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Breastfeeding: Sore Nipples

What Causes Sore Nipples When Breastfeeding?

Mom and infant.Sore nipples may be the most common problem mothers have when breastfeeding.

Sore nipples may be caused by different things. Treatment depends on the cause, and it is important to find out what the issue is. A certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) or healthcare professional trained in lactation support will be able to help. 

Feeding baby at the breast should not be painful, and the skin on your nipple should not break down. Some mild tenderness can be common in the first week or two. Initial discomfort should then improve. Sore nipples may be from a poor latch or your baby not sucking correctly. The way the baby’s mouth is made can affect the way they suck.

Some moms may start to feel a tingling sensation in nipples and breast after a couple of weeks – this is called the “ejection reflex” or “let down.” This is normal but not everyone experiences it, so don’t worry if you don’t get that feeling. “Let down” is when the milk comes out faster and you will hear your baby swallow more often. This may happen a few times during the feeding.

Last Updated 04/2021

Reviewed By Barb Chaney, MSN, RN, IBCLC