Urgent Help with Sore Nipples After Only 15 Days of Breastfeeding

Updated on September 08, 2015
L.L. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
16 answers

I had my baby 15 days ago; I needed to have a C-section 48 hours after my water broke. My baby boy breastfed 30 minutes after being born while I was still in recovery and seemed not to have any problem latching. I continued to breasfeed while at the hospital for the next two days, and then my nipples started getting really sored. The main issue is the strength with which my baby suckles; he is very impatient and cries desperately, so when I put him on my breast it feels like he was biting rather than suckilng.

On the third day my right nipple was crecked and kind of splitting appart on one of the sides, and the left one was super sensitive to the touch, and breastfeeding was just too painful, not only when I started but thoughout the entire fed. My home nurse suggested I stopped breastfeeding for a few days, since she was afraid I might get my nipples infected, and to just pump if I was able to and feed my baby formula. And so I did, as much as I hated the idea of feeding him formula.

For the next few days I didn't breastfeed at all, and pumped exclusively, only a couple of times a day because it was too painful; my nipples would get swolen after pumping becuase of the suction (I'm using a manual pump). Then my breast got engorged, and I had to start pumping even if it was painful; my milk production was abundant: I would pump 100 - 120 ml in one sitting from both breasts. At this point I was applying lanolin ointment on my nipples and it provided almost no relief.

After a few days I tried breastfeeding my baby again, with the help of a silicon nipple cover. It worked great the first few times; I was able to breastfeed, and even though it was still very painful, it was manageable. Problem was my baby would stay on my breast for about an hour, suckling and sleeping, and I though that was normal, but my nipples started to get sore and hurt a lot one more time. Then my home nurse told me he needed to actively eat and not sleep, that all the long suckling was hurting my nipples, to try feeding him only 10 minutes and then feed him with a bottle (my own expressed milk). So I did, for a few days, until my left nipple showed two cracks and my right one had a red blood like mark wich was really painful. Once again I needed to stop breastfeeding my baby.

Today my baby is 15 days old; I have been exclusively pumping for the past two days; I have gone for natural home remedies: applying a paste made with turmeric, coconut oil and milk, right on the nipples for 20 minutes once a day; applying fresh aloe vera gel (taken from a plant I have at home) being extra careful to rinse my nipples throughly so not to cause my baby diarreah because of the Aloe. I do this several times a day, letting it air dry. My nipples look better, they are still sensitive to the touch and I'm able to pump, only that my milk supply has decreased considerably, obviouly, if I'm not putting my baby on my breasts.

I have so many questions that have arisen after reading about possible solutions to my problem on books and internet. All of them say the same thing: "you need to keep your nipples dry"... but how can this be possible if my nipples leak milk all the time? .. I have spent most of my days these past couple of weeks walking topless around the house, and taping breast pads under my breasts to catch the milk drops without covering the nipple. Everytime I put on a nursing top with a breast pad inside, whenever the pad gets wet my nipples get even more sensitive.

I am sure I have a problem latching my baby correctly, but have tried following instructions on a book without much success, he still suckles mostly on the tip of the nipple and not the whole areola. Also my areola is pretty big, too big for my baby's mouth, so not sure how to get it all inside his mouth in order for him to latch on correctly.

I live in Denmark and finding a breastfeeding consultant is not as straight forward as it would be in the US, hence why I opted to ask my questions here first. I urgently need help; I'm afraid if I start breastfeeding my baby again, that my nipples will get sore again in no time.

Thanks in advance!

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answers from Norfolk on

Fortunately, La Leche League is international and available in Denmark.


Contact them and they should be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Personally and I know I will get slammed, but if you cannot get to a lactation consultant, I would go with formula. Feeding time should be pleasant for you both. Does not sound that way. There is nothing wrong with formular. I would want the feeding experience to be a calm one. Just my opinion. Why suffer?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Portland on

I like B's advice - call La Leche league if you can in Denmark.

I will say this - I found nursing very (extremely) painful in the beginning. No one had prepared me. I also got engorged. Then after about where you are, suddenly it went from being hard to almost effortless. I was glad I hung in there.

I did have cracked nipples at one point. With some blood. And the worst I ever had was a scab coming off on my baby's lip. I thought I would pass out. But she was fine, and then --- it got better.

When I told my friends about this, they all had similar stories. So it wasn't just me.

The thing is, all of a sudden, it gets better. I think it was around 2-3 weeks. What we did was keep nursing (as hard as that sounds) and then it's like your nipples toughen up. Think like a callous. They weren't rough or calloused exactly, but they were not the same sore, cracked nipples I began with. I nursed for 9-11 months with all my babies.

I found pumping very painful when my nipples were sore. So I feel for you. I too used the lanolin. I wore a nursing bra with pads and didn't worry about the keeping them dry.

I think if you could have someone help you and make sure your latch is ok and help you find the best position (make sure baby is raised up enough - do you have a good nursing pillow?) - you'll be ok.

I wish you the best, it is hard but if you can stick it out, it does (trust me) get easier. Just going through this now with my niece. Same - around 3 weeks, she found she could finally relax during nursing.

Good luck and congratulations on your baby :)

** For me, for latch, I had to cup my breast and put it in the baby's mouth rather than putting baby up to my breast to feed. I basically waited till their mouths were open, and stuck my nipples as far back in their mouths. I'm sure they covered that, but that trick worked for me.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

This is very normal. Try to find a product with Lanolin, such as Lansinoh. This will protect your nipples and allow them to heal. Don't worry, your nipples will "toughen up" and your baby will become more proficient at nursing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you can find it there, MotherLove nipple cream worked really well for me when I had cracked and sore nipples. It is all natural and totally safe for the baby, so I put it on immediately before, and again right after, breastfeeding. It helped a lot.

You probably do need to adjust your latch. Are you part of a mothers group of any kind there? Maybe an experienced mom - someone who has nursed a couple of babies at least - can help you in lieu of a lactation consultant. You may also be able to go back to the hospital and get help from the nurses, or from your OB's office.

There are different positions in which you can hold your baby, which my also help. Instead of holding him across your body, you can try the "football hold," where he is more along the side of your body (feet to your back, head coming from under/around the breast).

When you put him on your breast, try to put his lower lip at the base of your nipple, then guide his head in a quick motion so his mouth goes up and over the nipple, keeping his lower lip at the bottom.

I hope you're able to get the help you need! I remember how truly painful those first few weeks were for me. Once I got through the first month or so, it became a lot easier and I was able to nurse for over a year. It took a lot of tears and pain to get there though.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I do remember the toe curling pain from nursing. Stick with it. I promise you, it will get so much better!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Call your doctor, he/she will give you some nipple cream. Just rub it on the nipples, completely safe to breastfeed with the cream on.

I had the same issue with my first and second babies. Nipple cream saved my breastfeeding experience. I breastfed the first 7 months, second 13 months, third one 22 months, and the fourth one 13 months.

It will all work out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Try your own milk, try a different latch, and/or try lanolin. Try kellymom.com and/or looking at a video. You should also ask your OB if you might have a minor infection or if he's tongue tied. You can take Tylenol. You don't have to suffer, nor do you have to quit nursing. Please start with a call to your OB. I had to use a nipple cream when my DD was newborn for cracked nipples, and it went away and I nursed her til she was a toddler. Be gentle with yourself these first weeks. You are both learning.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I had this problem, and the answer was that I had a yeast infection. The baby had yeast overgrowth in his mouth, and I had yeast overgrowth on my nipples. This is really common after c-sections, because the antibiotics that you get during the surgery can make you susceptible. Can you get some nystatin for the baby's mouth and for your nipples? Here it is a prescription that a mom can get from the pediatrician or from her OB, not sure about your country.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yes, I'm pretty sure you're sore because he's only sucking on the tip, and OUCH, that hurts so much!
Please contact this wonderful organization. They helped me here in the US when I had my first baby and had cracked, sore and even bleeding nipples. I was in tears but so determined to nurse my baby and they really came to the rescue:
They helped me back in the 90's, before the internet and before lactation consultants were even a thing. They are a wonderful community of local, experienced mom and baby supporters. When I first called (crying) I had a lady at my doorstep within a few hours, giving me the much needed encouragement and PRACTICAL, EFFECTIVE advice I needed.
Good luck mama, hang in there!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia!!


it sounds like you have yeast infection on your nipples. Check your son for whiteness in his mouth.

Ask your doctor if you can get a better pump. If you are in Denmark, things like that are provided under your socialized healthcare, correct?

It also sounds like your son is NOT latched on properly - and that's why he's there for an hour. His WHOLE MOUTH should on your nipple not just the tip.



good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Dear L.,

You are definitely having a latch issue - you need either to find La Leche League urgently or a lactation consultant. I also had a C-section with baby number one. Get a brest friend pillow (it seems almost like a life jacket) and use it to position your baby so that you don't have any pressure in your scar area. It will make a serious difference - I was told with baby #1 to just use regular pillows but they don't work as well - this is a necessity.

You don't need to keep your nipples completely dry but you do need pads and to change them frequently. I would suggest disposable ones for now as it is easier.

You need to keep nursing - pumping is a lot of work and will not help baby learn to latch. A manual pump may actually do more nipple damage. Someone said you may have a yeast infection - true, and if so that needs to be treated for both you and your son. Find out if that is an issue.

It also sounds like you may have inverted nipples - if so, a nipple shield will help out. You can still nurse with inverted nipples but it may take a bit longer to figure it out.

Also, see if you can get some Dr. Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment. You need a prescription in the US and a compounding pharmacy to make it. Here is the information:


I found it much better than any of the lanolin type ointments on the market.

I pumped for a year with my first baby because of all of the difficulty in getting him to latch. I basically gave up on trying to nurse. With baby #2, I used an amazing lactation consultant and had a very helpful OB and we nursed for almost 2 years. I did have bleeding nipples at the start but we got through it. By 6 weeks we were doing pretty well and by about 9 weeks I had healed completely.

kellymom.com is awesome - I hope you find someone to help you. With baby #2, I also had friends who were nursing who helped me. Get comfortable with asking other mothers if they can help you.

Hang in there! C.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

If you can find a nipple shield I would suggest using that so that some of the force of your baby is taken off of your nipple. Find the thick lanolin and use that on your nipples. It will keep the nipples soft but yet help them heal so that the pain goes away. Try to position your child so that you both are comfortable with the nursing (lying down or sitting in a rocking chair). As painful as it is, don't give up it will get better.

Your nipples will get tougher and you will be fine. There will be a callous on the side of the nipple from nursing but it will not bother you. After you stop nursing it will go away.

Contact the La Leche group for help.

the other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I feel for you and you are doing a great job with this tough phase. I had a very similar problem with my second child and finally received some medicated nipple cream for breastfeeding from my OB/GYN (my women's doctor). The cream was healing to the skin and also contained some pain relief. It was a miracle cream that was by prescription. I hope that there may be an option like this for you. You are doing a wonderful job and it gets better!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I went through a lot of pain in the beginning too! One thing that helped me was a nipple shield, it was a life saver! (check out link below). And a good Lanolin cream to protect your skin from the moisture. Also check with the hospital were you delivered for a lactation consultant, there should be some help there for you. Good luck. You're doing an awesome job, and congrats on baby!


**Also a good nursing pillow. I had a Boppy and it didn't work well for us, baby kept slipping through and wasn't staying high enough, so bad positioning. A friend of mine suggested Brest Friend nursing pillow and it's hands down the best! Because you can buckle it, the baby stays in the right position.



answers from Los Angeles on

Nipple soreness is normal in the first few weeks. I don't know if they have this product in Denmark, but Ameda ComfortGel Extended-Use Hydrogel helped my sore nipples with both my kids. This is also available on Amazon, if you can make purchases there.

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