This article is an excerpt from "The Nursing Mother's Problem Solver" by Claire Martin.
Some mothers have sore nipples, even if their babies seem (to an untrained eye) to be properly latched on, with textbook-style suckling. Pain always indicates a problem that needs to be diagnosed and resolved. Breastfeeding is not normally a painful experience. With some detective work, you may be able to isolate the source of your pain and remedy the problem.
If you've had pain nursing right off the bat-nipple pain that hasn't lessened since your first nursing session-there may be a problem with positioning, latch-on, or your baby's suck. It also is possible that the problem is physical. Ask the pediatrician and/or your lactation consultant to examine your baby's mouth. She may have a high palate, or a short or tight frenulum (the tissue under the tongue) that makes it difficult for her to use her tongue.
If breastfeeding already is established, and your nipples are suddenly sore, you may have thrush. To properly diagnose thrush, both you and the baby should be examined by a lactation consultant and then by your physician. Sometimes, even if you've taken medication for thrush-lotrimin, loprox, nystatin-the thrush may still be present if you and the baby haven't been treated simultaneously for at least 2 weeks. Thrush is persistent, and it can be resistant to drugs, returning after you think that you've treated it. If you do have thrush, do not treat your nipples with hydrocortisone; it only makes your nipples even more sore.
If your nipples are red and sore, but thrush has been ruled out, another possibility is eczema of the nipples. This occurs in women with a history of eczema and dry, sensitive skin, and it usually is accompanied by burning and itching.
Sore, tender nipples also can signal pregnancy, especially if you're also exceptionally tired and nauseated. Could you have a breast inflammation or infection? Did you have mastitis? Even if you treat mastitis with penicillin, the drug may not have resolved the staph infection. If your pain is caused by a persistent staph infection, ask us about dicloxacillin, which must be taken conscientiously for 2 weeks.
Could you have a bacterial infection in your nipples? Are they cracked and refusing to heal? Those infections are painful and can lead to a bout with thrush. (See Thrush).
If you've eliminated infections, inflammation, thrush, and positioning as the culprits, you should see a dermatologist familiar with breastfeeding-related problems. (Your lactation consultant, or the local La Leche League, should be able to suggest someone.)
Tips for preventing or healing sore nipples:
About the Author
Claire Martin is a parenting writer at the Denver Post. Her writing has won
national and regional awards, and has appeared in publications such as the St. Petersburg
Times, Good Housekeeping, and Sunset magazine. She lives in Denver
with her husband and two daughters, both of whom were breastfed.
From THE NURSING MOTHER'S PROBLEM SOLVER by Claire Martin. Copyright © 2000 by Claire
Martin. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither RemedyConnect nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.
RemedyConnect, Inc. has created this privacy statement in order to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: http://www.remedyconnect.com.
We do not acquire any more information about website visitors than is required by law or is otherwise necessary to provide a high level of service efficiently and securely. Our site's registration form requires users to give us contact information (e.g., their name and e-mail address) and demographic information (e.g., children's birth months, but not birth dates). We use customer contact information from the registration form to (1) send the user pertinent medical and parenting information and (2) allow your local health provider lists of who is registering on that provider's site as a parent/guardian, staff member, doctor, or visitor. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings; see the choice/opt-out section below.
We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Website. Your IP address is used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
Demographic and profile data is also collected at our site. We may use this data to tailor the visitor's experience at our site, showing them content that we think they might be interested in, and displaying the content according to their preferences.
Our site may use order forms to allow users to request information, products, and services.
We will respect your doctor's right to privacy. A doctor typically does not give his/her e-mail address to the parents/guardians of patients. We will not provide the e-mail addresses of doctor(s) in the local practice to users of their site without the doctor(s)' permission. Their site is restricted to use by whomever they wish, and they may deny access to their site to one or more prior users. In unusual cases, doctors may change their private site's access code and arrange for us to e-mail the new access code to approved users.
This site contains links to other sites. RemedyConnect.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Websites. See Disclaimers.
We will provide individually-identifiable information about website users to third parties only if we are compelled to do so by order of a duly-empowered governmental authority, we have the express permission of the visitor, or it is necessary to process transactions and provide you services from our affiliates: Live Agent Answering Service, Digital Answering Service, Medical Answering Service and Pediatric Answering Service.
This site may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available to its users. Please remember that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.
This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. For further information regarding our security, please contact us at email@example.com. If you have any concerns regarding the security of information, please do not provide any information to RemedyConnect, Inc. until you are comfortable with our security measures.
You may correct or update your User Registration information at any time, by visiting the User Registration section and providing your personal password that you set at registration. If need be, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving e-mail communications from our partners or us, except communications approved by your doctor's practice office. To so opt-out, please email us at email@example.com. To be removed as a user, please email us at the same address. If need be, you may mail requests to us at RemedyConnect, Inc., 9200 E. Mineral Avenue, Suite 100, Centennial, CO 80112. Our telephone number is 303-793-0703.
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at our address above.