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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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Get in touch with a La Leche League group leader! You don't have to be a member to go to a meeting or to ask for help. If your insurance covers it, you might also check with a lactation consultant. You didn't mention how old your baby is, but when I was having pain shortly after my daughter was born, the angle of her latch was incorrect and causing the pain. When I had pain when my daughter was just over 1, it was because I was pregnant again! :)

Hang in there - this goes away! When I stopped using a shield, I had a lot of pain at first, but it did subside (can't remember how long it took - a few weeks, or maybe a month). Give yourself time - everything gets better and easier, it just takes awhile!

After you have determined your pain isn't something Like Thrush or Reynaulds, I also recommend finding a lactation specialist. Incorrect latching on is one of the first non-medical things I thought of. That is where the lactation specialist can help. One of the things I learned while nursing my youngest (who latched on at birth and didn't let go for 3 years!!) is tea bags. You can wet tea bags (plain black tea) and wear them on your nipples between feedings. The tannen in the tea helps toughen your nipples and the cool can help sooth. God Bless you and your little one.

There's something called Reynauld's syndrome that is sometimes mistaken as thrush. A good lactation consultant--and there are not-such-good ones out there, so be careful where you spend your money!--could tell you.

You could also take a short pumping vacation for 6 - 12 hours or so, just to give yourself a chance to not feel pain. And being intimate? Yeah, just put that on hold for a while. You have a new baby! If pumping feels less painful than nursing, it's a red flag that the latch isn't working. My first boy has an underbite, and he BIT me every time he nursed, even after getting his tongue-tie clipped it didn't help. I was in toe-curling pain and miserable! I pumped for a month and then qit b/c it was like feeding two babies and I wasn't enjoying my son.

With my second baby, who has more of an overbite, I have no pain at all! I couldn't believe how much better he nursed, from 15 minutes after being born than his big brother ever did. I tell you this: the books and articles and websites I poured over NEVER said anything about mouth fit, and that ticks me off. The pure mechanics have to have a lot to do with things, and my first boy shredded me and I was mental to feed him.

Whatever course you choose is the right one. Try to make peace with it and enjoy your tiny baby while your baby is still tiny.


Hi J.,

If I were you, I would go see someone about your nipples. I had the same issue and just thought the pain was just how it is (I'm a first time mom too). My midwife said it was yeast. Who knew yeast would be so painful!!!?? She gave me some creams and told me to use gentian violet, which is extremely messy and a pain. Nothing helped. So, whenever I get a yeast infection on my nipples, I put 7-day monistat on them between feedings. Of course, be sure to wash them off before you feed your baby. Within a few days I felt more normal. My baby is 9 months old now, and I get yeast about once a month or so, for some reason. But now I know what it feels like and can catch it before it becomes unbearable. A few days of monistat, and I'm good as new. I hope you get it figured out soon! It's amazing how painful it can be!!!


Hi J.,

Have you checked for thrush? This causes similar sensations. Also, you need to make sure the baby's latched right. Feel free to call me or e-mail me if you need any help.

D. Rylander

Sounds like the other ladies have wonderful advice. Try out those options. I just wanted to share my experience with my first baby. I have very sore nipples or should I say extremely painful nipples. There wasn't a latching issue for me or mastitis or anything like that. I suffered through it for six months as my relationship with my hubby got worse and I got more tired. I decided after six months of exclusive breastfeeding that my marriage and my health were more important than exclusive breastfeeding. Basically that the health of the whole family was more important that keeping my baby off from formula. I ended up cutting back a little bit on the breastfeeding and feeding formula sometimes. It worked great. Everyone was happier and it gave my breasts just enough relief for them to stop hurting. I felt guilty for a while for making that decision, but after things became so much better I stopped feeling guilty.

Hi--I had this and it was excruciatingly painful. My doc diagnosed it as Raynaud's of the nipple. It hurt like )(*&*^$%^#$%#$%^ during and after bf-ing and also in the shower, walking outside in the cold, and at random intervals. I tried B6 in high doses with no effect, though that does help some people. I will say that when my baby reached 4 months it suddenly got a LOT better, and then finally went away completely. He's weaned now and I never feel this anymore. I hope you can get some help--it's very painful but hopefully will not be with you for much longer. Good luck.

wic gave me some lactine stuff to put on mine and it works.


I too hated breastfeeding for the first couple of months! Neither of my babies got it right away and it hurt so horribly that I would cry through each feeding! I found that using the special ointment helped a lot. I don't remember now what it was called (my youngest is 2 1/2). I remember it's in a purple box. If nothing else, never hesitate to call the hospital and talk to a lactation consultant! I used mine for a few months! She was incredibly helpful with both babies! Good luck and hang in there. You won't be sorry you did. If you decide to stop breastfeeding for this reason, please do not feel like you failed. You tried and that is a lot more than a lot of people do (not to say you are a bad mom if you don't breastfeed). I was very close to quitting myself, but my family helped me through it!

I suffered through extreme pain for 5 months. Including 2 trips to the emergency room because my son was spitting up blood, turned out it was my blood. It was because my baby wasn't latching properly and was traumatizing my nipples. His frenulum was clipped and I saw a physical therapist who focuses on breast feeding at seattle childrens. I also Dr. Dr. Mary Ann O'Hara who is just amazing. She is a breast feeding dr. I would give her a call if you are in the Seattle area. She also told me that she does go to Portland on occasion and she has lots of resources. She is wonderful and knowledgeable and she only sees patients with breastfeeding issues. Her phone number is ###-###-####. If you cannot see her I would recommend contacting LaLeche http://www.lllusa.org/ You can talk to someone and they will even come to you to help you out with breastfeeding. My son is now 8 months old and we are both really enjoying breastfeeding. Keep your chin up it will get better.

After workign through weeks of chapped, bloody nipples, we determined that indeed there was al latch issue AND a very hard suck on her part. I found that after about a month the pain disappeared during feedings, but I still have very sensative nipples, and dont want them touched - 4 months later and still nursing full time. Stick with it...it gets less, use the cold packs and nursing shields after feedings and you'll get through it...

I remember the pain I went through, it is horrible, and it can get worse. I actually developed scabs and bled, it was horrible. A friend called me and asked if I loved breast feeding, I said NO, I was ready to quit, but thankfully she talked me into plugging through the pain and I am so thankful I did, I nursed both my boys until they were 1 year, and I have such great memories of that time I had with them. Your nipples will toughen up, it does take a little time but eventually (and soon) it will be painless.

First of all, feeling guilty gets you no where. Your child has had your nourishment for a few months at least, and the first months are most important. There is no shame in quitting if its stressful for you. To help with pain, maybe some baby orajel or something on the nipples, might numb them up but it will sting when it wears off, so maybe that's not an option. Breast milk can come from a pump too. While that connection is nice, the one between you and your husband is just as important. SO, I suggest if pumping is not to painful you pump a lot and freeze it. It will increase your milk supply for a bit maybe, and perhaps part of the problem is the let down process. That was painful for me beyond words. But, I didn't have the nipple problem once the feeding started. Is it possible he is simply biting down on you? Don't feel bad for not doing this if its too painful. The "dry up" process can also be painful though, so if you can keep doing it, great, if not..try the pump, some lanolin or something similar for your nipples. If you can do it with the shield and it doesn't hurt, nothing wrong with that either..but if your nipples are so sore your husband cannot even hug you I would also maybe check out for thrush on your child. Wash yourself with warm water and apple cider vinager. Check his mouth for white patches on the roof of his mouth, and on his tongue. Definitely take him in too if you see them. Monistat (the stuff for us girls) also works..so there's that too. Either way, no matter what you decide perhaps its time to see the doctor and make sure everything is "okay". If it is..you did all you could. A lactation consultant at the hospital maternity ward might be able to help too. Check into it if this is really important to you. If you are starting to resent the whole process though I think you should really consider for your happiness and your hubby's (and in the end your child's) just giving it up and switching to formula. The change won't hurt your child and the change can only help you from the sound of things. Don't feel guilty (easier said than done but...) being in pain is not a requirement of motherhood, and your happiness does affect how milk produces as well. If you a stressed he may be having to try harder, thereby sucking harder, perhaps even biting..and you are in pain so you might not notice that its because he is not getting anything or at least much of it. Really, you can be just as close cuddling with him through a bottle, and just think..you'll be able to hug on your hubby again without wincing....:) Good Luck! No one should do something just because you think "you should". Really...I can't stress that enough..on top of all the hormonal changes, sleep changes and pain of just "recovery" from child birth and post partum depression issues might come into play a little. Your family will be happier..as someone else said..it got better when she saw her family was happier, and she didn't feel guilty anymore. It's your first one..its okay..therapy will be cheap by the time he's grown up enough to need it ;) (Just kidding!) We all had these questions with our kids too, just at different levels. I would definitely try all the suggestions but I would not try to deal with it on your own anymore...get some help and try real hard to think positively. Either way, your family is stronger..if you get to breastfeed longer, or if you simply get to hug your hubby again without pain, your family is better off if you are a happy person :) (And being in pain is NOT going to achieve that..no matter how wonderful you feel about the nutrition you are giving your child). Formula is just fine and if taking a break helps...and that's all you need DO IT!

I don't have a lot of time to write; but I feel your pain. I also had horrible pain with nursing. Ultimately I just gave up and started pumping full time. I HIGHLY recommend it for those who can't breastfeed for whatever reason. good luck to you!

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