Pain during breast-feeding is a sign of a problem and should not be ignored. Although sore or tender nipples are common during the first few days of breast-feeding, it should improve. Normal soreness or pain usually occurs for about a minute when the baby first latches on to the breast. Pain that is severe or continuous or that occurs again after it seemed to resolve is a sign of a problem and should be corrected. Other problems may include cracked, bleeding, or bruised nipples.
Sometimes sore nipples develop when the baby begins to suck harder because he or she is not getting milk quickly. This often is caused by:
Sore nipples and breasts may also result from:
Be sure to contact your doctor or a lactation consultant if you continue to have sore, red nipples after trying home treatment for a day or two.
If your nipples are cracked or bleeding, it's okay to continue breast-feeding your baby. To help relieve your discomfort, use the care tips given above. Call your doctor or a lactation consultant if you find it too painful to breast-feed or if you've tried home treatment for 24 hours and it doesn't help.
Watch for signs of infection, such as a fever, flu-like symptoms, or a painful area on the breast that may be reddened, warm to the touch, or both.
Call your doctor now if you have:
Call your doctor today if you have:
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2012). Care of the newborn. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 7th ed. pp. 265–319. Elk Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Lawrence RM, Lawrence RA (2009). The breast and physiology of lactation. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 6th ed., pp. 125–142. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
- Pessel C, Tsai MC (2013). The normal puerperium. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology, 11th ed., pp. 190–213. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Mary Robbins, RNC, IBCLC - Lactation Consultant
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
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