Nipple pain in the early days of breastfeeding is common, but it’s not necessarily normal. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. There can be a number of reasons for nipple pain, from ineffective or improper latch, anatomical reasons, the fit between mom and baby or infection.
What is normal?
In the beginning, there may be slight, fleeting discomfort when you and baby are getting used to breastfeeding. This discomfort should not last more than 10-20 seconds after latch, should not continue throughout the feeding and should not be present in-between feedings. Typically, this initial discomfort peaks around 3 days and should be gone within 2 weeks while your body is getting used to breastfeeding.
When should I get help?
If you have any of the following symptoms, seek help from an IBCLC:
You dread feeding due to pain;
Pain that lasts throughout and between feedings;
Damaged nipples, including cracks, blisters or bleeding;
You feel pain during feeding and your nipple appears misshapen, flat or creased after a feeding.
A plugged duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed. You may feel a lump or have an area that is more tender. This area will often feel more tender or painful before a feed and softer or smaller after a feed.
Why do I have plugged ducts and what should I do?
Recurrent plugged ducts can be due to the your breast not fully draining due to oversupply, baby’s oral anatomy or gestational age of baby. See an IBCLC if you are getting recurrent plugs.
Continue to nurse or pump frequently to drain breast.
Warm water soak in sink or warm compress before nursing.
Massage breast in warm water or bath.
Express milk frequently to empty breast. Always start on side with the plug.
Massage from the plug toward the nipple and use breast compressions.
Castor oil compress.
Cold compresses between feedings.
For recurrent plugs, use lecithin as directed on bottle. (Note: sunflower lecithin is not GMO.)
Avoid tight bras/carrier straps that put pressure on duct.
Rest, adequate fluids and good nutrition.
You may express stringy, clumpy or thick milk as plug comes out. Baby can ingest these strings (It’s just thicker milk – less liquid). Mom can have tenderness for several days after plug is gone.
If your plug becomes more painful, hot to the touch, or you develop a fever or red streaks on the breast, you may have mastitis and should call your healthcare provider
Breast Care Resources
Order online or stop into our Retail Store for one-on-one help from one of our expert Retail Mavens. Some of the products we recommend for breast care are:
Soothies Gel Pads
Medela Soft Shells
Motherlove Nipple Cream
Pumpin Pals flanges for your breast pump
Classes and Groups:
Breastfeeding Group - Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays at 1pm
The mama 'hood offers professional support through the breastfeeding experience from the early days well into toddlerhood. Breastfeeding Group is intended for breastfeeding or pumping mamas who are seeking breastfeeding support as well as a sense community.
Social connection is one of the primary goals of this group.
Mamas are encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences.
We will do a pre and post feed weigh in for your baby.
One of our mama 'hood IBCLC's will facilitate the group. Should you need additional support unique to your particular situation, our IBCLC will help direct you towards the proper level of support (Feeding Clinic or Private Consult).
New Mamas Group - Mondays at 1pm
This is a drop-in support group open to mamas with new babies... nursing or not, bring your little or come solo. A great place to connect with other moms in community and get support.
Private Consults: Our expert lactation team is thrilled to work with moms, babies, and families to meet their breastfeeding goals through in-office, in-home lactation or Skype consults. To schedule a consult, call the front desk at 303.643.5662.