Sore Nipple Symptoms:

Sore nipple symptoms can take many forms. You may find that the first sign or symptom is redness, cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, bruising or white nipples!

Have you ever heard of women experiencing ‘white nipple syndrome’? What happens is you nurse your baby quite happily, often experiencing no pain. (Those who do have pain describe it as: a shooting, burning nipple pain.) Then when the baby comes off the breast your nipple is pale and white or “blanched”. The nipple is usually also misshapen (flattened or pointed). The nipple is white because it has been compressed, drained of blood and therefore drained of color due to your baby sucking right at the tip of the nipple. That is with the nipple just inside his or her mouth. Your baby’s strong sucking muscles (jaw, tongue, checks etc) – mostly tongue, have been compressing your delicate nipple instead of suckling further back on your areola and breast giving you breastfeeding problems.

Correct positioning and latching on easily avoid ‘White nipple syndrome’. If you allow your baby to carry on latching on with your nipple just inside his or her mouth, white nipple can lead to more serious sore nipple symptoms. If you continue to see that your nipples are white immediately after each nursing session I suggest you contact a qualified Lactation Consultant or Midwife for assistance with latching on correctly.

Another side effect of ‘white nipple’ is that your baby will not be taking much breast-milk. To be able to get plenty of breast-milk baby needs to have his mouth full of breast and areola with your soft nipple far back in his mouth. You may have noticed that your baby is feeding for much longer and seems to be hungry after nursing or wants another feed quite soon. See the video on Latching On page for more detail.

Some women also experience redness or dark pink areas on their nipple after nursing. This can become worse with time and is usually but not always associated with pain during nursing. Redness can lead to cracked nipples if positioning or other cause aren’t sorted as soon as possible.

Dry, flaky, itchy skin on the nipple is another one of the warning sore nipple symptoms. Try to rub some breast-milk onto your nipples after each feed to moisturize the skin. Allow nipples to ‘Air’ for as long as possible each day.

Quite a common symptom of sore nipples is bruising. Over-enthusiastic babies ‘biting’ with their gums often cause this. A habit to be broken as soon as possible! If this happens, take baby off the breast by breaking the seal of his lips – put one of your fingers in the corner of his mouth or gently break the seal by lifting his cheek slightly. Tell him that it isn’t acceptable (he’ll know what you mean by your facial expression and tone of voice). Then latch him on and start again. Detach him from the breast every time he bites, no matter how insistent he is. The message will soon be understood.

Sore nipple symptoms can be dealt with easily most of the time. If the problem persists and you can’t seem to solve it, contact your local Lactation Consultant or Midwife for advice and support.


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