23 answers

Extremely Sensitive Nipples After a Feeding

Has anyone experienced extremely sensitive nipples, especially after nursing? I am experiencing both a hot/cold sensation after nursing. I recently transistioned from using a sheild to the nipple. I don't think this is the problem, though. I'm starting to feel a little guilty because I've had thoughts of decreasing the breastfeedings and incorporating formula so that my nipples can recoop and I can start to have my normal life back. My nips are so sensitive that I can't even stand to have my husband whisper in my ear or hug me. I feel like I have no desire to be intimate with him because of the pain in my breasts. Any thoughts?

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All the other ladies have great advice, but I also wanted to mention Raynaud's Syndrome, since you say you have hot/cold sensations as well. I had a friend who was having similar issues and was diagnosed with this and needed medication to fix it. She's still able to bf and having a MUCH nicer time doing so now.
It's not very common, but it's worth looking into if it's not yeast and you've tried everything else. Also, for me and my son, it took about 8 weeks before there was no pain at all when he first latched. He's 17 months now and I still don't like my husband to touch my nipples-they're just too sensitive.

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All the other ladies have great advice, but I also wanted to mention Raynaud's Syndrome, since you say you have hot/cold sensations as well. I had a friend who was having similar issues and was diagnosed with this and needed medication to fix it. She's still able to bf and having a MUCH nicer time doing so now.
It's not very common, but it's worth looking into if it's not yeast and you've tried everything else. Also, for me and my son, it took about 8 weeks before there was no pain at all when he first latched. He's 17 months now and I still don't like my husband to touch my nipples-they're just too sensitive.

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Hi J.-If you have pink nipples, the soreness may last a little longer. If your nipples are more of a tan color, the soreness should last even less. Hang in there. If you want to continue nursing, you will need to hang on a little longer. Try using wet/warm tea bags to soothe the area after nursing. Good luck!

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That was me to a "t" (month into breastfeeding here). It was so painful I would cry my way through feeding him determined that he was have breast and nothing else. My nipples would feel icy and firy at the same time and even cloth brushing against them made me want to go through the roof.

Have you tried pumping yet? I know it doesn't sound like an answer, but it totally worked for me. For some reason pumping didn't hurt like nursing. I HIGHLY recommend spending the money on a good one like Avent. I would pump and we'd feed him from the bottle every other feeding.

Another thing to check - get in a well lit area or take a penlight and look in babies mouth. Are there white patches that don't come off? Your baby may have thrush which will also cause that extreme pain.

Having endured a month of hell I am finally to a good place with nursing. Do not feel guilty as there were a few nights when I couldn't take the pain and we had to give him a little formula so I could make it. DH and I are just now getting intimate - u can get through it. Be sure to use lansinoh religiously. You're doing awesome - I have totally been there!

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I liked to use a cream called Nipple Cream, made by Mother Love. Unlike Lansinoh, it has some natural pain killers in it but is still safe for your baby. Good luck!

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I'm guessing your baby isn't latching on properly, because it may hurt a bit (as your nipples get used to baby sucking on them), it shouldn't be as painful as you describe. I would get ahold of a lactation consultant (there is likely one at the hospital you can see for free) or else call a le leche league leader and get one of them to watch to see if that is the problem. Use cold packs after nursing, to see if that eases the pain too. (or before to kind of numb them) Hope this helps.

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Ditto to the comments about latching on correctly. See a lactation coach at your hospital or ask your pediatrician for help. Next, ditto on the thrush or mastitis. Have your ob/gyn check you out there. Are your running a low grade fever, indicative of he mastitis and you mentioned you were using ice packs to relieve the pain. Pediatrician can also check the baby for thrush and recommend treatment for the both of you, and you both need to be treated at the same time.

And then there's the old stand by.... tea bags. The tanins in the tea help toughen your nipples. Soak a couple of tea bags in water or use the tea bags after you brewed yourself some tea. Now take those moist, wet tea bags and place them on your nipples. Let them sit there easing the pain while you sip that tea. It should be black tea, like Red Rose. Believe me, it works. I started this conditioning program before my first child arrived. That and rubbing them with a dry wash cloth, again to help toughen the skin to take the tugging and sucking of a hungry baby. It takes practice and patience. But it's well worth any discomfort you may have now. I looked forward to coming home after a long day a work and nursing my kids, it allowed me to relax, unwind and be with my kids. It was pure peace for all of us. I hope you can get to this place as well. But if not, it's okay. If Momma isn't happy, no one is happy.
Take good care!!!

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Breastfeeding is not supposed to be as painful as you describe. It sounds like you may have mastitis, or some other kind of infection, which can be treated with antibiotics. Go see your health care provider. Good luck!

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It sounds like your situation is a lot like mine was. I used nipple shields for about 4 weeks, then weaned my son off of them, and then had a lot of nipple pain from the time he was 5 - 8 weeks old. I was in tears and wanted to give up nursing altogether.

I went to all my resources though, and eventually things got better. From the lactation consultant, I learned that I didn't have any infections, but that my nipples (which are slightly flat) had been "traumatized"--her word, but oddly that made me feel better because it wasn't just the old "they just need to toughen up" advice. She prescribed an ointment called Nipple Ointment or Cream or something that helped with the pain. I had to get it from a compounding pharmacy, but it was worth it. It's medicated, but supposedly the baby doesn't get any. You only use it a couple times a day, and I wasn't using it at all after a couple weeks.

Then, my mom told me to let my nipples dry out after feedings. I put all the blinds down, locked the doors, and would walk around with nothing covering my breasts--I called them boob days. Also, my mom told me to take a container like an oatmeal box, pop off the ends and put an exposed lightbulb to the opposite end as the boob. Just the light and little bit of heat helps dry it out and helps the pain.

Also, I pumped a couple feedings which was easier on my nipples, but still kept the supply up and gave my son breastmilk. Time consuming, but easier sometimes.

Finally, my doula told me about Soothies, they are pads that you put on after feeding that are made of a cooling gel. It really does soothe sore nipples. I wore these on the non-boob days. :)

I would say by the time my son was a couple months old, the nursing piece was easy. It took me a while to get to enjoy it though, and I extended breastfeeding from 14 months to 18 months just because I wanted to make up for the "lost time" of not enjoying it in the beginning.

It was difficult for my husband to understand that I didn't want my breasts touched for a while. But that's the thing, it's just for a while. And in the meantime, communicating with your spouse that there are other ways to be intimate can be a nice thing too. Once I weaned my son, I was so happy to get my body back--that things got way easier in the intimacy department.

Hope that helps somewhat. Nursing can be tough, especially at first. Don't beat yourself up for supplementing with formula, or try pumping. Definitely see a lactation consultant to get their input and maybe a prescrip. for Nipple Ointment. Good luck to you and your new baby!!

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