When Your Nipples Need Band-Aids: A Breastfeeding Problem

In the old days, mothers were told to tighten their nipples to avoid pain when the baby began to breastfeed. Once it was rubbed with a cloth, it was pumped and even rubbing alcohol was used to harden the nipples.

The number one reason a woman has sore nipples is poor positioning and grip, not lack of preparation. The baby may not be turned towards the mother or the baby’s mouth is not on the nipple but on the tip of the nipple. Some babies come to the breast with a wide mouth. But, throughout the feeding, it slowly slides towards the nipple.

Another reason for sore nipples may be that the mother feels exhausted and doesn’t think she can deal with one more thing, including sore nipples. Pain with the latch is not normal and should be treated. The sooner the mother solves the problem, the sooner she can breastfeed without pain.


o Whatever position the mother wants to try, the baby’s body should turn towards the mother. Make sure the baby’s bottom is tightly closed too.

o You want to have a breastfeeding pillow or lots of pillows so that the baby’s nose is level with the nipple. The baby cannot latch on properly if he is sliding down.

o When a baby is skin-to-skin with his mother, the baby instinctively knows what to do. Not only will the baby wake up faster, but he will breastfeed more efficiently. If your baby is fussy and flapping his arms, wrap him snugly to help calm him down.

o Wait for the baby to open his mouth. You want the mouth to be wide, like the baby is going to eat a large double cheese burger. If the baby just wants to open up as much as if he were eating a small hamburger, he should wait. Hold the baby close to the nipple and hold the baby’s head with one hand and hold your breast with the other hand and tease the baby with your nipple. Move the nipple from the baby’s nose to the chin in a straight line. If the baby opens wide like that double cheeseburger, put it on the breast quickly. If he doesn’t, you should repeat this until he does.

o Make sure you support your breast correctly. Hold your chest in position C. Place your four fingers completely under your breast and lift them up. With your thumb, you place it on the top line of your areola. You don’t want to have your fingers near the nipple. Your fingers will look like you’re holding that double cheeseburger.

o Sometimes women may feel discomfort during the first 10 seconds of a feed. This can be normal. However, if the pain continues during feeding and / or the nipple looks like a

ski slope after feeding, then it is necessary to evaluate the latch and positioning. Go back and follow the instructions listed above.


o With improved latch

o Wet curing is preferred.

o Express your colostrum by its antibiotic factors.

o Nipple ointments, for example Lansinoh or Purelan

o Soothies or other gel pads that are placed over the nipple

o Alternate between ointments and gel pads for soothing relief

o Air dry

Please be patient during this time. If you need more support, find your nurse, a Doula, Le Leche League, or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

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