Breastfeeding Issues: Sore Nipples
The baby's mouth should open wide, taking in a large mouthful of breast tissue covering most of the areola; his chin should be pressed into the breast, so that more areola shows above his upper lip than below his lower jaw. Make sure to bring baby to the breast rather than the breast to the baby. The baby's lips should be flanged out and relaxed. His body should be tucked in close to the mother, with his chest, tummy and feet pressed into the mother's body. The baby's head should directly face the mother so that he doesn't have to turn his head or bend his neck. A pillow under the baby will help keep baby at breast level without straining your arm, shoulder, neck or back muscles.
Once latched on properly, the baby will suck quickly for a short period of time to stimulate milk release; once your milk lets down, you usually can hear audible swallowing every one or two sucks. Breastfeeding should continue even when you are experiencing sore nipples; delayed feedings may cause engorgement, which makes it more difficult for the baby to latch on and increases the problem.
Some ways to treat this breastfeeding issue include:
- Breaking suction by slipping your finger into the corner of your baby's mouth before taking baby off the breast.
- Offering the least-sore breast first
- Applying pure modified lanolin to nipples
- Using only plain water to wash the nipple and areola (Soap can dry the skin and exacerbate the cracking.)