One of the more uncomfortable parts of breastfeeding can come directly from the source. So what can you do when you have sore nipples and are breastfeeding?
Well, I have been there. I have lived the sore, cracked, and bleeding nipple dilemma.
Sore nipples and breastfeeding tend to go hand in hand. The good news is that most nipple soreness is temporary and will resolve within a few weeks.
So what causes nipple pain and how can you treat it?
This article will help you understand some likely causes of your nipple pain and some products that can help you with that pain.
Sore Nipples and Breastfeeding
Causes of Nipple Pain While Breastfeeding
There are some obvious reasons that can cause nipple pain, like a bad latch but some other reasons may need a more experienced professional to help diagnose.
Here are some common reasons for Sore Nipples while Breastfeeding:
- Postpartum Hormones
- Bad Latch
- Poor Position
- Milk Blisters
- Lip or Tongue Tie
To read more about the causes of sore nipples and how to remedy them, click here to read my full article on Causes of Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding.
6 Products to Help Soothe Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding
Obviously working with a certified Lactation Consultant is always best, but you can do a lot of things at home to help get relief between nursing sessions.
I have used a lot of different products over time and have found some that I truly love.
Where to buy: Figure 8 Maternity
Why I love Motherlove Nipple Cream:
You may or may not know that lanolin (the most commonly used nipple cream) contains harmful pesticides that should not be ingested by infants (or anyone for that matter). Most products that contain lanolin advise users to wash off the product before nursing or pumping.
What I love about Motherlove Nipple Cream is that it has 100% certified organic ingredients and has a score of ONE rating on EWG’s skin deep database. In case you are not familiar with EWG ratings, a one is the lowest possible score and basically means that the ingredients in the product are not hazardous/toxic.
It is made with things like extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter. It does not have to be wiped off prior to nursing or pumping which to me is huge. There is no need to worry about your baby potentially ingesting harmful toxins.
I found that using other brands only gave temporary relief. While using Motherlove, my nipples healed faster and it helped with the pain in between nursing. I will never go back to using any other kind of nipple cream! I am so in love with this product that anything else is a big waste of money!
Where to buy: Amazon
Why I love Love My Nipple Shields:
I debated on whether or not to put nipple shields in this review. It can be a slippery slope when it comes to using them but in the end, they can be a great tool for relieving nipple pain associated with a bad latch, inverted nipples or flat nipples.
But please use nipple shields under the care of a certified lactation consultant only.
A nipple shield is made of soft silicone and is designed to fit over your nipple. It can help keep the nipple in a position that makes it easier for your baby to latch. When a baby doesn’t latch properly, you get cracked, sore and sometimes bleeding nipples!
Love My Nipple Shields have a 4.5 star on Amazon and what I love about them is you get 2 in a pack which is great for the price. One comment that I see a lot on the Love My Nipple Shields is that they are a little firmer than the Medela brand ones. Some really like that and some don’t. It is a matter of personal preference.
I would say if you are using the nipple shield solely because you have nipple pain and for no other reason (no latch issue, etc) then you may find a softer nipple shield is more your style. But if you are using these because of a latch issue, then this product may work better since the point of a nipple shield is to provide a firmer surface for your baby to latch.
I personally did not find these hard in any way, but do agree there are some softer ones on the market. But for the price and quality, Love My Nipple Shield is a fantastic product!
Where to buy: Amazon
Why I love Medela Softshells:
If you are suffering from sore nipples and have not heard of Softshells, then listen up because these could save your life (or nipples)! What is the worst part about having sore nipples? Wearing clothes that rub on them, of course!
Medela Softshells are made to cover the breast and form a shell over sore nipples. It keeps your clothing from rubbing and causing further irritation. They have a soft, flexible backing which provides more comfort when wearing them.
The front is contoured and made to be worn under clothing without a noticeable, bulky appearance. But one feature I really like is that the front has holes in it to provide ventilation which helps heal your nipple. Another useful part is the foam inserts. Though you can use regular nursing pads underneath and most users say they prefer to do just that. I’ve tried both and personally prefer my washable pads.
Medela Softshells are a wonderful way to give sore and battered nipples a break.
Where to buy: Figure 8 Maternity
Why I love Boob Warm/Cold Relief Pads:
These pads are amazing! The first thing I love about this product is the super soft, washable covers. Such a great feature! My sore nipples could not have taken anything but a nice fluffy cloud at one point so the soft material was a welcome feature.
These relief pads can be made warm by popping them in the microwave or cold by popping them in the freezer. Use it warm to help stimulate milk production and prevent clogged ducts. Use it cold to help soothe tender and swollen breasts from engorgement and get relief when inflamed from a clogged duct.
They are made from organic cotton and are filled with natural flax seed which I love since I want to expose my baby to as little chemicals and toxins as possible.
I found the pads slipped easily into a nursing bra and were like a drop of Heaven for my sore breasts. Not only did wearing the cold pack help relieve my sore nipples but I found it a huge relief for the early engorgement when my milk first came in.
These can be used in all breastfeeding stages all the way down to weaning. Then they become a lovely ice or heat pack for other ailments. I highly recommend these!
5 – Bamboobies Super-soft Washable Nursing Pads
Where to buy: Amazon
Why I love Bamboobies Nursing Pads:
Bamboobies has a real winner in this product. One of the more inconvenient side-effects of nursing is the leaking.
Most nursing mothers cannot get away with foregoing nursing pads. They are basically a nursing staple. When it comes to sore nipples, having a clean, dry nipple is the best way to promote healing so a good nursing pad is a must.
You have two choices when it comes to nursing pads: disposable or washable. The only brand I like and will wear where disposables are concerned is Lansinoh’s nursing pads. But they can be bulky and when full they tend to bunch up (this mostly happened overnight). Plus you have to keep buying them and that can get expensive over time.
On the other side, I was not a big fan of the washable nursing pads for the longest time because I found that they leak. This doesn’t help sore nipples in healing since they are always moist and not to mention lactating through your shirt is not considered cute. Then, l I found Bamboobies.
Bamboobies are made from of ultra-soft (and I mean ULTRA-SOFT) organic cotton and bamboo rayon velour. Basically, picture a cloud for your nipple. The inner layer is made of hemp and organic cotton, which makes these super absorbent. I never had issues with these leaking!
The regular nursing pads are a thin, heart-shaped design, which are made for light leaking. The overnight nursing pads are made for heavy leaking and newborn nursing. Both types are made with a unique milk-proof backing.
The other feature I love about these pads is that you cannot see them through your clothing because of the shape and how thin they are. I have not had issues with them bunching up at night like I did with disposable nursing pads.
One downside, of course, is the pricier upfront cost. But when you look at how much overtime you spend on disposable, I think the upfront cost is worth it. A 60-count disposable pack of nursing pads costs about $8.Most women will need to change their nursing pad several times per day. So let’s be generous and say a 60-count box will last 15 days (changing pads twice a day). That means you are spending $16 per month.
In just a little over two months, you will have spent more on disposable pads than the cost of washable ones. And you still have 10+ months of nursing to go… Yikes!
Washable pads are the way to go! Plus it’s eco-friendly!
Where to buy: Amazon
Why I love Philips Avent Nipplette:
One additional reason for nipple pain can be attributed to inverted nipples. It can cause an issue with the way your baby latches. Philips Avent Nipplettes can help resolve this issue and has been shown over time to greatly improve inverted nipples permanently.
The product description from Amazon explains it this way:
Philips Avent provides a simple solution for inverted nipples which is effective and easy to use. Flat or inverted nipples can be a potential problem for women wishing to breastfeed. Through gentle suction the Niplette pulls the nipple out into a small plastic thimble-like cup. Clinically proven- The Niplette: an instrument for the non-surgical correction of inverted nipples (DD McGeorge FRCS (Plast). British Journal of Plastic Surgery, December 1993). In a matter of weeks of continued wear, the nipple will stay permanently erect.
I have not personally struggled with inverted nipples but know several women who have and it has caused them quite the struggle in their effort to breastfeed. The Nipplette is a product that not only comes recommended by those mothers but also their doctors.
If you are looking for a non-surgical solution to inverted nipples, give the Nipplette a try. It is by far the best-rated product of its type on the market today!
Nipple pain can cause a lot of issues for breastfeeding moms. I hope you find these products bring you as much relief as they did me!
Have a favorite product to help with nipple pain? Sharing is caring! Leave a comment and share it with us!
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