Breastfeeding and Nipple Soreness

Breastfeeding and Nipple Soreness

As a doctor in training, I remember patients coming in and saying how hard breastfeeding was. I would tell them “that’s normal”, offer them jack Newman nipple cream/all purpose nipple ointment/APNO or recommend a lactation consultant’s number. But little did I know the many different types of breastfeeding difficulties there were. The first breastfeeding difficulty women can experience is sore and cracked nipples. There are multiple causes of sore nipples including: nipple sensitivity (most common cause in the initial post Partum period -this peaks at 4 days post Partum), thrush (yeast infection), nipple eczema, an infant’s tongue tie, an infant with a cleft lip or palate, nipple injury (from biting, breast pumps…), and nipple vasoconstriction (pain during cold exposure) to name a few. But how do you know when it’s normal nipple sensitivity or something else? It’s all about timing- nipple sensitivity usually is limited to the infant’s first few sucks of a feed and doesn’t normally persist through the entire nursing session. As well, nipple sensitivity usually resolves within 1-2 weeks post Partum.

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