Check Up: Cracked nipples making breastfeeding hard


March 05, 2018

Simone is currently experiencing 'cracked nipples', which is making breastfeeding painful and difficult to continue. She would like to continue breastfeeding her first child.

Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt! Poor positioning of the baby's mouth on to the nipple is the most common cause of nipple soreness in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Many times, only a change in the way the baby is positioned on the nipple is all that is needed to make a big difference. The baby should be prevented from latching on to the breasts while they are sore, and breastfeeding the baby more often, every two hours, is one way of preventing them from feeling hungry and 'latching on' to the nipples at feeding time.

To lessen soreness: take a mild pain reliever such as Panadol half an hour before nursing; use the breast pump or hand express the breast milk a few minutes before feeding the baby. This will start the 'let down' reflex so milk will be readily available for the baby on suckling; nurse on the least painful side first, as the baby will nurse more aggressively at the beginning of the nursing session; use warm compresses on the nipples before and after nursing; dry nipples well after breastfeeding; and keep breast pads fairly dry, so change them as soon as they moisten.

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