Congrats on nursing your baby! It can be difficult at times, despite what most women (myself included) thought beforehand. I was where you are now a few years ago. I experienced sever toe-curling pain with every nursing. Through attending a Nursing Support group thru my local hospital (in OR), I learned that it doesn't have to be painful - even for me. I figured that since all the women in my family had only horror stories to tell me about bf-ing, I just had 'bad genetics' for it. Not so.
My first advice is to call a La Leche League Leader. I see that you're in Red Rock - about an hour away from South Austin (where the closest meeting is to you). However, phone consults are FREE. A Leader can help you over the phone to troubleshoot what's going on to cause such sore nipples....as well as the pain in your breast. You do not need to wait for a meeting to talk to them.
Here is a link to the Austin groups:
I agree with the other mamas who said that it sounds like a plugged duct or the beginnings of mastitis. Please do not go to a doctor until you've spoken with a LLL leader or IBCLC. Not all doctors know what they're talking about when it comes to a lactating breast, and some might recommend weaning to 'solve' the problem. That would be ridiculous and unnecessary. A LLL leader or IBCLC will be able to give you tips on getting rid of plugged ducts. However, if you've developed flu-like symptoms, a trip to the doc is called for...since that indicates an infection - aka mastitis. You CAN nurse while taking antibiotics. Be sure to let your doctor know that you are nursing so he/she can prescribe one that works with that
Here is a link to a list of LCs in Texas:
Be certain to use one with the letters IBCLC after her name. This means "Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant". We're talking training and hours numbered in the thousands, as well as a major exam to earn these letters.
Some questions about the breast soreness:
Is the pain in one place? That is, can you point to it? Is it at latch on? During Let Down/ MER (milk ejection reflex)?
If so, I would change babies position so that either his chin or nose is aimed at the sore spot. This will help pull that milk through. I would take a hot shower and massage that breast and try to work it out that way.
Lanolin is good.
Also, try expressing an extra few drops at the end of a nursing session and rub it in. Breast milk has great healing and anti-bacterial properties!
Avoid using anything that will require being wiped off before nursing (vaseline, chapstick) - that's just more friction on an already sore spot. Also, no matter how you wipe, there will likely be a residue that your baby may/may not suck off as he nurses.
There is no need to “air out” or dry out your nipples. This used to be thought of as a way to help sore, cracked nipples – no more. Now LLL recommends “moist wound healing”. Here is a link that explains this better: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nipplehealing.html
Poor latch is the #1 cause of sore nipples. Look at your nipple when he first unlatches. Is it pink and round? Or white and/pinched looking? If it's the latter at all then that indicates poor latch. Be sure that his tongue protrudes over his lower gums when he latches and while he's nursing. You should be able to pull back his bottom lip while he's nursing to check this. If pulling back his bottom lip breaks the suction, then it's latch...
Have you recently started pumping? Sometimes if the 'horn' of the pump is the wrong size it can cause soreness.
More than anything, please please please contact your local LLL person - this is why they are there - and it's FREE!
Sorry this is so long, but I hope that you find some of the information helpful!
If you have any questions for me, or if something I wrote needs clarifying, feel free to email and ask!
K., mama to
Baby, due 9/09