfeeding. But as the weeks go by, you should notice a significant alleviation of such symptoms.
How to treat sore nipples?
There are several things you can do to find some comfort when your nipples are sore.
- Pain killers: Your doctor might recommend different pain killers to alleviate your sore nipples discomfort, such as Tylenol. In most cases, you will be advised to take these pain killers about half an hour before starting nursing your baby. Read the instructions of such medicine and don’t take anything without talking to your doctor or lactation specialist first.
- Make sure your baby latches correctly: Babies and especially newborns, might need guidance in terms of latching. Even if this is a natural process, it is still not an easy task for them, and if your baby does not latch correctly for their meal, you will feel all kinds of pains, and your nipples will feel sore.
- Breastfeed first on the less sore breast: On many occasions, only one breast is severely sore, while the other might be mildly sore. So, start nursing with the one that is not so sore. When your baby first latches, the sucking will be more intense, and it could cause more pain if you start with the sorest breast. After a few minutes of nursing, you can switch to the other breast, and by this time, your baby’s sucking rhythm will be steadier and calmer.
While nipple soreness is common during nursing, everything that becomes chronic should be professionally addressed by your doctor.
Left untreated, such a condition can led to complications at the breasts level and for your entire body. Sore nipples could also be a sign of an infection or a more challenging condition.