How to Manage Sore Nipples

Management of Sore Nipples

How to Manage Sore Nipples


  • Breastfeeding in only one position may cause repeated friction on the same area if a baby is not latched properly
  • Dampness from leaking milk and wet breast pads may lead to soreness
  • The baby latching on to the nipple and not the areola
  • Thrush, a yeast infection of the breast tissue. It is uncommon during the first few days. Signs include red patches surrounding the nipple, intense pain during a feeding or pain between the feedings. The baby may have white patches inside his mouth.
  • Please note that cracked bleeding nipples may produce a little blood in your breast milk and you may notice some old, brown blood in your baby’s bowel movements. This will not harm your baby.


  • Use proper body positioning and latch-on techniques
  • Breastfeed frequently
  • Use areolar expression to soften the areola
  • Avoid using soaps and lotions that can cause drying
  • Change breastfeeding positions often
  • Remove your baby from the breast carefully
  • Express a few drops of breast milk, spread it on your nipples, and let air dry
  • Change bra liners or shells every time they get damp

Relief measures:

  • Start feeding on the less sore breast first, as your baby will breastfeed more vigorously at the first breast
  • Breastfeed more frequently. You can limit your breastfeeding time to ten minutes at each breast if your breasts are emptying well in that amount of time
  • Apply ice to the areola and nipple just before the baby latches on
  • Ensure that your nipples are dry
  • Take your bra off while at home and/or wear loose, comfortable clothing
  • Breast shells can be worn over the nipple and inside the bra to prevent clothing from rubbing an injured nipple and to promote air circulation and healing
  • Use lanolin and preferably Aquaphor
  • Treat thrush when it occurs. The baby may need to have a medication prescribed by a pediatric provider. A mother’s nipples must also be treated with an antifungal cream