It’s important to ensure your baby is properly positioned for nursing. Improper positioning is one of the biggest causes of sore nipples. You’ll find it helpful to alternate positions with each feeding, since always feeding in the same position can make your nipples sore. It’s best to start with the breast that your baby finished with at the last feeding. Because your baby will typically drain the first breast more completely, alternating allows adequate emptying of both breasts. This is important for milk production and to ensure that your baby drinks the last milk in each breast, which contains the majority of the calories.
Latching On Properly
If possible, express a small amount of milk or colostrum onto the end of your nipple before bringing your baby to your breast. If your baby’s mouth is wide open, place your nipple well into her mouth. You may need to “tickle” your baby’s lower lip with your nipple if her mouth is not already open. Make sure you wait for your baby to open wide. This helps to make sure that your baby latches onto more than just the end of your nipple, which can really hurt. In addition to your nipple, a good portion of the areola, or dark, circular area surrounding your nipple, should be in her mouth as well.
Once your baby has latched on, you should feel a firm pull as she sucks. Although your breasts may be tender, it should not hurt to feed your baby. If you notice more than some initial discomfort as your baby begins to nurse, take her off of your breast and begin again. This can be very frustrating, particularly if you’ve been at it for a while. Although it may be tempting, don’t let your baby keep nursing if you’re experiencing pain because this can result in damage to your nipple. Your baby’s mouth must also be properly positioned for her to suckle milk effectively, so it’s very important to make sure she’s latched on correctly.
After each feeding, express a small amount of your breast milk and rub it around the nipple and areola because this has natural lubricants and healing properties. Many women like to use a lanolin application on their nipples in the first few weeks of breastfeeding to prevent their nipples from irritation.