Many moms say that their nipples feel tender when they first start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should feel comfortable once you and your baby have found a good latch and some positions that work.

Tender and sensitive nipples are normal as you begin breastfeeding your new baby. However, very sore, cracked or bleeding nipples are not. Usually this problem is related to the way your baby latches-on to the breast. It is important that your baby get a big "mouthful" of the nipple and areola.

1. Hold your baby’s head behind his ears
Hold behind head
2. Align him “nose to nipple”
Nose to nipple
3. Roll him “belly to belly”
Importance of Latch on
Use a “sandwich hold” to achieve a better latch-on. Gently squeeze the breast to shape it like an oval that fits deeply in your baby’s mouth.
Look for a wide mouth on the breast
If breastfeeding hurts, break the suction and try the latch-on again. Do not continue with a feeding if you experience pain.
TreatmentBreast Shields
  • Correct position and latch-on
  • Check wide open 140o wide mouth
  • Apply your expressed breastmilk or purified lanolin to nipples after feeds
  • Use breast shells to protect the nipple
  • Look for a wide mouth on the breast
  • Use hydrogel dressings to speed healing
  • Feed for short, frequent feedings
  • Start on the least sore side
  • Rotate the position of your baby at each feeding
  • If your breasts are very full, hand express some milk, use reverse pressure softening (see handout on engorgement) or use a breast pump
 These measures may help you resolve uncomplicated problems with sore nipples. There are circumstances where sore nipples indicate a more severe problem. Please seek help if your problem does not resolve quickly.
Lactation Education Resources 2016. This handout may be freely duplicated. Please be aware that the information provided is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding your or your infant’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.


Get in Touch!

Telephone: (904) 723-4078

13241 Bartram Park Blvd
Unit #217
Jacksonville, FL 32258