22 answers

How to soothe burning nipple pain during pregnancy?

I was wondering if anyone else had experienced this problem and what you did for it (if anything can be done). I am in my last month of pregnancy and for the past few months I have had a problem with at least one nipple (they alternate) getting hard and not going down. It burns like someone set it on fire for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. It may sound silly, but it's EXCRUCIATING! Yesterday in the grocery store this happened with both of them to the point that I thought I was going to have to run out screaming! With my first pregnancy and child 2 years ago, I never had this problem. My colostrum has been coming in, but I am wondering if this is a symptom of something else. I have a Dr's appt. Wednesday and plan to ask, but was curious if anyone else had experienced it. It really feels like someone set fire to them.

What can I do next?


The burning sensation is called the "Let down" "feature". This happens when the milk that you are producing is being "Let Down", as this occurs there can be pain, stinging and of course a burning sensation. It normally go away after giving birth, if it persists, consult your doctor.

So What Happened?™

Well, I asked the doctor yesterday, and she said they didn't know of anything it could be -she mentioned hormonal changes, etc. pretty much what I've been thinking. I am going to try the cabbage leaves. I had heard of that before but forgotten it! I will also try warm cloths if I'm in a position to use them the next time this happens. I appreciate all of your advice and suggestions!

Featured Answers


This sounds like Raynaud's of the nipple Here's a link to some information http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nipple-blanching....

I would contact a lactation consultant to help, Sharon at Lactation Consultants of Atlanta has experience with this her website is www.breastfeedingatlanta.com


More Answers

I had a similar thing happen to me, but not to the extreme you are describing, at the end of both of my pregnancies. My pain would start like a burning sensation and then get itchy. With my second pregnancy this feeling started the day before I went into labor and with my first pregnancy it started the week before I gave birth. I have no idea what causes this, but I just took it as a sign that the end is near. Hopefully this is true for you too and the pain will subside soon.

It sounds like let-down, but I'm surprised you've got it before the baby is born.
Lots of weird things happen during and after pregnancy, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

I am 22 weeks pregnant (Monday) and for the past month, I'd say, I'd been experiencing the same problem. I found that running warm water on my nipples helps. NOT letting the shower run on them, that hurts like you wouldn't believe, but I simply lean over the sink, cupping my breast, and let the water run over them. And I'm not talking about lukewarm water, the warmer the better, but not too hot either... It takes about a min or so for the pain to subside but it definitely helps!! Upon further research, I found that this seems to be something completely normal seeing as how many, many other women go through the same thing, so no worries. And last but not least, at your own risk try the frozen rings, but I can't even stand for cold air to touch, so its up to you.

Sounds like a clogged duct...try massaging it with a hot wash cloth!

I don't have an answer to what it may be, just ans alternative to ice packs. Use bags of frozen peas or corn. They conform to the body better but don't use for more than 10-15 minutes once per hour or you can cause tissue damage.

It has been 18 years since I was pregnant. However, I experienced something similar if not the same thing. I remember icing myself to help with pain. A naturopathic doctor recommended a cream that was sold to dairy farmers to sooth cow udders! I used that cream for chemical burns as well. I wonder now if you could use a salve like that or coco butter w/some lidocaine mixed in. Good luck, please let us know what you find out.

I had my little girl on August 5th so the 'joys' of pregnancy are still a recent memory. I experienced the same pain you are suffering from now. Nothing quite like that I think. Thankfully, I can encourage you by telling you that it was nothing to be concerned about healthwise and went away when my little girl was born. I hope it disappears as quickly for you or even sooner. I hope that helps.

I had that happen as well. It seemed to happen more when I got cold - like going through the freezer section of the grocery store. I never talked to my doctors about it. I thought it was too weird to explain. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who had that. If I was in private I could use my hand to put pressure on it which helped a lot. That was a little hard to do in the grocery store. Now that my baby is born I don't have any problems with it. Good luck.

Hey J.,
I had almost the same feeling - in my first trimester with my first child and in the last trimester with my second child. I did hurt alot. I think the only thing that I remember making them feel better was lanolin. I cannot remember the maker but it was in a purple tube and was specifically for your nipples when they are itchy or burning as associated with breast feeding. I used it in my last trimester with my daughter and while breast feeding. It works wonders. I dont know why it happens while you are still pregnant - I think it is just one of those things that your body is preparing itself for for the whole childbirth experience....kinda like your hips spreading - hurts so bad. I want to say the maker of the lanolin product is Lansinoh. Don't quote me on that.
I also know that you can get yeast infection on your nipples- normally you do not get that until you are breast feeding also, but I dont know I am no doctor...maybe you can get yeast when you are not breast feeding yet. Anyways- maybe the Lansinoh lanolin will help you. It is clear - kinda like vaseline, so you can wear it under your clothes anytime.
Good luck and hope this helps some.

K. - 28 mother of 2 - 4 1/2 and almost 3
stay at home and run an in home daycare; happily married for 7 years

Hello J. you are correct to go directly to your physician. Make sure you give him/her all the details related to the pain and any noticable changes in your breast. Please let us know you are okay.

Who knew that women have features when it comes to their breast. But we do, the burning sensation you are having is called the "Let down" "feature". This happens when the milk that you are producing is being "Let Down", as this occurs there can be pain, stinging and of course a burning sensation. I have breastfed 3 children and it progressively got worse with each child. My last baby breastfed for 15mos (way longer than I had expected him or me to continue) and after a while the burning sensation eases up and eventually goes away after a few weeks-mos (depending on your body). It's nothing major, Don't worry about it too much, alot of women have this happen to them.

Weird that you're having it while pregnant and not nursing yet... My first two thoughts are thrush (yeast infection) or clogged duct... Either way -- or neither way -- I'd call my OB. Excruciating pain is out of the ordinary. Good luck!

hi, I am 15 weeks pregnant and have been experiencing the same problem for about a month and a half. The first couple of times it happened it was both nipples at the same time, unfortunately for me I was outside waiting for a bus, but that didnt stop me from unzipping my coat and sweater so that I could reach in my shirt/bra to put my cold fingers on my nipples, it was the only thing I could do to some-what alleviate the pain. Since then it happens at least once every week and a half and only lasts for about 5, 10 or even 20 minutes sometimes. But last night I was awakened by this burning sensation once again, only this time it was only in my left nipple.
The exact same thing happens, my nipple is hard and does not go down.It burns like its on fire or as if someone heated up a kilt pin and stuck it straight in my nipple. And YES! It is EXCRUCIATING.

I have been looking online for any remedies I could find to sooth the pain.
Here's what I came up with so far.

-One girl said that you can actually buy these tiny round gel packs, you put them in the freezer then in your bra. you can buy them at Target and possibly Walmart.

-Clean them with a warm towel.

-I read that cold doesn't make the pain go away, but hot or warm things do.
(weirdly enough, using a hair dryer really does work!)\

I hope I could help you out, Good Luck!

It may be a yeast infection- fairly common to get them on nipples. Check with your doctor. The best cure I've had is to buy Monistat and rub it on. If you put it on right after nursing enough is absorbed by the next feeding to be safe for baby. It really does help with the burning.

Hi J.,

I had a similar burning sensation after I had my first. It was associated with the letdown I experienced while nursing. It felt like my whole breast was on fire and it was uncomfortable. I didn't know to do anything and it went away after awhile. I never dealt with it after I had my second child.


Hi J., I had exactly the same thing happen while I was pregnant, towards the end. It sounds crazy but the only thing that worked for me was pushing inwards on my nipple. I can relate it to when you stub your toe, you squeeze your toe while in pain and it subsides. None of the creams provided any relief for me because really it's an internal burning sensation.

One thing I will say is that I had an extremely productive breast-feeding experience. I never had a lack of milk or a delay in my milk coming in. If you do plan to nurse, hopefully you will have the same outcome.

Good luck and hang in there!

I am 7mths pregnant and i understand totally what this feels like it really is angry. it takes me out of my character on occasion especially whem im caught off guard. but i hold them and pray, might sound silly but all things come to past the pain doesnt last forever.

I had this problem, too, followed by itching. I also used ice packs(or frozen veggies). I have a friend though that used cold cabbage leaves in her bra and said it worked wonders(my OB's nurse mentioned this to me, too). I never tried it, but if it is as bad as you are describing, it couldn't hurt! Good luck!

I swear, I went through the same thing in the last stages of my pregnancy. I was in pre-term labor alot and one of the times I was at the hospital they started on fire and I wanted to scream and I was so glad to finally have nurses around to ask and hate to tell you but they couldnt figure out why it was happening? They even brought me ice packs for them. I think it is is a hormonal thing.
So I am sorry to say, I dont have the answers but it did go away and there isnt much you can do about it. Try ice packs though. It helped. Its a strange thing. By any chance, do you have any blood pressure issues? Because one nurse mentioned that and I did have high blood pressure toward the end?? Just a thought.
Goodluck. Not long to go.


This sounds like Raynaud's of the nipple Here's a link to some information http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nipple-blanching....

I would contact a lactation consultant to help, Sharon at Lactation Consultants of Atlanta has experience with this her website is www.breastfeedingatlanta.com


The only suggestion I can think of right now is to talk to your doctor about it I had only one pregancy years ago and I did not go thru what you are explaining

I realize that I am replying to a two year old question but this is a recent addition for those of you who continue to experience this "phenomenon." and seek a solution.

P. from Spartanburg's comment "Lots of weird things happen during and after pregnancy, I wouldn't worry about it too much." was quite disappointing. As someone who can relate to what J. from ATL is asking about I have to say there is no way *not* to worry about this... it's horrible! I have quite a high pain tolerance and this is most definitely EXCRUCIATING. I am in a cold area and I have observed that this climate exacerbates the pain so my simple solution to the issue after my local, small-town OB GYN said merely, "Oh, that's normal," is to use "Hot Hands" heat packs in my bra whenever I have to leave the house which ends up being almost daily due to the fact that I work full time. They help quite a bit; they ward off maybe 85% of the occurrences throughout the day. For the record I am in my first pregnancy, 18 weeks along and this issue has persisted daily (and nightly) since week 8 or so.

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